Nicoletta Sacchi on Advice to Young Scientists
  Nicoletta Sacchi     Biography    
Recorded: 08 Jun 2004

I pretty much have to say, I… of course we all can tell them our own experience, because that is about, what teaching is about. We cannot really generalize. But I can tell them my experience. And I tell them I know that I could have made much more money in some other profession and have a much fancier life. But I don’t regret to have done this work. Actually I would do it again if I had to start again because it gives you a lot of freedom. The freedom of thinking, of meeting people of any nationality, of traveling, also seeing places. And so I wouldn’t trade this freedom that I get—for example when in the morning I go to my lab and I sit down and I try to focus on what I want to do day that day with a very fancy house. So I was just telling at one of my students that was here with me these days, because she was asking me exactly the same question, you know. So I told her "You go to Cold Spring Harbor and then you decide. And you may decide something different and that would be okay, but if you decide to be a scientist then be a scientist." That is what I can tell them.

Nicoletta Sacchi, Ph.D., is a Professor and Distinguished Member of the Department of Cancer Biology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York where she has been focusing on gene regulation in cancer cells since 2003. Native to Milan, Italy, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Milan in 1972, followed by postdoctoral work at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, at the Roche Institute of Immunology in Basel under Nobelist Georges Köhler.

In 1982 she came to the United States to continue her postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute. She returned to Italy in 1991 to become an Associate Professor at the University of Milan, until 1997 when she decided to make the US her home. That year she became a Visiting Scientist at Johns Hopkins University.

In 2002 Dr. Sacchi, was named the most cited women scientist and the 18th most cited scientist worldwide That year she received recognition for having the most quoted paper over the 20 year period from 1983 to 2002, "Single-step method of RNA isolation by acid guanidinium thiocyanate phenol chloroform extraction" Analytical Biochemistry 162(1):156-9,1987, which she co-wrote with Piotr Chomczynski.. This article has been cited over 56,000 times as of January, 2008.

Dr. Sacchi has been awarded the EMBO Award (1974 and 1981), the Soroptimist International Award (1976), AIRC Award (1984), the Gianina Gaslini Medal (1989), and the BIOTEC Award (1989.)