Nicoletta Sacchi on Science and Religion
  Nicoletta Sacchi     Biography    
Recorded: 08 Jun 2004

I think religion has been there since the origin of human beings because we wonder where we come from where we go why we are here. Some people or some populations they wanted to reconcile this question with existence of God or somebody or some entity that is not human. It is comforting to them. So I believe that everybody—this is such a personal choice you know. If somebody’s life is improved by believing in God or Allah or any entity that is not human they should believe. You know, they are free to do so. Of course science makes you skeptical sometimes about that. Because and of course it is also true that we don’t understand everything. So even if we say we believe or we don’t believe it’s a very difficult topic. The most important thing is that religion does not prevail or paralyze science. So I believe that anybody is free to relate to his human being, the fact of being human the way he or she wants. But I don’t believe religion should be imposed onto science because science has to be free again by definition and then anything that would try to paralyze it or give rules to science is not correct. Again it is a personal choice, but religion should not enter in science but a scientist can be religious.

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.)

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