It feels young for such an important role, but at the same time thinks he has enthusiasm and, above all, the professional qualities to give their own contribution of guidance and coordination for the growth of Department of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Milan-Bicocca. A little over a month after his appointment a Director of the Department which has its headquarters in Monza, Professor Pietro Invernizzi, 53 years old, which is also Director of the operating unit of Gastroenterology of the San Gerardo di Monza, tells MBNews what it is, so to speak, the program of his three-year term.
But it also explains his path up to this important position, which places him in Monza at the top of one of the largest Departments of Medicine and Surgery in Italy with well 160 academics including full professors, associates and researchers. And the challenges that await him in between many excellences and some weaknesses.
“The excellent work done by those who preceded me, the professor Mariagrazia Valsecchi, must be complemented by the ability to create interaction and collaborations with other bodies and institutes, but also bymobility incentive of those who are trained and who must train – says Invernizzi – also the management of the huge funds of the PNRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) also calls the University of Milano-Bicocca and our Department of Medicine and Surgery to make a notable effort “.
Prof. Invernizzi, first of all congratulations and best wishes for your appointment as Director of the Department of Medicine and Surgery. How was your first impact with this complex academic reality based in Monza?
Thanks. To answer your question, I would use two words: challenging and very stimulating. This position certainly does not happen by chance, even if I was not born thinking of being the Director of such a large Department. In fact, I come from a long experience as a hospital clinician exercised at the San Paolo Hospital in Milan, at Humanitas and also in the United States, before arriving in Monza and San Gerardo six years ago.
As Director I will try to make my contribution to the improvement of the system. The role requires you to get out of your own interests to adopt a more general perspective. It is necessary to continually move from attention to detail to a vision as broad as possible with planning capable of combining an overview and the pragmatism of what to do day by day. I believe my professional experiences, in particular my current position as Director of the Gastroenterology operating unit of San Gerardo di Monza, have made me acquire the skills to take into account the different components.
What do you inherit from your predecessor at the top of the Department, Professor Valsecchi?
I knew the high reputation of the University of Milano-Bicocca and, in Monza, of Medicine and Surgery, even before I arrived there six years ago. I can only confirm that it is a young, open, dynamic university and I am happy to be part of a university and medical governance that makes me proud to be Italian.
Valsecchi did an excellent job that allowed my Department and Monza to grow in terms of numbers. Just think of our specialty schools, which have now become 30 with all that this entails on the training network of postgraduates and hospitals such as Pope John XXIII in Bergamo and Niguarda in Milan.
Starting from this basis, what are your main objectives?
I believe they can be essentially three. The first is: more than continuing to grow, focusing on creating and strengthening interactions and collaborations. Being part of an academic and scientific network or community is an added value for our Department. It must be understood that in various areas, where a network of relationships is built, 1 + 1 + 1 does not make 3, but can make 4 or 5.
The second objective is to encourage mobility because moving, both for those who train and for those who must be trained, means growing. To speak simplistically of brain drain is wrong. This is why, as the Bicocca Department of Medicine and Surgery, we have entered into agreements in this sense with China, several European countries, California and soon Russia.
The third goal is more of a challenge. The huge resources of the PNRR call us to an incredible and unprecedented management effort. For us and for Italy we must win this challenge, following our mission which is to create knowledge about health as knowledge and contribution to the improvement of the human condition.
What are, in your opinion, the current excellences of the Department of Medicine and Surgery of Monza, which also includes Guido Grassi, professor of internal medicine at the Chair of Medical Clinic, just named in first place in the world among the experts of the ” autonomic nervous “?
In addition to those already mentioned, among the excellences I would also put the three buildings that make up the headquarters of our Department behind the San Gerardo hospital: the U8 is the historic one, where there are also the offices and the administrative part, then the U28 where research and advanced training takes place bringing together different fields, from biotechnology to psychology, from biology to materials sciences. Finally, the U18 where teaching takes place mainly. There is a fourth building, which is already planned: it will be a guesthouse where visiting professors and post-doc students can also be hosted.
And the weaknesses?
Wanting to use a somewhat brutal synthesis, that of having grown less in quality than quantity. For example, clinicians and researchers need to be encouraged to interact with each other. The hospitals of Monza, Brianza and the surrounding area more generally must have close ties because they are the ones on which our students, trainees, undergraduates and postgraduates revolve.
The San Gerardo Hospital of Monza has now obtained the recognition as Irccs (Institute of Hospitalization and Scientific Care). What could this mean for the Department of Medicine and Surgery?
The hospital where I am happy to work, even if the problems of being a construction site have been experienced for years, will become a structure that, in addition to clinical-assistance activities, will also have training and, above all, research as its statute. All this for us at the Bicocca University is of enormous importance, also from a practical point of view. Suffice it to say that today if a hospital wants to hire a biologist to do translational research, it is forced to hire a laboratory technician. Now, however, for San Gerardo, which in any case is already a university hospital, becoming Irccs means having specific professional figures in reality.
A few months ago we interviewed her why l‘University of Milan-Bicocca and, in particular, the Department of Medicine and Surgery of Monza took part in an international study on genetic risk factors related to Covid-19. What are the latest news?
The acquired data are still being analyzed together with colleagues from Germany and Northern Europe. It is not a short process, also because it is a question of investigating the genetic associations that have been found from a functional point of view. A certain genetic variant, in fact, can be associated, but it does not necessarily have a real and significant impact.
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