This month we’d like to introduce Dr Luciano Martelotto, Head of the Single cell and Spatial-omics Development Lab at the Adelaide Centre for Epigenetics (ACE), at the South Australia ImmunoGENomics Cancer Institute (SAIGENCI).

Luciano spoke at our online Epigenetics seminar earlier this month.  He has also taken the time recently to tell us a little about his career journey, his research and himself.

We hope you enjoy learning about Luciano as much as we did.

What brought you to the world of single cells, -omics and epigenomics?
I started working in single cells in 2013, while I was doing my postdoc in the lab of Jorge Reis-Filho in MSKCC (NY, USA). The lab was within the pathology department, and we had access to lot of archived tissues. At the time, these FFPE tissues were only accessible for immunohistochemistry analyses and very little for molecular assays, even less for single cell-omics. So, in collaboration with Jim Hicks’ lab, pioneer in single cell genomics we started a project to develop a very challenging methodology for single nucleus copy number profiling from FFPE tissues and since then I never looked back.
Marnie Blewitt
In your career to date, of what are you most proud?

I am proud of my collaborators. My network and perseverance. To have lasted this long.

Can you tell us about a couple of things happening in your lab right now that you’re excited about?

Oh, so many things! My lab in Australia started only this year, but I have already set up amazing collaborations with incredibly talented teams nationally and internationally.

Would you like to tell us a bit about the Adelaide Centre for Epigenetics (ACE)?

I believe this Centre will be a game changer. Those who know Jose Polo would know what I mean. We are actively recruiting new talented people and can’t wait to start discovering.

If funding and time were unlimited, what dream idea or project would you like to develop?

Two things:

– Spatial-omics in 3D;

– A pan-cancer diagnostic test using the immune system as a readout.

Outside your own lab, what research or technological developments in the field are you excited about?

Every single one. But if I had to choose one, I would pick spatial-omics…it’s exploding. There is a healthy competition out there, and this can only bring more innovation, and innovation is fun.

How important has collaboration and/or international travel been to your research and your career?

All my research is based in collaboration, all of it. I am not an end-user of single cell or spatial tech, I consider myself an expert in them and what that means is that I usually need to partner with researchers across multiple disciplines (end users) to help them achieve their goals by bridging their biological questions with potential answers via technology access, AND of course, to be able to set up my own research and development work. Being able to travel, to have worked overseas twice, has given me the chance to see other labs, interact with 100s of scientists with crazy ideas and I just got infected by their enthusiasm.

Can you give us one piece of advice for early career biomedical researchers ?

Do not give up on Science. No matter what anybody tells you about your research or how hard it can become at times, just don’t give up. There will be hard times but keep your eyes open for opportunities, they are out there, look for them, and when you see one, do not hesitate and take it.

How are you enjoying being back in Australia after your time in the US?

It’s definitely a big change. It will take time to re-set but it’ll be fine.

Outside of work, what do you like to do?

Spend time with my family, ride my Harley Davidson, skateboarding and playing soccer.