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‘I’m a Scientist’ is a student-led STEM enrichment activity, which connects school students with scientists through energetic, real-time text-based chats.

Their ‘Cancer Zone’ event took place in June and featured 28 scientists, researchers and chemists, engineering scientific instruments for cancer research, studying fertility in those with childhood cancer, understanding how weight loss can prevent cancer related to obesity, how cancers are able to resist therapies and why cancer cells go rogue. They connected with 435 students from schools across the UK.

 Giampiero – a DPhil on our DPhil in Cancer Science programme - was voted the overall winning scientist by the school students who took part. As Zone winner, he received £500 to spend on further public engagement projects.

Commenting on his victory, he said: ‘Thank you to all the students that have taken part in this amazing initiative and have voted me their favourite. Engaging with you has been an absolute pleasure.

‘[…] I hope I will have managed to motivate at least some of you to pursue a career in science and medical research. For those of you who have felt the spark and enthusiasm, don’t give up! The academic world can be hard at times and with lots of hurdles, but the rewards are unparalleled!’

Giampiero is currently investigating the role of tissue-resident NK cells in the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common type of pancreatic cancer.  

Pancreatic cancer has an exceedingly low survival rate and is projected to become the second-deadliest cancer by 2030, primarily due to the fact that the majority of patients are diagnosed at a late stage. Giampiero’s work is focused around early detection of the disease, with the hope that earlier detection would lead to earlier diagnoses and treatment and - as a result - a substantial increase in survival rates. 


"I am now approaching the end of my first year at the Oxford Cancer Centre and I could not be any happier. While my DPhil journey so far has been not without hurdles, I know I can always turn to my supervisor and peers for support, and this is an absolute privilege."   - Giampiero Valenzano

Read Giampiero’s full statement on the cancer zone website and read more about him on his Oxford Cancer profile

For details on how to apply for a DPhil with Oxford Cancer, visit our study pages