Giamp Valenzano

Cancer Immunologist & Oxford Sparks Ambassador

Hi! My name is Giamp. I am a medic by training and have graduated from the International Medical School of Rome, Italy (where I am from originally). It was while in med school that I decided I was going to pursue a career in research, on the side of my clinical training. We once had this immunology lecture about immunity-related genes and how these can affect all sorts of things (including mating… Yes, mating! How cool is that? If this piqued your interest come and find me for a chat, I could talk about this forever. Or start by Googling the “sweaty T-shirt experiment”). I was absolutely mind-blown by how powerful our immune system is, and decided I wanted to get my hands dirty and get to know more. About six years – and lab experiences in the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK – later, I find myself a first-year DPhil (PhD) student in the Department of Oncology at the University of Oxford, working in the lab and delving into the role the immune system plays in one of the deadliest cancers (pancreatic cancer).

I do love talking about science (especially to non-science-y people) and have recently been involved in a few initiatives within the public engagement remit. Other than running an Instagram account where I talk about cancer facts, I have created some video content for the European Research Showcase 2023. In addition, last June, I took part in two super exciting experiences, both aimed at a younger audience. The first was the Headington Festival, in Oxford, where some fellow researchers from the Department of Oncology and I played games with curious children and their parents. Click here to see me in action. The second was “I’m a scientist, get me out of here”, an initiative that allows pupils in schools to chat and engage with scientists in real time, asking all sorts of questions about the life in a lab, and for which I was the winner of the ‘Cancer Zone’.


Drawing of "Dissecting the roles of NK cells in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC)" by Coline Weinzaepflen.

Artwork by Coline Weinzaepflen.