Women in EngineeeringInternational Leadership SummitVirtual Event

This virtual event is part of IEEE WIE International Leadership Summit (ILS) that was supposed to take place this year in Genova. Due to the pandemic, the live event has been postponed to November 2021 while a shorter and virtual ILS will take place on December 15th.

The goal is to present two case studies of leader women in STEM and to create awareness on Mental Health problems, especially arising in the research community.



4:00 PM CET

  • Valentina Pasquale

    My journey from research to data stewardship: a new career pathway for parents in science

  • Elvira Pirondini

    International mobility and related challenges

  • Stefano Zucca

    Mental health in academia: stressors among underrepresented groups

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Event Speakers

Valentina Pasquale

Research Data Management Specialist

Valentina Pasquale works as Research Data Management Specialist in IIT, where she coordinates the set-up and development of Research Data Services to support scientists in data stewardship and open science. Since December 2019, she has been co-chair of the Data Stewardship Competence Centers Implementation Network (DSCC IN) in GO FAIR. Valentina has a background in Bioengineering and she holds a PhD in Humanoid Technologies from the University of Genova and IIT. She worked for more than 10 years in Neuroscience research before specializing in data management”.

Stefano Zucca


Stefano Zucca is a neuroscientist interested in understanding how our brain integrates sensory information from the outside world to guide our instinctive responses. He obtained his PhD in Neuroscience and Brain Technologies in Italy, at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and he is currently a postdoc at University College London in the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience (IBN). In the past two years, he has been involved in raising awareness and discussion about Mental Health in academia. Stefano is a Mental Health First Aider and he has recently established a novel scheme (Peer Coaching Group) at UCL to support and improve researchers’ mental health through coaching skills.

Elvira Pirondini

Research Assistant Professor

Elvira Pirondini is currently a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of the University of Pittsburgh. She obtained her M.Sc. degree in Bioengineering from EPFL, Lausanne, in 2012. During this time, she was awarded a fellowship from the Bertarelli Program in Translational Neuroscience and Neuroengineering to carry out her M.Sc. thesis at Harvard Medical School. She then earned her PhD in Electrical Engineering in 2017 at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne. Her thesis focused on robotic rehabilitation for stroke patients and brain imaging. During her PhD, she was the recipient of the Brown Institute for Brain Science Scholar fellowship to conduct part of her training in the department of Neuroscience at Brown University. Dr. Pirondini then conducted her post-doctoral training at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and at the Defitech Center for Interventional Neurotherapies of the CHUV hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she worked in parallel with human patients and animal models of stroke.


Michela Chiappalone

IIT Researcher

M. Chiappalone’s research interests are in the field of Neuroengineering. She obtained a PhD in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science from University of Genova (Italy) in 2003. In 2002 she has been visiting scholar at the Dept of Physiology, Northwestern University (Chicago, IL, USA). After a Post Doc at the University of Genova, in 2007 she joined the Neuroscience and Brain Technologies Dept at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) as a Post Doc. In 2013 she got a group leader position (‘Researcher’) in the same Institution. In 2015 she has been visiting Professor at KUMED (Kansas City, KS, USA), hosted by Prof. R.J. Nudo.

From 2012 to 2015 M. Chiappalone has been Coordinator of the FET Open European Project BrainBow, judged excellent. In 2017, M. Chiappalone joined the Rehab Technologies IIT-INAIL Joint Lab of IIT to lead a group aimed at interfacing robotic devices with the nervous system for applications in neuroprosthetics, neuromodulation and neurorehabilitation. In 2018 she got the national scientific habilitation as Full Professor of Bioengineering.

She authored 60 papers published in International Journals, 50 peer-reviewed contributions to International Conferences, 8 Book Chapters and she gave more than 60 scientific talks at International/National Conferences and Research Institutions.

Marianna Semprini

IIT Researcher

Marianna Semprini got a BS in Biomedical Engineering and a MS in Bioengineering (Neuroengineering curriculum) both at the University of Genoa in 2004 and 2007 respectively. In 2007 she was research fellow at Northwestern University. In 2011 she received a PhD in Robotics, Neurosciences and Nanotechnologies from the Italian Institute of Technology.

Marianna Semprini has a background on BMIs able to restore sensory or motor functions when missing. She investigated the role of sensory feedback in in-vivo closed-loop BMIs based on real-time encoding of information through intracortical microstimulation. She also studied the response properties of cortical neurons and worked on optimal decoding of the information carried by neural signals.

More recently, she focused on non-invasive biofeedback from human subjects and on sensorimotor training for motor rehabilitation of neurologic or brain-injured patients. Her current interests are  neurorehabilitation, neuroprostheses, neural control of movement and high density Electroencephalography.

This event was organized with the support of IEEE WIE, the University of Genova, and the Italian Institute of Technology.