Fulbright Scholar Bridges Research and Collaboration

Emily Keeler
Graziella Tocco

As a Fulbright scholar, Graziella Tocco came to the College of Pharmacy to increase ties between Ohio State and her home university in Italy while researching and connecting minds across the ocean. She is an assistant professor at the University of Cagliari where she studies and teaches organic chemistry. 

Tocco's research is focused on HIV drug research and discovery. During her stay, she has studied new molecules in the research lab of James Fuchs, PhD. She is studying these molecules and their effectiveness of inhibiting integrase functions. According to Tocco, the posibilites are endless. 
"To me elements are like musical notes. Each one by itself is very simple, but you can combine these in so many creative ways and produce so many different outcomes."        

In addition to her research, her second goal was to help create an international link between Ohio State and the University of Cagliari to open up future collaboration and learning experiences. Because of her time here, an international learning experience is planned for Ohio State students to travel to the University of Cagliari and other points of interest in Italy in 2018. 

Tocco is very passionate about travel and connecting with other researchers. She says, "I think it is important for students to go abroad and see the world in order to see what they really want from life. Universities are the perfect place to help promote and encourage this learning." 

While Tocco's time in the college is coming to a close, the door to future collaborations is just opening. It is through these connections that scientists around the globe can work together to enhance research and improve the health of people across the world.  

"I tell my students they have to try," said Tocco, "Don't be scared. If you really believe your research has the right stuff you have to try." 

According to the Fulbright Program, the first agreement between the US government and the Italian government was signed in 1948. Since then, about 8,000 Italian and American fellows have participated in the Fulbright Program.