Dr William Roman, one of ARMI’s newest research group leaders, will commence at ARMI in June. With a focus on skeletal muscle cell biology, regeneration, and repair, as well as tissue bioengineering of skeletal muscle organs, his group joins the Organ Engineering and Synthetic Biology theme at ARMI. Using cutting-edge technology, including microscopy, tissue engineering and spatial genomics, William and his group aim to identify fundamental principles of intercellular communication and translational discoveries to improve muscle disorders and ageing.
William began his academic career with a PhD from the Paris Descartes University and the Freie University of Berlin. Of that time, he says, “My PhD supervisor, Edgar Gomes, gave me much freedom in a setting where conditions were ideal to do science. This allowed me to pave my own path: pursue questions I was interested in, learn techniques I enjoyed, and develop the skills I thought were important.”
After post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Pura Munoz in Barcelona and leading the tissue engineering MyoChip team in Lisbon in parallel, William left for Stanford University, where he applied imaged-based spatial genomic techniques to muscle specimens. Over the course of his career thus far, William has genuinely taken advantage of the global scale of the scientific community. William explains, “Fortunately, science is an international language, and I took this opportunity to work in several different countries and to meet fascinating people. Along the way, I learned new techniques and ways to think about science. Australia was not on the original roadmap, and yet here it is, the adventure continues.”
New to Australia and ARMI, what stood out to William was how ARMI “radiated energy.” He said, “I look forward to being part of the ARMI community and building something durable. I know very little about Melbourne and Australia, so discovering this part of the world is very exciting.”
Here, William hopes to create a lab environment that significantly contributes to shaping the careers of all its members at the scientific and personal levels. Having navigated his career through elite universities and in different countries, William understands how everyone’s needs and goals are different and how balancing scientific and soft skills is critical. “I believe that maximising the potential of every trainee and empowering them with the tools to pursue their ambitions will be a challenge, but one I look forward to,” he explained.
With him, William brings expertise in emerging technologies such as single-cell multiplexing imaging and in developing a tissue engineering pipeline to generate sophisticated in vitro systems. This will boost not only the research potential at ARMI but also the commercial capacity. “I hope these two technologies will promote interactions and collaborations across the different research programs at ARMI.”
While William describes his career journey as one filled with “twists and turns,” he is most proud of how he is working in science according to his own ethos. “I like to think there is a bit of me reflected in my discoveries,” he comments. Welcome, William!