Italian-born Roberta Marongiu isn’t just any medical researcher. She received her Ph.D. in medical genetics & neuroscience from the University of Rome in Italy as well as the University of California. She’s an instructor of neurological surgery and also conducts research at the Molecular Neurosurgery Laboratory at the Weill Cornell Medical College at Cornell University.
A few years ago, Dr. Marongiu saw a presentation on a program called Rock Steady Boxing at a medical conference. The program uses boxing as a nontraditional therapy for Parkinson’s sufferers. Each movement – stretching, punching, footwork – targets a specific symptom of the disease. Participants don’t fight each other, but practice moves with their coach. The program had a profound effect of Dr. Marongiu who said, “My main goal has always been the quest for a cure, finding a cure…when I found this program, I thought it was something that I could do to help right now, in the present” (CBS News). She became a trained instructor of the program and coaches Rock Steady Boxing participants regularly. Professionally, she continues to focus her research on Parkinson’s and potential gene therapies for the disease.
Sources: Weill Cornell Medical College, National Association of Professional Women, CBS News, Rock Steady Boxing