a few facts about me
I have always wanted to become a veterinarian since I was a child. Don’t ask me why. I have never had a dog or a cat (even if I begged for many), my parents have never been animal lovers and never wanted to get me one, except for a turtle and a little hamster.
This passion for animals has never disappeared throughout my life but has evolved. If when I was a student of veterinary medicine my dream was becoming a general practitioner, towards the end of my studies I started being fascinated by the microscopic world.
I still remember when, as an intern in a small animal veterinary hospital in Trieste (Italy), I was making smears from any lump and looking at as many blood smears I could. I remember this being frustrating at times – especially when my line managers were telling me not to waste time in the lab- but also very rewarding when I was able to make a definitive diagnosis with no need to send the slide to an external laboratory or to take a solid biopsy.
In 2009, two years after I graduated, I had a life changing episode that I will never forget. Just after graduating, I applied for a scholarship sponsored by SCIVAC (Italian Companion Animal Veterinary Association) for the best thesis. I thought I could have some chances as I did a large retrospective study on feline lymphoma in collaboration with the University of Padua, but I would have never thought I would have been the winner. I still remember the day I received that email.
For the first time in my life, I had a lump sum to spend for an externship abroad. I didn’t know where to go at that time, as the veterinary clinical pathology world was kind of new to me. What I remember is that I had been fascinated by a small cytology book written by a British veterinary clinical pathologist called Kathleen Freeman.
I also remembered that in the third cover there was an email address. I immediately contacted her and very kindly got an answer few days after saying “you are more than welcome to visit me whenever you want”. At that point, I realised that was my moment and I should take this opportunity. I spent the following weeks planning the trip and also arranging a short externship at the University of Cambridge that had (and still has) a large department of Veterinary Medicine with a very active residency program.
Those weeks in the UK have been fantastic. It was my first work experience abroad and the first all dedicated to clinical pathology. The first few weeks with Dr Kathleen Freeman have been one of the best life experiences I have had so far. She leaves in a tiny village on the north parts of Scotland. The only way to reach the village (if you do not have a car) is taking a postbus that goes through the village once a day.
From my hometown to Killin (that’s the name of the village) took over a day but it was totally worth it. The house (which actually is a farm) is sitting on a lake and is surrounded by green landscape and sheep, of course. In front of the house there is also a small caravan for guests (it was too cold for me to stay in) making the place very bucolic and magical. I would help Kathleen in the fields in the morning as she has 500 sheep to take care of. In the afternoon and until late evening we would read cytology smears and discuss clinical cases. What an amazing time; I really felt like James Herriot in those days.
Cambridge was also another exciting and very different experience. It gave me the chance to get in contact with the University environment and meet a lot of clinical pathologists and residents. After this experience, I went back home to Italy but I realised that clinical pathology would have been my thing for life. Luckily, few months after, a position for a residency in Clinical Pathology at the University of Cambridge came out and I managed to get it. This is how it all started.
By meeting Dr Freeman and completing my residency, a few years later she asked me to co-edit the new edition of her cytology book, the one that inspired me years before to become a clinical pathologist. That has been for me one of the biggest achievements and it further confirmed my idea that if you really want to do something and it is important to you, you will find a way. Perseverance and dedication are the best way to do that.
Books and book chapters
- Editor of the book: Cian F, Monti P, Differential Diagnosis in Small Animal Cytology The Skin and Subcutis, CABI, 2019
- Editor of the book: Cian F, Freeman K. Veterinary Cytology: Dog, Cat, Horse and Cow: Self-Assessment Color Review, 2nd edition, CRC Press, 2017
- Co-author of the chapter “Diagnostic Cytology” of the book: Villiers E, BSAVA Manual of Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 3rd edition, 2016.
- Contributing author for the book: Freeman K, Klenner S. Veterinary Clinical Pathology: A Case-Based Approach, Manson Publishing, 2015.
- Contributing author for the book: Raskin RE, Meyer DJ. Canine and Feline Cytology, 3rd edition, Saunders Elsevier, 2015.
Articles on peer reviewed journals
- Laing G, Christley R, Stringer A, Ashine T, Cian F et al. Pathology, infectious agents and horse- and management-level risk factors associated with signs of respiratory disease in Ethiopian working horses. Equine Vet J, 2020, early view.
- Bonsembiante F, Bonfanti U, Cian F et al. Diagnostic validation of a whole-slide imaging scanner in cytological samples: diagnostic accuracy and comparison with light microscopy. Vet Pathol, 2019, 56(3), 429-434.
- Verin R, Cian F, Stewart J et al. Canine clitoral carcinoma: a clinical, cytologic, histopathologic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural study. Vet Pathol, 2018, 55(4), 501-509.
- Bisson J, Van Den Steen N, Hawking I, Cian F, Tappin S. Mediastinal histiocytic sarcoma with abdominal metastasis in a Somali cat, Vet Rec Case Rep, 2017, early view
- Cian F, My working week, Vet Rec, 2017, 180(2).
- Cian F, Whiteoak S, Stewart J. A case of giant cell tumour of soft parts in a horse. Vet Clin Pathol. 2016, 45(3), 501-504.
- Bronzini I, Aresu L, Paganin M, Marchioretto L, Comazzi S, Cian F, Riondato F, Marconato L, Martini V, Kronnie G. DNA methylation and targeted sequencing of methyltransferases family genes in canine acute myeloid leukemia, modeling human myeloid leukemia, Veterinary Comparative Oncology Journal, 2016, early view.
- Guzera M,Cian F, Leo C, Winnicka A, Archer J. The use of flow cytometry for immunophenotyping lymphoproliferative disorders in cats: a retrospective study of 19 cases. Vet Comp Oncol. 2016, 14(1), 40-51.
- Cian F, Stewart J, Minshall GJ, Wright IM. What is your diagnosis? Swelling of the left antebrachium and carpus in a horse. Vet Clin Pathol. 2015, 44(4), 609-610.
- Cian F, Monti P, Durham A. Cytology of the lower respiratory tract in horses: an updated review. Equine Vet Educ. 2015. 27(10), 544-553.
- Ortiz AL, Carvalho S, Leo C, Riondato F, Archer J. Cian F. Gamma delta (γδ) T-cell large granular lymphocyte (LGL) lymphoma in a dog. Vet Clin Pathol. 2015. 44(3), 442-447
- Gelain ME, Bertazzolo W, Tutino G, Pogliani E, Cian F, Boudreaux MK. A novel point mutation in the β1-tubulin gene in asymptomatic macrothrombocytopenic Norfolk and Cairn Terriers. Vet Clin Pathol. 43(3): 317-21
- Cian F, Pitorri F, Villiers E, Archer J, Freeman K. Use of six sigma worksheets for internal and external failure costs associated with candidate quality control rules for an Advia 120 hematology analyzer. Vet Clin Pathol. 2014. 43(2): 164-71.
- Cian F, Guzera M, Frost S, Van Poucke S, Comazzi S, Archer J. Stability of immunophenotypic lymphoid markers in fixed canine peripheral blood for flow cytometric analysis. Vet Clin Pathol. 43(1): 101-8.
- Cian F, Palus V, Cherubini GB, Archer J, Villiers E. What’s your diagnosis? Cerebrospinal fluid in a dog. Vet Clin Pathol. 2014. 43(1): 115-6
- Cian F, Tyner G, Martini V, Comazzi S, Archer J, Chronic lymphocytic leukemia/ small cell lymphoma in a horse, Vet Clin Pathol. 2013. 42(3): 301-6.
- Ives EJ, Vanhaesebrouck AE, Cian F. Immunocytochemical demonstration of feline infectious peritonitis virus antigen inside cerebrospinal fluid macrophages from a cat. J Feline Med Surg. 15(12): 1149-53.
- Perazzi A, Busetto R, Martinello T, Drigo M, Pasotto D, Cian F, Patruno M, Iacopetti I. Validation of double centrifugation tube method for concentrating canine platelets. BMC Vet Res. 2013. 22: 9:146.