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Off Campus: Shall We Dance?

Published on
Jun 21, 2019

By Nancy McCann

Editor’s note: We’ve started a new occasional blog series! Do you ever wonder what our super-docs and super-staff do on the weekends, during their downtime? Well, our Research Communications team did, and we created “Off Campus” to discover what our amazing Research Institute employees do for fun, recreation, and the good of their communities. Get a glimpse into their lives once they take off their capes … umm, we mean lab coats and business shoes. And if you know someone in your department or lab with a fascinating hobby or interest, we’d like to hear about it

Stefano Rivella, PhD, a research faculty member in the Division of Hematology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and scientific director of the Comprehensive Center for the Cure of Sickle Cell Disease and Other Red Blood Cell Disorders (CuRED), works diligently during the day investigating a gene therapy that will ease, and perhaps eliminate, the suffering of patients with red blood diseases, namely sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia. But as the sun goes down and his white lab coat comes off … dance shoes go on. We’re not talking hip hop, or disco, or country-line dancing. Dr. Rivella’s fancy footwork of choice: the tango.

“I always try to do something completely unrelated to science,” Dr. Rivella said. “Probably the most successful story of my life was when I was in New York, and I decided to take tango lessons — I really like music and dancing. Trying something outside of science is very refreshing from the point of view you get exposed to a variety of people from many different sectors, cultures, and careers. That’s where I met my wife! I asked her to dance, and she said ‘Yes.’ Kim’s career is in finance, so I probably would not have met her otherwise.”

With two kids now, ages 7 and 9, the Rivella’s aren’t hitting the city dance clubs anymore, as the 6 a.m. alarm comes too soon. But, Dr. Rivella said with a smile, “We still get out sometimes.”

Let’s tango!

Photo courtesy of Stacey Ilyse