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Recipient of "Doctoral Student of the Year 2018" is Davide Borroni, an exceptional 3rd year doctoral student at Rīga Stradiņš University who specialises in ophthalmology and is writing his dissertation on the theme "Researching translation in medicine: genetics in ophthalmology".


RSU rector Aigars Pētersons presenting the RSU Annual Award "Doctoral Student of the Year 2018" to Davide Borroni on 24 March 2018 at the RSU Academic Ball in the Riga Latvian Society House

Davide, an international student from Italy, has not only completed all his study courses at an outstanding level, but is also active in research. He is already the author of a number of internationally cited publications. He has received an international European research grant - the first student from Latvia who has achieved this. The doctoral student is persistent, proactive and goal-oriented, both during his doctoral studies here in Latvia, as well as during his residency at RSU. Davide Borroni is actively involved in a number of charities, helping people to regain their vision and maintain their health. For instance, his research has even led him to Nepal.

Tell us a bit about yourself – where you are from, what are your interests, what are you passionate about?

My name in Davide Borroni and I’m from Stresa, a small city on Lake Maggiore in the north west of Italy. I grew up in the countryside until the age of 19, when I moved to Varese, a city near Milano. Over there I started my studies in Medicine and I fell in love with science.

My main interests are football, travels and ophthalmology! First of all, I'll talk about football. Probably the best team in Europe currently is the Internazionale Milano (Inter) Football Club, we just need to set up our players better and we will come back again. At least I hope…

I like to travel, it helps me see different realities. In the last 4 years I visited 21 countries, including Nepal twice for a humanitarian project and I understood that we are what we donate, what we give.

Ophthalmology is my job and my interest as well. Almost all our emotions, feelings, everyday life and love pass through the eyes, isn’t this amazing?

I am passionate about changes. I like studying to change things, without change there is no evolution, without evolution no progression. We live only once, if we don’t try to make this world a better place to be, what’s the sense of living?

The three most important things you have achieved so far.

This is a difficult question, but I can say: Love, Hope, Job.

Love: In the first place for sure is love. Love is the key to life and thanks to the love of my family and in recent years, a wonderful girl, my life has achieved a high level of happiness.

Hope: never back down even in difficult situations, especially during university studies. There is always a way, there is always a street to be walked and there is always an answer.

Job: thanks to RSU now I’m an ophthalmologist, a Corneal Fellow in The Royal Liverpool University Hospital and winner of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) - Research Award 2018, one of the most important prizes in Ophthalmology worldwide, made possible with a super team of collaborators who worked with me for over 2 years.


Davide Borroni - "Doctoral Student of the Year 2018". Photo from personal archive.

What do you think of your studies at Rīga Stradiņš University?

For sure, RSU is the place to be in Europe. The teachers, the infrastructure, the administrative staff are constantly working for you to give you the possibility to be competitive in European Grant applications and to be up-to-date on the newest publications in medicine.

I enjoyed the training in ophthalmology and the flexibility of the university. Thanks to RSU I was able to study and improve in all aspects of ophthalmology, especially lasers, cornea, cataract and maculopathy (retinal diseases).

A positive of RSU is the great relationship than the university is able to forge with international centres all over the world.

What teachers have had an influence on your life?

I need to say thanks to 3 professors from RSU: Professor Ilze Grope, Professor Guna Laganovska and Professor Sandra Lejniece. All of them understood my different way of thinking about ophthalmology. As a spiritual teacher I’d like to thank Dr. Kabindra Bajracharya who was able to teach me the beginning of The Way of The Buddha. Regarding Italy I’d like to say thanks to Dr. Stefano Ferrari, Dr. Diego Ponzin and Dr. Adriano Fasolo who helped me in the setting up of research.  In the last month, three great teachers joined my life, Prof. SB Kaye, Dr. Vito Romano and Dr. Mohit Parekh to whom I need to say thanks for updating me on the latest therapies available in corneal diseases.


Consulting patients in Nepal. Photo from personal archive.

Do you have any life values or cornerstones that you would like to share?

1) Honesty. It will define who you are before you even allow others to know more about you. Honest intentions in speech and actions gain the attention and respect of others.

2) Enthusiasm. Unbridled passion and excitement for living your life on your terms.

3) Hard Work. I believe in intelligent hard work. Busting your tail for something without thinking it through is a fool’s game. But working hard, with focus and desire is the key to getting ahead.

4) Perseverance. We need to understand that everyone fails at one point or another. Sometimes, the way we get knocked down is completely out of our control. But we have to respond and we have to rise to the occasion.

What needs to be done to make the world a better place?

Eliminate complaining and express positivity! People are so used to thinking about how things can go wrong, about the worst thing that can happen that we forget that there is a positive side to everything in life. Cultivating a positive mindset is hard work in the beginning but it pays off once it becomes a habit. We can inspire other people to be positive.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

This is the million dollar question. I hope to stay linked or to be part of RSU. I’ll like to start some collaboration with Bolzano too, a nice city in the north east of Italy. Which idea will live - we will see!


Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) has a tradition of celebrating achievements and outstanding performance by expressing gratitude to the best students and staff members who have significantly contributed to research, academic affairs or to the popularisation of RSU.  On 24 March 2018 at the traditional Academic Ball, held at the Latvian Society House, RSU presented its Annual Recognition Awards in eight categories.  The annual award in the category Doctoral Student of the Year is presented for outstanding academic performance and active involvement in academic and social events.