Francesca Casadio is the founder of the scientific research laboratory at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she currently holds the post of Associate Vice President and Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science. In this capacity she leads a team of over thirty specialists for objects, paintings, frames, works on paper, photographs, books, other printed materials, textiles, time-based media, and scientific research. Francesca is also the founding member and co-director of the Northwestern University / Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS). Francesca received her PhD and MS degrees in Chemistry from the University of Milan, Italy and in 2019 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Sorbonne University in Paris. Casadio has authored several publications in the scientific and conservation literature, including edited books and essays in museum catalogs. She’s passionate about communicating the work of conservators and scientists to the public, students, and the media. In 2006 she was the recipient of the L’Oréal Art and Science of Color Silver Prize.
In both her academic and museum work Francesca is particularly proud of training women scientists for careers in museums, industry and academia. Of the few dozen graduate- and post-doctoral students co-mentored by her at Nortwestern University more than 80% are women. She is a firm believer in leveraging the emotional power of art to inspire younger generations, and hopefully more women, to enter science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) research fields. Francesca is equally proud of compliments for her scientific research in the arts, as for her Italian shoes.