SOAR - Pisa Chapter

Pisa became part of the SOAR family in March 2014. There are approximately 3,000 Armenians living in Italy, primarily in Milan, Rome, Pisa, and Venice. Besides the general population, there are monastic communities on the island of San Lazzaro (Venice), at the Moorat-Raphael College of Venice, and Armenian clergy at the Holy See (Vatican). The first Armenian communities in Italy were formed in the 12th century when active trade was encouraged between Cilicia and Genoa, and Venice. Pisa is a growing Armenian community today. Under King Levon II, treaties allowed Italian merchants to open factories and to develop industrial activities in Cilicia. In the 15th century the process of catholicizing Armenians was strengthened in Italy, greatly contributing to their assimilation with the Italian people. In 2000, the Armenian Genocide was recognized by the Italian Parliament, and a memorial dedicated to the Genocide victims was inaugurated in the center of Rome. Besides the San Lazzaro, Italy has a number of very important Armenian churches and religious establishments: St. Gregory’s Armenian Church (Rome); Holy Cross Armenian Church (on Calle Degli); St. Blaise Armenian Catholic Church (Rome); San Nicola de Tolentino Armenian Catholic Church (Rome); and the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Forty Martyrs (Milano).


Rafik Margaryan, MD, PhD

Rafik is a pediatric cardiac surgeon, but doing his residency in adult surgery. He graduated the faculty of “General Medicine” from the “Yerevan State Medical University after M. Heratsi”, Yerevan, Armenia in 2003. From 2003-2005 he completed the residency program at the Department of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Bakoulev Center for Cardiovascular Research, Moscow, Russian Federation. From 2007-2010 Rafik had worked in Italy as a Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon. He received his PhD degree in Biomedical Research at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. Currently he is involved in translational medicine and playing an important rule coordinating and performing scientific experiments in the field of prenatal surgery. He is a crazy R programmer (statistical programming and machine learning) and loves rock music while playing it himself.

Alexander Aghababyan, MD
Vice President

Alexander was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia. He graduated from Yerevan State Medical University’s faculty of general medicine in 2000. In 2000-2002 Alexander completed the residency program at the Department of General Surgery, Doctors Improvement State Institute, Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (Moscow, Russian Federation ). In 2002-2004 he completed his military service in the Army of Republic of Armenia in the position of surgeon. In 2004-2005 he worked as a surgeon in a regional hospital of Hrazdan, Armenia. Alexander continued his career of surgeon in Nairi medical center (Yerevan, Armenia) during 2005-2008. In 2008-2012 he entered the academic research field and worked as a researcher in Cisanello Hospital (Pisa, Italy). Since 2012, he has been working there as a surgeon.

Lilit Popoyan

Lilit Popoyan was born and raised in Abovyan, Armenia. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree from the Yerevan State University of Armenia (Yerevan, Armenia) faculty of Economics in 2008 she continued her studies for her Master’s degree in 2008-2010. In 2010-2011, Lilit started working at ACBA Credit Agricole Bank CSJC as a Financier in the Financial Statements and Financial Analysis Division combining the job with a research activity in ”Panarmenian Projects” division of the Ministry of Diaspora in the Republic of Armenia (Yerevan, Armenia). In 2011-2013 she was working as an Independent Researcher in the Financial Analysis Division of the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia (Yerevan, Armenia). Currently, Lilit is a PhD candidate in Economics at the Laboratory of Economics and Management at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa, Italy) together with the Université de Strasbourg (Strasbourg, France).

Gayane Aghakhanyan, MD

Gayane graduated from the Yerevan State Medical University after M. Heratsi, the faculty of General Medicine in 2003 (Yerevan, Armenia). In 2004-2006 she completed the residency program at the Department of Neurology in Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy, Moscow, Russian Federation. Currently, Gayane is a PhD candidate in Innovative Strategies in Biomedical Research at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Institute of Life Sciences, Pisa Italy. She is interested in clinical neuroscience, neuroimaging and data analysis, adores chess and classical music.