Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti has been named director general of the CERN particle physics research centre. She is the first woman nominated and chosen to head a leading global scientific institution. With a doctorate from the University of Milan, Gianotti has worked as a CERN researcher since 1987. Once she receives formal approval from the council in December, she will begin her five-year appointment in January 2016, replacing current head, Rolf Heuer. Gianotti is also a member of the Physics Advisory Committee at Fermilab, the particle physics laboratory at Batavia, Illinois. In 2013, she received a doctorate honoris causa from EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne). A woman of many talents, she trained as a pianist, and has a professional music diploma from the highly reputed Milan Conservatory.