Member Spotlight - Marta Germano, AT Europe Committee Member
Thursday, June 09, 2016
Posted by: Linda Mansouria
1. How long have you been with your current organization and/or in your current position?
I have been working at Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines for 3,5 years, and I started the vaccine characterization group a little over 3 years ago.
2.What was the motivation to bring you to work as a volunteer for CASSS on the WCBP Committee?
I am a huge fan of the meetings organized by CASSS! They inspire me so much for improving my work! Product characterization is a multidisciplinary field, at the forefront of many new developments in the biopharmaceutical industry. Bringing together the industry, the regulators, and academia creates the most fertile grounds for scientific interactions, which is what we need in order to create new insights and new ways of working. There are not many of such opportunities in Europe, where I’m based, and I was very excited when Cari Sänger, one of the AT Europe co-chairs, told me about this meeting. After attending the first AT Europe, in Berlin in 2015, I was even more enthusiastic and had so many new ideas, that I welcomed the opportunity to channel these ideas and thereby help shape the next AT Europe meetings.
3.What’s your hometown? Where were you raised?
I was born in Africa, in Angola, which was at that time a colony of Portugal. My family moved to Portugal when I was 5, and I was raised near Lisbon. But I have been living in Leiden, in Holland for more than 20 years. So I do not really know what my hometown is, I do feel at home in several countries.
4.What do you do to relax? Hobbies?
I love to experiment in the kitchen, especially with deserts. I also like listening to music, reading and going to the movies, and to really empty my head I go swimming. But mostly I relax by being around my kids, watching them swimming or playing soccer, or simply talking to them about whatever philosophical or existential questions they might have. And they have a lot, especially the youngest…
5.What’s your favorite type of food?
In this respect, I am a true Portuguese: I love eating fish, all sorts of fish (although I’m not a great fan of shellfish) and, of course, I have a sweet tooth… You can always make me happy with a piece of good chocolate. If you ever go to Portugal, walk into a café for an expresso and see all those different types of little cakes behind the counter, you wander how there can be people who are able to resist such a temptation?!?
6.Do you speak any languages besides English?
My mother tongue is Portuguese, although I have been living away from Portugal for so long that I am starting to forget words. I am also fluent in Dutch. Besides that, I can speak French and Spanish, and I also understand German and a bit of Italian.
7.Do you have any kids? Pets?
I have two sons: Peter, who is 11, and Tomás, who is 6.
Do plants count as pets? Because we have a vegetable garden, which demands a lot of attention and care, just like any pet.
8.What was the last movie you saw in the theatre and loved?
I like movies which are not really mainstream. Every year, right after the WCBP, I spend a weekend at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. There I saw a beautiful film last January, called “La Novia”. It is a Spanish film about an impossible love, full of drama and beautifully filmed in the south of Spain. The plot is based on a theatre play by Federico García Lorca. The film is so intense, that you forget everything that is happening around you for the entire 90 minutes it takes.
9.What’s your favorite singer or band?
I have a number of these, depending on my mood. The last concert I went to was by a Portuguese singer called António Zambujo. He has a very specific style, at the crossroads between Portuguese Fado music, Brazilian Bossa Nova, and music from the Cape Verde Islands, in Africa. I went all the way from Amsterdam to Paris to watch António Zambujo play and sing, so I guess I can say he is one of my favorites. My teenage idol was “the Boss”, Bruce Springsteen, and I’m looking forward to going to one of his concerts again, coming June in The Hague, in Holland!
10.If you could meet any famous person or historical figure, who would it be and what would you ask/tell/him/her?
As I’ve just been to the amazing Cape Town, I am inspired by two people who are linked to that city. One is Nelson Mandela, of course. I would like to ask him how he managed to find ways of reconciling with and accepting people who were so different from himself. The other is one of the great Portuguese discoverers, called Bartolomeu Dias. He was the first European to cross the Cape of Good Hope, in 1488. At that time, people thought the world ended there. Still, he sailed with his armada of 3 ships, through storms and against strong winds, and managed to get to the other side of Africa thereby opening the way for Portuguese glory in the 15th and 16th centuries. I would like to ask him how he tackled such an enormous challenge, what made him go on against all odds, into the unknown, and how he managed to lead a crew that was probably terrified of the task he asked them to do.
11.What’s your favorite quote?
“Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.” By Robert Heinlein