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News & Press: Member News

Member Spotlight: Nadine Ritter, Vice President and Member of the CASSS Board of Directors

Friday, March 1, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gabi Barragan
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The Member Spotlight Q&A is part of an ongoing CASSS series where we invite members to meet other members of the CASSS Community.

This month, we turn our Member Spotlight on Nadine Ritter, Vice President of the CASSS Board of Directors, and member of the CASSS Associate Directors, and CMC North America and CMC Steering Committees.


How long have you been with your current organization and/or position? 

I have been a biotech analytical and lab quality consultant, trainer, and speaker since 2002; prior to that I was director of a CRO biotech lab for several years, following six years in a large pharma company and 12 years in basic academic research. For 10 years of consulting, I worked under Biologics Consulting Group, and in 2014 I started Global Biotech Experts. (However, my friends and family would maintain that I’ve been giving my opinions on everything to everyone long before I did it professionally.) 

What was your motivation to volunteer with CASSS?

When I was a bench scientist at Abbott Labs in the early 1990’s, our group director sent me to the first WCBP meeting to find out more about the emerging analytical technical and regulatory issues for biotech products. I was immediately captured by the relevance of this organization, and decided it was very important to become engaged so that I could learn more about the field and stay abreast of critical emerging issues. Soon I offered help in whatever way I could to assure its continued success. Along the way it not only benefited my ongoing professional education, but also introduced me to terrific colleagues with similar interests and passions in the biotech field. I consider CASSS a major part of my career life.

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in New Orleans, but my family relocated to Houston when I was a teenager. All of my academic education and post-graduate research work was in Houston, starting at a fantastic science-focused community college, then the University of Houston at Clear Lake (near NASA), then Rice University. In parallel to college, for eight years I was a research assistant in bone cell biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, then I did a four-year postdoc there.

 What do you do to relax? Do you have any hobbies? 

I am a major foodie (my New Orleans genes). I love to seek out interesting food and drink around the world, and I love to cook Cajun food, especially from old family recipes. I am also an avid gardener, particularly of English roses and herb gardens. Sometimes my travel schedule makes seasonal gardening a bit challenging, so I tend toward perennials.

What's your favorite type of food? 

I like variety, from nouveau cuisine to comfort food, any many cultures. I’m also very partial to food pairings with interesting wines, beers and spirits.

Do you speak any languages besides English? 

Regrettably, no. Coming from southern Louisiana with a heavy Cajun French accent, as a kid functional English was almost a second language to me! I purposefully entered speech and drama classes in school to improve my dialect so that other kids could understand me. I also took years of Latin, but it has never helped me order a taxi anywhere in the world.

Do you have any children? Pets? 

Yes, and yes. We have three terrific kids, two good dogs, and three cool snakes. Plus, I have three aquariums, two of which are made from old laboratory glassware (large paper chromatography tanks).

What’s your favorite type of music?

I like multiple styles and eras; depends on the mood. The two kids still at home are very active musical theater majors, so it can get quite raucous sometimes. We have been known to do “The Time Warp” in the kitchen.

What was the last movie you saw in the theater or book you read and loved?

I read several books and see several movies each month, so it is hard to highlight just one. I favor history and science in both fiction and non-fiction. However, for CASSS folks, I can highly recommend The Great Influenza by John M Barry. It is an excellent historical retrospective on the rise and impact of the H5N1 flu that erupted during WW1. Barry carefully pulls together the scientific, political, social, and environmental factors that came together to create a “perfect storm,” allowing this virus to spread uncontrollably through the healthiest adults in the US and Europe. It rapidly killed more people than have even been recorded, because those processing the dead also died quickly. I knew only a small fraction of the issues until I read this book; it was fascinating (and scary).

What famous person do you admire and why?

There are many! Politically, Elizabeth I and Thomas Jefferson. Socially, Eleanor Roosevelt and Madeline Albright. Scientifically, Marie Curie, and Rosalind Franklin. Literary: Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. Not a complete list in any category….

What’s your favorite destination to travel to?

London is my favorite city, UK my favorite country (especially Wales); Paris and France are growing on me. But I love going everywhere, and fortunately my job provides many opportunities to travel.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

That’s a good question… I can’t imagine anything would surprise anyone about me. I’m not shy.

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