I was born in 1968 in Oradea, a city located in the western part of Romania, where I did my elementary and high school studies. My family had a decisive impact on my future profession. My aspirations at that time were considered quite daring, as they meant a lot of work, especially in the context of the communist golden age. My passion for chemistry and biology started in high school. I learned the first notions of future nutrition and food from my biology teacher who had the chance to leave Romania for a while, to return and bring with her a part of another world that we could only imagine.
Between 1987 and 1989, I sat entrance exams at the faculty of pharmacy, some of the toughest in the country, even higher than for medicine studies, as there were only 20 available places. Every time I ranked 21st, and was rejected even with the same average score as the 20th rank. In January 1990, immediately after the revolution of 1989, I was finally accepted. Then I attended the five years studies of the faculty of pharmacy at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iuliu Ha?ieganu of Cluj-Napoca.
In 1994 I obtained my BSc with the paper ‘Illnesses caused by eating foodstuffs’, which was the beginning of a great passion, namely the study of food and of the impact of nutrition on human health. However, after graduation I chose to stay in academia although not in the area of nutrition.
The study of food and diet therapy interested me all this time, In 2000 I became a teacher in the department of chemical health where I had obtained my BSc. I completed my doctoral studies in 2002 and ever since I have focused on the study of bioactive substances present in foods, such as caffeine, resveratrol, polyphenols and lignans.
In 2008 a group of us managed to set up the first undergraduate degree programme in Romania in nutrition and dietetics. We followed the models of large European universities with tradition in this area. The University of Valencia was our best and closest model and support. Since then, I have been teaching the subjects of food technology, food history and culture, food additives, and other topics. I am one of the three founders of the Association for Nutrition and Health – the first non-governmental organisation in Romania supporting students and dietitians. Its purpose includes education about the role of nutrition in health and in preventing and treating illnesses. Its aim also is to provide qualified support in promoting, developing and implementing a healthy eating culture appropriate for the age and for physiological needs, and to promote study and research.
My aim is to contribute to the training of a new generation of dietitians, through organisation of events on the topics of nutrition, and public health, and to make this new field known in Romania, so as to promote healthy ways of life, especially among children, teenagers and youth. If this results in improved health, increased life expectancy, longevity and quality of life in my country, then I will truly be able to say that I have succeeded.