Rosa Santella

Nationality: Italian
Age: 26


Topic of your PhD work: Stability of beers made with mixtures of lightly to moderately kilned malts

Two universities you will be enrolled to:

University 1 (employer):
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
University 2:
KU Leuven, Belgium

Name of supervisor 1:
prof. Birthe Moller Jespersen
Name of supervisor 2:
prof. Guido Aerts

Education background:

Scientific Studies High School
Field of study for your BSc: Biology
University of your BSc: Federico II, Naples(IT)
University of your MSc: Federico II, Naples(IT), University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio

Short description of your MSc work:

My thesis was written in English during my  lab internship at the University of Eastern Finland, where I carried out calibration pioneering tests on a electronic nose: a tool based on ion mobility spectrometry technology emulating the mammalian olfactory apparatus.The e-nose capabilities have already been successfully employed for identification of volatile organic compounds emanated by food (quality freshness assessment and control of yeast fermentation), but in the exhaled breath analysis it is still in its “embryonal” stage. Therefore, the main purpose of my study was to get more knowledge about the e-nose working principles  in the detection of alcohols, ketones, aldehydes released from a gas generator that works like an artificial lung. The signal and the chemical spectrum of the exhaled breath biomarkers create a specific “smell fingerprint” in the e-nose that might become a new generation device in nutritional research, used as routine diagnostic instrument, instead than invasive blood analysis or biopsy.

Why did you decide to apply for the EJDFoodSci?

Since my graduation day last year, I was looking for a both international-industrial PhD. The dialog between academic institution and company it’s the most productive dualism because it turns pure and theoretical research into applied. European joint doctorate in Food Science attracted me also for the charming topic: malting and brewing investigation;  beer has a cultural meaning, it helped in building up the civilization as  bread invention, it is an alive beverage in continuous change and exploring this field all the senses enjoy. I just desired to be part of this successful story and embrace the mission.

Please list top 5 things you find most attractive in this project?

1. Mobility across top-classes European universities in Denmark, Poland, Belgium, Germany, UK.
2.Stunning organization: Training inside a multidisciplinary programme including managerial courses, analytical methods and sensory course, all run in parallel with 3 years of high quality research plan.
3. Collaboration with outstanding companies of global caliber: Carlsberg, Boortmalt, VLB, Flavour Active.
4. Perfect human resources machine made up of a great international team: joint supervision performed by expert tutors with a huge transferable knowledge and other 7 superqualified colleagues to share the adventure with.
5. Valuable and honorable aim of the project: Innovative and creative approach to brewing technology optimization developed under the value of sustainable purposes.

Please list top 3 things in your character that you think are crucial to be successful in this project?

1. Enthusiasm and positiviness
2. Energy and empathy
3. Courage to be ambitious

How did you find the whole process of recruitment, how did you feel during the evaluation, interviews, etc.?

I think the selection process has been as hard and long as fair and meritocratic. The committee had a difficult task and I did notice their scrupulousness, accuracy and reliability to offer a transparent evaluation and manage a comfortable round table. I appreciated the humanity united to professionalism. I felt me of course under exam, but I tried to enjoy the moment and challenge myself spontaneously. I knew I had a few minutes to “sell” my weapons and trasmit them how the EDJ FOOD SCI project was simply drawn on me. I use to say no risk, no gain.

What did you think/how did you feel when you received the letter informing that you were accepted for the ESR position?

I am a very emotional person and I didn’t realise immediately because it seemed to be in a bubble soap, honestly I couldn’t hold some happy tears. In 30 seconds all my past life passed through my mind and appeared to get logical. I am proud and glad of the effort I put in this application. I wanted to “nail” this opportunity therefore caught my train. This enormous occasion is rare and I recognised the interview literally worth the flight to another country. I was aware in my deepest this would have been my time to shine and in the end someone saw the light in me. Dreams may become true.

What do you think will be the most challenging thing in the EJDFoodSci?

The most challenging feature of EJDFoodSci is the coordination of multiple elements on physical distance. 8PhD students, 6 universities, 4 companies, several supervisors. Both cooperation and flexibility should represent distintive tracts. Multicultural backgrounds, different point of views and ideas have to match or find out compomises for the project wellness. The key truth is that we will be the first and I bet we are all so excited, curious to explore the unknown. We have got the luck to do not suffer the usual “PhD loneliness”, we will be not only in a lab or reading/writing articles but meet people and come out with our results by blogs, journeys, conferences around Europe, comparing and measuring ourself continuosly to the external scientific updates. We will experiment how to figure out of the comfort zone and thrive under pressure in order to expand our horizon: a 3 years trip inside our potentiality.

What are your hobbies, what you like doing in your free time?

I regard myself a good performer. I own speaker abilities and I adore to sing. I have been singer in a rock band for some years in Italy and that definitely lead me to fight against shyness, be confident on the stage and don’t delude the audience. Furthermore food for me doesn’t represent exclusively job matter but also an hobby, I am from pasta and pizza native place and I love to cook in a professional way. I also created a blog with recipes and nutritional advices on the healthy molecular combinations. That’s a proof of my journalistic and entrepreneurial innate attitude.