August 10, 2016

By Nuritas

7 Questions with Magali Dall’Agnol and Sean Ward

For our second blog entry in this series, we have interviewed summer interns, Magali Dall’Agnol and Sean Ward. It’s been really great getting to know these two over the last few months and as the summer comes to a close we will be sad to see them go. However, we know that they have a bright and exciting year ahead of them!

Team Members: Magali Dall’Agnol and Sean Ward

Position at Nuritas™: Interns

What inspires you?

MAGALI: People, biology, and food – that’s why I decided to do my internship in Nuritas! At the very least, Nuritas is putting science in the service of humans. It’s crazy to think a peptide could cure illness but I love crazy ideas. I would like to ultimately help cure disease or improve physiological conditions, that’s my main motivation.

SEAN: Finding out what I don’t know. I try to be a better person every day and figuring out what I don’t know helps with this.

What do you think is the best scientific innovation (aside from Nuritas™, of course)?

MAGALI: The echograph is the best scientific innovation because, now, you can see inside you. The echograph allows to see the invisible. It’s a little like magic. I think the best scientific innovations are the ones which bring some magic into your life.

SEAN: That caveman that figured out how to start fire. It is the start of making tools and the start of looking at nature to help man, even with potentially dangerous things like fire. (No, I’m not a pyromaniac. Why?)

Who is your favourite scientist and why?

MAGALI: Perhaps Marie Curie because she is a woman and she is naturalized as French! Moreover, radioactivity is always used in science. This discovery ultimately revolutionised science.

SEAN: By life story or the discovery? For life, Humphry Davy seems a bit mad and led an interesting life. His career started when Thomas Beddoes, a madman himself, saw that Davy wrote about why certain colours were the way they were (which got completely ridiculed by scientists). Davy then got curious about effects of gas on humans, and personally inhaled every gas known at the time. He almost died from carbon monoxide and methane. He did find laughing gas though. He then joined a laboratory, produced incandescent light, and discovered elemental potassium and sodium (1807), calcium, magnesium, strontium, barium, and boron (all five in 1808), and chlorine in 1810. He went blind from an experiment with nitrogen dichloride, then started to burn diamonds just to show that it is just carbon. Not bad from a farmer from Cornwall.

For discoveries, Maurice Hilleman is certainly admirable. He apparently saved the most lives for a medical scientist by finding vaccines for diseases including mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, and pneumonia.

What interests you the most right now in the health and/or food arena?

MAGALI: I like the food regulation side of things because you get to understand the different regulations in different countries. It’s like understanding the culture of the country and its links with the food. Regulation is also there to guarantee the safety of many products and thus the security and safety of the consumer.

SEAN: There was a survey conducted a few days ago about how people underreport how much they are eating. It will be interesting to see what can be done against high calorie food and over eating

What do you like most about working at Nuritas™?

MAGALI: Nothing! I’m just kidding, the young and dynamic team is fabulous so it’s a real pleasure to work in Nuritas. You can exchange ideas, have discussions with all areas of the company (laboratory, bioinformatics, commercial…). Nuritas is like a peptide where each contributor is connected with another participant to achieve activity. Yes, I am an amino acid now!

SEAN: It’s inspiring to talk to people here. There are so many new ideas. It refreshes me to be inspired by other people.

Also, the general work culture is great. I’ve felt more welcome as time went on and everyone has made a real effort to make me feel included.

If you could be a peptide which peptide would you be and what disease would you target?

MAGALI: I would like to be a fun peptide. Maybe the peptide could be composed of Histidine-Alanine-Proline-Proline-Tyrosine and it name would be “HAPPY Peptide”. Yes, I think it’s a good name! And HAPPY Peptide would help fight depression and put the smile back on people’s faces!

SEAN: Probably an antimicrobial peptide. Something cost-efficient, effective and easy to produce. Something that helps a lot of people.

Any last comments?

MAGALI: Bon appétit!

SEAN: 寿限無、寿限無五劫の擦り切れ海砂利水魚の水行末 雲来末 風来末食う寝る処に住む処藪ら柑子の藪柑子パイポ パイポ パイポのシューリンガンシューリンガンのグーリンダイグーリンダイのポンポコピーのポンポコナーの長久命の長助