I was born in 1961 in Manastirea, a village from Cluj county situated in the central part of Transylvania, Romania. Here I attended elementary school, between 1968 and 1976. My passion for chemistry began in this period and that’s why I chose to attend a high school chemistry profile in Cluj-Napoca (1976-1980). My family supported me in my choice, since the field of chemistry had a strong development in Romania of that time.
Very conscientious, I was always first in the entrance exams. Between 1980-1985 I studied at the faculty of pharmacy at the University of Targu Mures, located in central Transylvania. My graduation paper, ‘Enzymes for clarification of fruit juices’, opened my passion for food and nutrition. In 1987, after two years in pharmacy, I returned to Cluj-Napoca, where I occupied a place in research at the Institute for Hygiene and Health in its food hygiene laboratory.
In 1991, shortly after the fall of communism in Romania, I started to work for my PhD, and in 1993 began as assistant professor at the department of chemistry, faculty of pharmacy at the University Iuliu Hatieganu in Cluj. I followed this academic career in chemistry and environmental hygiene. I am now professor and head of the department of chemistry and environmental hygiene. This gives me the opportunity to continue and develop my passion for food and nutrition both in teaching and research.
Among the research directions of the department are determination of heavy metals and organochlorine pesticides in mother’s milk, fluoride content in various plant species used for medicinal tea preparation, determination of nitrites and nitrates in food , assessment of nutritional status in community of pupils or students, comparing the nutritional status of student communities in European countries, comparing milk formulas with extensively hydrolysed protein with standard formula in infants with malnutrition, and determination of bioactive compounds in food.
I started nutrition and dietetic study at university level in 2008. The curriculum and study programmes follow European models, Valencia being the university that offered us the closest model and support. In this programme, I teach courses in nutrition, food chemistry, food technology, culinary chemistry, and food additives.. In 2011 we also certified a master’s study program in nutrition and quality of life, organised into four semesters and 120 credits, which I coordinate as director.
I am one of the three founders of the Association of Nutrition & Health – the first non-governmental organisation in Romania to support students of nutrition and dietetics and young dietitians. It has as goals: educating people about the role of nutrition in preventing and treating illness, promoting, developing and implementing healthy eating culture, and promotion of study and research in the fields of nutrition and food.
Currently I am concerned with the promotion and recognition of the profession of dietitian in Romania, the professional organisation of our graduates, and providing the legal framework necessary for this new profession. Along with dieticians I coordinate my departmental staff to get involved in promoting a healthy diet in the context of a healthy lifestyle among the population of Romania