Q&A with Dr. Andreea Manole at Salk Institute
By Quirine Eijkenboom, Featuring Dr. Andreea Manole
1) NGLY1 is a global team. Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. I left Romania when I was 18 to pursue higher education abroad.
2) How did you get into science and how did you end up at the Salk Institute?
When I was young, my father introduced me to a few simple chemical reactions and since then I became interested in science. After that, I just really enjoyed it throughout school, had great teachers and thought it was fun, so I just kept doing it. After completing my first degree in Biochemistry and PhD in Neuroscience in England, I contacted Dr. Gage to express my interest in his research and to pursue postdoctoral work in his lab.
3) How did you select your particular area of focus?
I have been particularly interested in work that involves modeling neurodegenerative disorders using induced pluripotent stem cells and the resulting neurons, as this holds the potential to significantly advance our understanding of pathological processes governing these diseases and thus inform strategies aimed at stopping their progression.
4) What intrigues you the most when it comes to NGLY1 mechanics?
The fact that losing this gene can result in such dramatic physiological malfunctions.
5) What is one thing people would be surprised to know about your daily work with NGLY1?
Probably one thing that may surprise people is that we are generating both 2D and 3D neural models for this disorder.
6) What is the biggest challenge you face in your research today?
In academia, the goal is to get research published. Research is typically written for an audience, whether it is a select group of individuals or broader population, and while you may believe your research is exciting, the challenge is to make it interesting for the reader.
7) What trends in medicine/science are you most excited about?
The method of CRISPR-Cas9, which is a powerful genetic technique that allows for the precise editing of genes in virtually any organism. As a consequence, this technology has enormous potential for driving biomedical discovery and for treating human disease.
8) What do you think is going to bring us closer to a cure?
In our lab we are modeling this disorder and testing different drugs to rescue the phenotype, while looking to understand the mechanisms of NGLY1. Finding a cure will probably require the blending of different fields.
9) What do you enjoy doing in your free time? How do you unwind after work?
I enjoy swimming and exploring the outdoors.
10) Do you have a favorite motto? If yes, what is it?
Yes: you are where you chose to be.