1. Tell me in 5 words who is Ana Pudja?
Optimistic, Determined, Passionate, Learner, Mom of 3 adorable children.
2. What made you join CeMM?
I have always been interested in medical research – the closer to patients the more motivating it was for me. It was a spark at first sight when I came across CeMM, rather unexpectedly. When I heard about the open PhD program I have applied for it. After coming for the interview and meeting the CeMM community (which was much smaller at that time) I was impressed with the atmosphere, purpose and possibilities CeMM offers, and was happy to join CeMM for my PhD.
3. What is it about science that interests you the most?
The innovations in science we are witnessing in the last decade are mind-blowing and there is much more to come. I am particularly interested in precision medicine developments in oncology, with focus on bringing the best possible diagnostics and therapies to patients in need.
4. What is the best career advice you ever received, or you can give to the CeMM community?
First of all, I think that there is no right or wrong career path. We are all unique individuals with different skills and preferences. Even study programs are changing, introducing more interdisciplinary. It is important to reflect on yourself and learn about what you enjoy doing, where your skills are, what your priority list is, and then to find your own journey to develop a meaningful career you are passionate about. Take opportunities as they come, enjoy the challenges, learn from each experience and be brave and proactive in shaping your career!
5. Tell us what happened to you after you left CeMM?
I have left CeMM while expecting my twin girls and have fully enjoyed my time as a mom of three (a boy and two girls), entirely disconnected from work. That was a very important time for me, not only privately, but also professionally, as it allowed me to reflect on my career preferences, but also to develop transferable family management skills which are entirely applicable to professional settings. After gaining a project management certificate from the International Project Management Association, I have joined the St. Anna Children Research Cancer Institute (CCRI) in Vienna as a project manager of exciting international EU-funded projects, bringing NGS diagnostics closer to oncology patients and harmonizing childhood leukemia diagnostics and management in different parts of the world. Since last year I am part of the Janssen medical team, passionately contributing to bringing CAR-T therapy to patients as a CAR-T cell therapy center manager. I do have to give big credits to my husband for all my personal and professional developments, who is continuously enormously supporting me in pursuing my dreams! Without him I wouldn’t have been here where I am today.
6. What book do you have on your night table at the moment?
Mindset by Carol Dweck.
7. What is the last song you heard?
I can see clearly now from Jimmy Cliff.
8. Any message you would like to give to the CeMMies or a former colleague?
To CeMMies – enjoy the time at CeMM, use the opportunity to learn, develop and form networks. It is a great place! Don’t hesitate to reach out to Alumni members, too.
To all – enjoy life every day, take care of yourself, be kind to others and the planet, be brave to make changes, take opportunities as they come!
And one more important message I would like to share with all – we are fortunate to live in a society where no one has to choose between career and family. Make your contribution in breaking the bias. Women, as well as men, can be great parents with successful and fulfilling careers! Don’t underestimate the efficacy and commitment of a mom at work.
Ana Pudja did her PhD at CeMM (between 2010-2015), in the group of Robert Kralovics, with focus on investigating the genetics of hematological malignancies. This period allowed her to develop professional skills as a scientist, while employing cutting-edge technologies and collaborating with other scientists and clinicians. It also significantly contributed to shaping the profound intercultural, interpersonal and personal skills Ana has. After leaving CeMM Ana obtained project management education and IPMA certification. Passionate about contributing to the translation of scientific knowledge into improvements of cancer patient diagnosis and care, as well as to innovations leading to precision medicine, Since last year she is part of the Janssen medical team, passionately contributing to bringing CAR-T therapy to patients as a CAR-T cell therapy center manager.
Ana is a proud mom of three wonderful children. She is a dancer and a fitness instructor and lives her life with a smile on her face.