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Introducing our new colleagues: Petra and Farya

Petra en Farya2.jpg26 apr

Pallas welcomes two new junior researchers to the team: Petra Köbrunner and Farya Mubarik. Both are young, ambitious researchers with a background in nutrition sciences and with international study and work experience. 
Farya was introduced to Pallas by an ex-colleague from Danone who previously worked on a project with Pallas: “He sent me a screenshot of the job ad and said this might be something of your interest. That was very true when I searched about Pallas and their projects. Therefore, I sent in my CV and a motivation letter and I received a response within a few days for an interview. So, here I am”. Petra read an Alumnus testimonial of a graduate from Wageningen University who started working at Pallas and got enthusiastic about Pallas, as the description and the information on the website sounded exactly like what she was looking for. Petra studied Nutrition and Dietetics at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, but moved back to Germany to study for her master’s degree with the intention of returning to the Netherlands afterwards.

Petra and Farya had a good look at the website before their interviews and studied the projects and expertise of Pallas. And naturally this created expectations for their new jobs. Petra says she expected a great diversity of topics to work on. “I was attracted by the great possibility of building my knowledge by analysing the literature in a very systematic way. During my studies we never had the time to deep dive that much into a specific topic and analyse the literature in such a systematic way. Also, I had the impression of joining a great team with very diverse backgrounds and with a lot of expertise.’’ Farya also noticed the great diversity of topics: “I am quite impressed by the diversity of the topics of past projects in the field of nutrition as well as other biomedical related topics. Pallas has a long list of famous companies and organizations as clients such as RIVM, Danone, EFSA (European Food Standard Agency), GSK etc. I’m looking forward to being a part of these projects. I would like to use my academic knowledge and skills acquired at university and put these into practice in a ‘real-world situation’. I enjoy the process of reviewing the scientific literature and analysing data and turning it into meaningful and useful information in a way to bring better health or develop a product or communicate scientific understandings.” Farya received her master's degree in Wageningen and noticed many Wageningen University alumni on the team page of the website. “I also noticed the different expertise of the team members and the fact that they have worked for Pallas for a longer period. That speaks for the company environment and job satisfaction.”

The new junior researchers started with systematic literature reviews on infectious diseases and medical treatment. Petra was fascinated by the diversity of publications on interesting topics that have been conducted by Pallas in the past, such as the HTA scoping report on “Statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular events and mortality in Switzerland”. Besides literature reviews, Petra would be excited about projects involving data-analysis in the future. Farya was impressed by the large nutritional literature reviews done in the past. “Two systematic literature review projects caught my attention 1) updating the dietary reference values for vitamin and minerals for EFSA, 2) the health effects of breastfeeding for RIVM. Why? Because I have previously read these two documents at university and previous work before I knew about Pallas. Both have been very extensively conducted and useful to provide nutritional guidance backed by scientific evidence.”

First week at work
Usually the first week at a new job involves lots of shaking hands and small talk at the coffee machine. However since March last year, all Pallas colleagues have been working completely from home. Therefore Petra and Farya received a digital tour from Office Manager Marleen and went to work with their projects. The start was a bit unconventional but it didn't make them less welcome. Farya even said her first week was fantastic and left a great impression. “Without wasting time and reading long paperwork, I dived straight into the project from the first hour. This has been greatly productive. I have had more time to enjoy sports and focus on other activities. I do miss seeing colleagues and having lunch together. But in the first week, I tried to have a one to one informal chat with many colleagues to get to know them more. I think I know a lot more about their interests and personality than if I was working at the premises. It is unfortunate we have to work from home and can’t see each other. I enjoy organising social events at work. I hope to do so in the near future.”

Petra also enjoyed getting to know her colleagues during small informal chats and during digital introductions, while starting on her first project. During a software crash which she experienced right away on her first day at work, she was very grateful for the helpfulness of her colleagues: “Thanks to some precious advice of one of my new colleagues I now know how to prevent data loss. Now I am prepared for all the future projects to come.”

Welcome Petra and Farya!

Petra Köbrunner was born in Munich, Germany. She studied Nutrition and Dietetics in The Hague, the Netherlands, after which she gained some working experience in the food industry, followed by a master’s degree in Nutritional Sciences in Giessen, Germany. In her free time, Petra loves to surf and had also volunteered as a lifeguard at the KNRM (the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution) for a couple of years. She likes to combine surfing with travelling, getting to know other cultures and picking up new languages. If there are no waves Petra loves to be outdoors doing Calisthenics or going for a hike.

Farya Mubarik was born in Karachi, Pakistan.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom. Previously, she has worked in the food manufacturing industry in the Netherlands. Later, she received a master’s degree in Nutrition and Health from Wageningen University. She is a keen runner and is learning an Indian folk dance called “bhangra” from an Indian dancer at home. It is a great way to work out and have fun at the same time. Farya likes to be involved with charities like WWF and raised environmental awareness. She also developed educational material related to nutrition and health for migrant and refugee women. Her ultimate ambition is to make a positive impact in people’s life by promoting good nutrition.


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