22 August 2022

Zoom-In on Champalimaud - 2nd Edition - Issue 8

Have you ever wondered what a surgeon’s secret talent might be, or what karaoke song a neuroscientist would choose?

Our Zoom-In series shows you a side of the Champalimaud Foundation’s community you have never seen before…

Zoom-In on Champalimaud - 2nd Edition - Ana Saraiva Ayash

Zoom-In on Champalimaud: Ana Saraiva Ayash

I'm best described as a Latin-Portuguese-Brit. Although I am Portuguese by blood, I was born in Lima, Peru and lived in Latin America (Peru and Mexico) for 15 years. I moved to Portugal to complete high school, and at age 18 embarked on a career in Neuroscience in London. After a 16-year stint in the UK, where I learned all things brain-related, I relocated "back" to Portugal with my husband and two kids in February this year to join CF and integrate the Strategic Research Development Team as a Grants Manager. I consider myself a citizen of nowhere and everywhere, and I'm always seeking to experience new things. 

Q. What do most people not know about you?

I am an amateur Genealogist. In the UK there’s a TV show called “Who do you think you are?” and I absolutely love it. I took inspiration from it and single-handedly managed to trace back my family roots to the late 1700s by looking through online parochial records. It is extremely time consuming but I really enjoy it. Sadly, I didn’t discover that I am an heir to some sort of fortune or that I have an exotic background, but I did discover that my grandmother got her birthday wrong her entire life (she is no longer here to know this).

Q. What is the #1 item on your bucket list?

Skydiving. Deep down I am an adventurous person and I like risk but I haven’t done enough of it. I have been wanting to go skydiving for years now…so I have agreed with a friend to do it this September. Wish me luck!

Q. What is your ultimate vacation destination?

This is a tough one. The most important thing when I travel is food. Food is the glue that holds us all together - you can immediately create a connection by talking about food. Two countries come to mind: Italy and Israel. I have travelled to Italy nine times now and every time I go there, I eat amazingly well. Israel is a magical place that everyone should go to at least once – it’s the tiniest country yet you go from beach, to vineyards, to desert within 150 km. When you are in Israel you feel the history behind it – it is hard to describe what that feeling is. Tel-Aviv especially is a vibrant, young, fun, chilled city with sun, beach, excellent markets and amazing food (make sure you try the roasted cauliflower!). Peru and Mexico are also culinary delights (although I am biased, having grown up there!). I want to go to South Korea next - Kimchi pancakes are the epitome of umami. 

Q. What pet would you like to have and what would you name it?

My husband and I have a running joke that one day we're going to get two dogs and call them Drum & Bass...perhaps one day! 

Zoom-In on Champalimaud - 2nd Edition - Ana Saraiva Ayash Zoom-In on Champalimaud - 2nd Edition - Ana Saraiva Ayash
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