To better understand how BioAgilytix is able to deliver premier bioanalytical services, it is important to get to know the people behind our science. In this Q&A session, we talk with Eric Nesbit, Bioanalytical Project Manager/Scientist III at BioAgilytix, to learn more about his scientific background, what led him to leave Maine for our headquarters in North Carolina, and the real-world impacts that inspire him (and now his sister) to provide collaborative solutions to support the next generation of large molecule drugs.
Tell us a little about your background and beginnings of your scientific career.
I’m originally from Midcoast Maine. I attended Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania to obtain my BSc in Biology before coming back to the area to get my Master of Science degree at University of Southern Maine. I worked in immunoassay development and test kit manufacturing for almost 10 years. Throughout that period of my career, I became a Manufacturing Manager, which included responsibilities like production scheduling, troubleshooting assays, regularly interfacing with customers, and communicating their needs with the research development department and production team.
During that time, my company was involved in helping to address the 2008 milk crisis in China. This scandal involved infant formula being adulterated with the compound melamine, which was responsible for a plethora of infant hospitalizations and deaths due to kidney-related damage and malnutrition. In my position, we were able to deliver some of the first test kits for detection of melamine in infant formula. When I saw how the test kits were able to help save lives in China, I was inspired and knew I wanted to spend my career doing impactful work like that.
What drove you to consider BioAgilytix as a potential career path?
I first heard about BioAgilytix through my graduate school advisor. That led me to research more about the CRO, and I felt the company could be a great fit for me. Aside from seeing that BioAgilytix had a really talented and experienced team, I knew that it would be a great place to further expand my skills in assay development and validation. BioAgilytix works on a diverse range of large molecule projects, and the thought of being involved in the development of drugs that could really change peoples’ lives made me want to make the move.
What is your current role, and how has it evolved since joining the team?
I’ve been at BioAgilytix for just over two years now, and today I am a Bioanalytical Project Manager / Scientist III. I started as a Scientist, which primarily involved working in the lab to tackle challenging assay development and validation in anti-drug antibodies (ADAs), pharmacokinetics (PK), and biomarkers. But my role quickly expanded to include project management responsibilities and interfacing directly with clients – since I had experience in this from my previous company, it was a natural evolution. Now, as a BPM, I work closely with my team members to ensure successful on time execution of multiple projects at a time.
What do you enjoy most about working in the bioanalytical field, and how are you able to see the impact of the work you do on a larger scale?
As our teams work on so many different drug development projects and at various stages of development, we are in a unique position to have a direct impact on getting therapies to market that can help patients in need. It’s really exciting because I get to see what’s on the cutting edge of pharmaceutical research.
We know that you recruited your sister to BioAgilytix as well. Can you tell us a little more about that story?
My sister and I have always been close, and we have worked in very similar scientific fields. When I was telling her about my positive experience with BioAgilytix and all the opportunities for growth, she became very interested in learning more about the company and becoming a part of it. She relocated to the RTP area and has been here for about 10 weeks now. It’s nice to be able to have lunch with her and share ideas regarding the important work we are doing. It’s also great that our dogs, who are best friends and from the same litter, can spend more time with each other! I know I speak for both us when I say we are deeply thankful to our parents for instilling a strong work ethic and passion for learning in us—it’s brought us together to where we are today.
How would you describe BioAgilytix’s company culture?
The team members at BioAgilytix are extremely motivated, and they take pride in their work. While the company is growing, it has maintained its feeling as a smaller company in that everyone is very collaborative. We’re always bouncing ideas off of each other; it’s very much an ‘open door’ environment. It’s helpful to have so many talented and diverse scientists at hand because it provides a multitude of experts and skillsets to consult in a number of bioanalytical areas.
I think this strong team dynamic has a lot to do with the team-building activities the company hosts, such as a monthly social hour and sports clubs/teams. It’s nice to see that the people are very motivated and work hard, but that they also understand the importance of balancing work with a little fun. It creates a strong and productive work dynamic.
What is your favorite thing, personally, about working at BioAgilytix?
For me, my favorite thing about working at BioAgilytix is the people—hands down. The work we do can be extremely challenging at times, and it’s great to be in an environment where we can reach out to other scientists and experts in the company and collaborate to come up with a solution. The work we do here also really impacts patients’ lives, and the team members make that possible. BioAgilytix has done a great job of bringing motivated and high-quality people, from diverse scientific and cultural backgrounds, together to do an important job. I feel lucky to be a part of it all.
Want to hear from other BioAgilytix team members? You can find other Q&A sessions from our employees here.