Career mobility is important to any motivated employee, and BioAgilytix strives to foster an environment where our team members can continually grow within their role and within the company – not only upwards, but also into positions they come to find most suited to their unique skills and interests. In this Q&A session, we talk to Tatjana Ackermann, Quality Assurance Auditor, about her career path at BioAgilytix since starting in our European lab five years ago.
Tell us a little about your background and how you came to join BioAgilytix.
After receiving my Abitur in Germany, I successfully finished two years of training as a biological technical assistant. During that time, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of research projects, which was really beneficial to my overall experience since it exposed me to a diverse range of studies. Following that, I worked at a contract laboratory in Hamburg for two years as an analyst performing analytical tests. However, I did not feel challenged enough by that work, and I felt a strong desire to contribute more to my field in more ways that could help more people.
That was when a good friend of mine who worked at BioAgilytix reached out to me and suggested I apply for a job with the company, which was then IPM Biotech GmbH. Shortly after, I was offered a job as an analyst on Dr. Imke Müller’s team.
What is your current role, and how has it evolved since joining the team?
Today I am a Quality Assurance Auditor; however, the journey to my current role has been somewhat indirect. As I previously mentioned, when I first started at BioAgilytix, I was placed on Dr. Imke Müller’s team, which was very small in its inception. For some time, the team only consisted of myself, another analyst, and Dr. Müller before three other scientists joined our team, and I had the opportunity to train them. The team dynamic was great and I was able to gain a lot of experience in anti-drug antibody (ADA) and neutralizing antibody (NAb) projects. I loved working side by side with my team, and I learned a lot about cell culture since one of our biggest projects involved extensive work in that area.
My next career step was to work together with our Lab Manager at BioAgilytix’s European headquarters Gabi Schewe. I always very much enjoyed organization, and so I found lab management a natural fit for my talents. When a position opened up on the quality assurance (QA) team, I had proven my project management capabilities both in and out of the lab, and was offered the job.
I have now been on the QA team for almost two years and with BioAgilytix as a company for five years. It has been very exciting to gain a different perspective on my prior work in the lab in the role I have now. While I liked developing new assays and seeing the outcome of the assay performance, I also really enjoy the regulatory part of the work I get to do with the QA team now. I think having experience on both sides – in the lab and in QA work – makes it easier to interface between our scientific and quality groups, which is great for collaboration and for moving projects forward efficiently.
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?
I really enjoy applying my comprehensive experience to projects in ways that keep clients, scientists, and patients in mind. I work together with the analysts in the lab to help them continually improve quality and make processes easier, and I also collaborate with the Principal Investigators (PIs) leading our studies, so I get to see the hard work of our analysts pay off. I am constantly learning more about the results of a study, which is always very exciting since they allude to the potential real-world impact the drugs we’re working on can make. And, I get to see the direct impact of my work when we have audits or inspections with a good outcome. I stand fully behind our work, and feel that we are doing something important for people in the world – and that makes me very proud.
How would you describe BioAgilytix’s company culture?
The culture at BioAgilytix is very supportive, and it’s had a big impact on my own personal development. By working in different departments, I have been able to learn from many talented individuals with varying specialties, and it has improved my own skillset. The more we grow as an organization, the more new people I get to know, and it makes the campus diverse and exciting as well as expansive in available knowledge to tap. I think the main part of the culture of BioAgilytix is that different people with different expertise come together to share their knowledge and ideas in a collaborative setting that benefits patients in the long run.
What is your favorite thing, personally, about working at BioAgilytix?
Knowing I positively impact the lives of patients is the most rewarding aspect of my work with BioAgilytix. I was deeply moved when a patient recently came to BioAgilytix’s headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, to talk about her illness and how we helped her with a new treatment that we supported to market approval. It’s moments like those that make my work truly rewarding, and make me proud to be BioAgilytix team member.
Want to hear from other BioAgilytix team members? You can find other Q&A sessions from our employees here.