I first came across Ingenza during my PhD at the University of Strathclyde, where I was fortunate enough to work in the same research group as Ali Arnold – Head of Fermentation at Ingenza – and the company stayed on my radar from then on. After completing my PhD in 2016, I joined a company that specialises in manufacturing stem cell therapies and spent a year on its production team before moving to quality assurance. This was a very useful experience because it taught me the meaning of good manufacturing practices and production pipelines, however, the day-to-day rituals and work schedule became quite repetitive, and I was looking for a new challenge. When the opportunity came to join the Ingenza team in 2019, I took the plunge and have never looked back.
I am now a senior fermentation scientist overseeing a series of different projects and, more notably, am currently the fermentation lead on our Epidermicin project. Life at Ingenza is always exciting as each day is different from the last. We often work with various hosts for a range of applications, and it is interesting to see knowledge, principles and processes transfer from one stage of a project to the next. I have always had an interest in the practical applications of fermentation and, here at Ingenza, we are developing products that will eventually improve the quality of people’s lives – being a part of this story is the real driver for me.
We often work with various hosts for a range of applications, and it is interesting to see knowledge, principles and processes transfer from one stage of a project to the next.
Exciting times ahead
I began my career at a really crucial point for Ingenza, just after it had moved to the new Roslin Innovation Centre Campus. Even in the time since I have been here, the company has grown significantly and is constantly investing in new technology. For me, working on the Epidermicin project, in collaboration with Amprologix, epitomises the aims and values of Ingenza. We have taken a novel concept – antibiotic Epidermicin NI01 – and are developing a method to produce it at scale, while researching other potential new candidates for skin applications. We are now producing material for pre-clinical toxicology testing, in 20-litre reactors in our fermentation lab, which puts into perspective the scale of this project – it’s a very exciting time.
The puzzle makes the big picture
The community and work-life here are different from anywhere I have worked previously. Each day provides new and exciting challenges as I work on two, three or, maybe, four projects at a time, and this keeps me motivated. As a multidisciplinary team, we all have unique backgrounds and perspectives and tackle challenges from different angles, so that nothing is ever overlooked. This means that work is always engaging as we learn and bounce off one another, and there’s never a dull moment!
As a multidisciplinary team, we all have unique backgrounds and perspectives and tackle challenges from different angles, so that nothing is ever overlooked.
Clear communication between our varied departments creates a fluid, dynamic team and a more holistic view of the entire production process. Despite playing important individual roles, our departments often merge to share knowledge so that we are one big team with a common goal. It is exciting to follow a project from start to finish; from the construction in molecular biology to the analysis by the chemistry team, and onto the manufacturing of products. In my previous job, each stage of production was compartmentalised but here, because most of what we do is in house, it is as though everyone holds a piece of the puzzle and, at the end of a project, we all get to enjoy the puzzle coming together. Working at Ingenza has allowed me to combine my passion for real-world applications of fermentation and my background in production, and I am excited to see where we will go in the future.