Q: What's the most interesting project you've worked on at IV?
Actually, I think the most interesting project I’ve worked on here at IV Lab is the one that I have worked on the least amount of time. The newest project here is an un-shelving of an older project, the Artificial Mosquito Diet 2.0.
Being a microbiologist, I didn’t think I would find working with mosquitoes particularly fascinating. However, mosquitoes are quite challenging in controlled experiments and present some interesting problems to troubleshoot. Further, they have fascinating gut microbiota. Since I am a microbiologist, I am determined to find a way to study the differences in the gut microflora of blood fed and artificially fed mosquitoes.
Q: How is working at IV different from previous work you've done in your field?
The working environment is truly multidisciplinary, and I say that having worked on multidisciplinary teams before. It is a very fast paced environment and I don’t have to beg, cheat, and steal (or publish scientific papers) to get research money. My job also requires me to be involved in many disciplines of biology (microbiology, zoology, parasitology, and multicellular creatures, oh my!).
Q: In what ways have you had an opportunity to grow new skills?
I am a microbiologist surrounded by engineers. I have been gently nudged into a position that gives me more responsibility than I have had prior to working here. My manager and team believe in me and my judgment and has given me a great opportunity to grow as a scientist and as a professional. I am challenged by my job and I learn something new every single day.
Q: Comment on the latitude we're given as employees to be creative thinkers/problem solvers.
One of the reasons I chose to leave academia and work at IV was the creative environment I saw here. At the Lab we are asked by our investors to be creative and use novel solutions to invent great technology and solve global problems. We are allowed to invest in high-risk technology development because we employ some of the brightest and creative minds in the fields of engineering and science. This enables the scientists who work at IV Lab to make big strides in record time and bring new technology to the market space.
Q: What three things do you do to help IV accomplish our mission of being the leader in the business of invention?
- I help engineers evaluate the biological aspects of their projects. This might mean advising on useful experiments, providing technical support and resources, or training engineers to work in the biology lab.
- I lead a weekly introduction to microbiology lunch time “course” for employees at the Lab.
- I work on inventions and support the product validation and development phases of other projects that have grown beyond the idea stage.
Q: How do you see IV's values play out on a regular basis?
At the Lab I see many people working toward solving global health problems. Each scientist or engineer that works on global health related projects demonstrates their passion for helping others by using their knowledge to inform inventiveness driven by a pioneering spirit. Patience is required as project ideas are born and take life (or don’t). I witness IV’s values every day and this is one reason I am excited to work here. I get the chance to work on projects with good, brilliant people every day.
Watching the people who work at the Lab, regardless of their area of expertise, is like watching an organism morph from each stage of the lifecycle.
Q: Which value do you need to embrace most in your job and why? Which value inspires you the most in your job and why?
Passion. I want the work I do in my life to be meaningful and I believe that requires passion. The pioneering spirit inspires me most in my job because in many ways pioneering spirit is stifled in academic research settings.
Q: Describe the opportunity to grow through interactions with other IV colleagues.
I expect to learn something from each interaction with my colleagues. So far, I’ve found that everyone here has something to share. It could be technical, informational, personal, or just about life in general.
Q: Highlight how you and your colleagues remain agile and embrace new challenges or investigations.
No two days are the same at IV. Watching the people who work at the Lab, regardless of their area of expertise, is like watching an organism morph from each stage of the lifecycle. It may be because the Lab has been growing at a rapid pace since it was opened. It may be because we are encouraged to go out and find as many awesome new projects as we can.
Q: Comment on the importance of ideas and how that belief plays out at IV.
Everything we do at the Lab is generated by ideas. We are always encouraged and encouraging people to share their ideas, to examine the patent space, to go out and find problems, and then propose solutions to fix them.