As an R&D Scientist in our UK laboratory, Franziska Nagel is an expert in bacteria and their potential applications – her work in the lab is crucial to how we make our industry-leading products that tackle global challenges.
Fran’s relatively new to our team, but she’s already making strides in the lab and further progressing our genomics data for each of our Bacillus strains. As an R&D Scientist, her role is fundamental to the business and the addition of Fran to our team of scientists in the UK gives us further capacity to continue the development of eco-benign® solutions for a wide variety of industries.
We sat down with Fran to find out what her day looks like, why she loves her work, and what people might not know about being an R&D Scientist – take it away, Fran!
Some people probably wouldn’t know what your role involves – how would you explain it?
My role involves many different tasks, but in summary I spend most of the time further developing our knowledge of our Bacillus strains. This includes finding out how they like to be grown, what each strain can and cannot do and overall, what their potential applications may be. I do this using many different technologies, ranging from experiments in the laboratory to bioinformatics
Genesis was utilising in silico bioinformatics techniques to characterise the bacteria before I joined the company, so we already had good knowledge of the metabolic profiles of our strains and a wealth of safety data. A big part of my role when first joining was to compile all the information and actively maintain the bioinformatics pipeline moving forward. In doing so, we now have a full database of safety and efficacy information on our Bacillus strain library. We understand what secondary metabolite and extracellular enzymes our strains are able to produce in response to different environmental factors and food sources. We can also prove that our strains are safe to humans, animals and the environment as they do not contain any virulence factors, or antimicrobial resistance genes of concern.
As we work with living organisms, there’s a lot we know but there will always be a lot to learn so by mining the full genome sequence of each strain, we can get a full picture of their properties, capabilities and limitations.
What was it about Genesis Biosciences that made you want to work here?
Genesis applies the great potentials bacteria have to solve problems, which otherwise would be solved with harsh chemicals that are not sustainable. There is an entire world of microbiological wonders out there and Genesis captures them and utilises them in real-world applications. Being involved with a company actively looking for environmentally responsible solutions is in line with my personal ethos so it felt like a really good fit.
What’s one thing that drives you in your work?
There is always something fascinating to learn each day, be it small or big, which ultimately fuels my enthusiasm.
What’s the best thing about working as an R&D Scientist at Genesis Biosciences?
It’s actually quite a creative job in the sense that when new ideas are put forward, we’re generally up for testing them. With laboratory work, there are of course certain procedures that need to be followed and each project needs to be considered carefully on its technical and commercial merits but, Genesis is a very agile and innovative company. I really enjoy working for a company that is willing and able to take on different projects and explore new avenues of research in order to expand the use of bacteria in applications where chemicals have previously dominated.
What does your typical day include?
Generally, it includes a good mix of time in the lab and in the office, often intertwining running an experiment, evaluating data and diving into the depth of genomics. Although of course, sometimes one task can fill an entire day and priorities can change depending on what requests we have and their urgency.
What’s your personal philosophy, if you have one?
There are no failures, just results to learn from – quite an important one in the R&D sector!
What is one thing the general public might not know about your job?
When people picture scientists, they typically think of people in white coats in a lab but a lot of my time is also spent at the computer using software to analyse the genomics of our Bacillus strains or writing up reports from lab studies.
What’s next for you at Genesis?
I’m still relatively new to the business, so I am taking each day as it comes and enjoying the work I do. The things we work on are ever evolving so time will tell what the future has in store!
It takes a hardworking team to make our vision become a reality. Read a few more of our UK Staff Profiles:
To find out more about the work of Franziska and Genesis Biosciences, take our tour.
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