Meet the team

XCellR8 is currently a team of 9 dedicated scientists and support staff, with a shared mission to replace animal testing.

Carol

Co-Founder / Managing Director

I started my career in the pharmaceutical industry and then backpacked around the world for about a year, including a 3-month expedition to Zimbabwe with Operation Raleigh. I still believe that travel is the best education! After that I was ready for Uni and studied Physiology & Pharmacology at Sheffield. Having witnessed animal testing I knew that there had to be a better way – not just ethically, but scientifically too. So when I got the opportunity to do a PhD at FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) at the University of Nottingham, I jumped at the chance. My academic career involved the development of reconstructed human skin models for non-animal testing. I then spent 7 years with a small US-based company called Cascade Biologics. This role gave me the wonderful opportunity to live and work in Portland, Oregon for a couple of years. We provided human cell culture systems to scientists all over the world. I set up and ran the European operation from 2003-2007, which provided very valuable commercial experience. I co-founded XCELLR8 with Bushra in 2008. My role as the Managing Director spans both the scientific and commercial aspects of the company and provides an exciting and diverse job which I am very passionate about. In 2013, I finally settled down and got married! I live in the beautiful Cheshire countryside with my husband Russell and our menagerie of pets! I love the “country life” and still love to travel and pursue my love of photography. In my spare time I teach meditation and mindfulness, and enjoy a variety of activities including swimming, cycling, running and yoga.

Bushra

Co-Founder / Technical Director

Having over 20 years’ experience in cell culture, I started at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, London, researching osteoblast (bone cell) characterisation and differentiation. I later moved to the University of Nottingham where I was involved with establishing the cell culture laboratory for the Biomaterials Group within the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Seeking fresh challenges, I left academia in 2003 and stepped into industry where I spent 4 years at Cascade Biologics (Mansfield, UK). It was a diverse role which included culturing a wide range of human primary cell types and providing technical support to customers across Europe.

Even more exciting and challenging now is being part of XCELLR8. My role is mainly laboratory based – which involves performing GLP regulatory and non-GLP contract studies to evaluate skin and eye irritation and corrosion, using reconstructed human tissue models, and cytotoxicity using human primary cells for cosmetic products and ingredients.

Outside work I enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities including rock climbing, abseiling, hiking as well as adventure travel – not to mention fitness work using the urban rebounder, better than the gym!

Nathalie

Study Director

Holding a PhD in Medical Biology, I have been directly involved in setting up a spin-off from a Belgian university. Over more than 15 years I have acquired a significant expertise in cell culture and in vitro testing as well as knowledge of the cosmetic/personal healthcare sector.

When I met Carol in 2013, I knew the job was for me! Since then, I have been XCELLR8’s Study Director for both GLP and non GLP studies and manage the development of new tests in the laboratory. I really enjoy the improvement of new methods avoiding the use of animals! The team is great, dynamic and dedicated to ensuring that our studies meet the highest quality standards.

In my spare time, apart from walking and cooking for my family and friends, I really like to travel. I’m curious about new people, the way they live… And several years ago, I passed my exams to be a boat captain! During the summer months, with my husband and son, we navigate on the river, exploring to find new beautiful places.

Ian

Office Manager

With most of my career spent in the telecommunications industry, I have spent the last few years in the life science sector. My role concentrates on supporting the operations side of the business. I am pleased to be part of the XCELLR8 team who have such passion and dedication to their work, which I share!

As Office Manager and prime support to the team, my role is to support the company infrastructure, ensuring everything is needed and catered for on a day to day basis, keeping the business operating as successfully and efficiently as possible.

Time away from the office is spent with my family and travelling in my much loved VW Camper ‘Rosy'.

Clare

Chairman

I first met Carol in 2009, and over a life changing cup of coffee, immediately saw her passion to provide a viable industry alternative to animal testing. It is a pleasure to support such a vibrant business with my commercial & financial experience, as it grows through the application of the team’s scientific & regulatory expertise. I am equally passionate about people development and provide coaching and mentoring to the Directors.

Away from the office my focus is family & friends, with any downtime spent donning my running shoes and heading off for a few kilometres in the tranquillity of a nearby national trust park.