Our lab team is vital to our success and one of the key components of that team are our scientist IIs. I caught up with Hannah Goldsby to discover what it takes to excel as a scientist II in an animal-free testing lab…

Tell us about a typical day as a scientist II 

It really changes from day to day. Some days you can spend your whole day in the lab conducting a range of assays, some days you might be in the office a lot, and then others you’ll be switching between the office and the lab – it’s a real mix! 

Getting into the specifics of my every day, there can be a lot of research. Recently I’ve been working on the Acute Toxicity project. The acute toxicity project began thanks to being awarded an amazing 70% of funding through Innovate UK, Animal Aid donating another 51k funding – an amazing contribution towards the final 30% needed for acute toxicity project. We’ve made great progress in overcoming the scientific challenges of developing a validated test suitable to replace animal models. Working on this project means sometimes I’ll be preparing presentations with my findings, to share both internally and externally to help progress the project. 

I’ll also spend time sourcing cells, chemicals, and reagents to develop and improve the tests that we do. 

The other scientists II’s and I work together to schedule the workload in the lab and ensure documentation is done on time for clients. We also work on process improvements and train scientist I’s on certain assays – this is one of my fav things to do as you’re in the lab with the tunes going, pipetting the day away. 

As you can see, generally my days are very mixed – and that’s how I like it! 

What are the challenges a scientist II might face? 

I’d probably say the biggest challenge for me is the increase in responsibility and autonomy with your work. It’s vital to be good at time management, as your job is fragmented into a lot of different sections, so you need to make sure you can complete all your different tasks as efficiently as possible. 

As the primary scientist on the acute toxicity project, I need to present to the team and progress to presenting to clients which is a new experience for me. But I think it’s all about having opportunities to develop your confidence in yourself and your scientific capabilities. 

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

The team. I really enjoy working as part of the XCellR8 team. We all have our own projects going on and then we come together and support each other, everyone’s using their own skills and to get the best possible result. All our individual work comes together to achieve an overarching, shared goal. 

Why did you choose a career as a scientist?  

I was good at science in school and always found it really interesting understanding how things work. After some less than stunning physics results, I decided to study Biochemistry and Cancer at university. I sort of fell into toxicology after I graduated and realised it really fit my skillset while keeping me interested due to the diverse range of experimental skills needed. As a vegan, when I found XCellR8, I was so excited to be able to combine my two interests: animal-free testing AND toxicology, I leapt at the opportunity! 

What do you do to unwind after work? 

Most of the time, I’ll be playing with my cat Hector and my four guinea pigs: Tofu, Shrooms, Cookie and Fudge (see pics – how cute are they?!). I’m also an excellent-mediocre climber – I have loads of knowledge but none of the strength… And I can’t forget chief taste tester for my boyfriend’s vegan bakery business: Radical Bakes – check it out!

Want to find out more about what other members of the team are doing? Read a day in the life of a Scientific Account Manager.