Meet the team
Dr Carol Treasure - Co-Founder & CEO
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 Sim - 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!
Ian Clarke - Administrator
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 administrator 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’.
Dr Louise Suleman - Project Manager
Dr Fiona Jacobs - Senior Scientist
I turned my lifelong curiosity in all things scientific into a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Sheffield. I followed this with a PhD which focussed on elucidating the biochemical activity of previously uncharacterised proteins involved in cancer. This not only gave me great experiences using in vitro investigative techniques but showed me, first-hand, how cell-culture provides relevant and robust models for human systems.
I then completed a post-doctoral research project at the University of Liverpool, where I used transcriptomics to identify druggable targets in rare ocular melanomas; this further developed my experimental cell-culture and data analysis expertise.
I joined XCellR8 in 2017, having been inspired by our ethos and 100% animal-product free approach. My role involves planning and supervision of both regulatory and non-regulatory studies, analysing data and interpreting this into information relevant to sponsors. I’m still invigorated by the team’s dedication to producing ethical, robust high-quality data day-in, day-out.
In my spare time I attend weekly Spanish language lessons with my husband. I also enjoy exploring the beautiful Cheshire countryside, especially visiting the many local ice-cream parlours.
Dr Jodie Ball - Senior Scientist
My passion for science was evident from an early age. I always enjoyed making potions and studying plants and insects in the garden as a child! My interest in science grew and resulted in a PhD in cancer biology from the University of Salford in 2012 where I investigated the cellular biochemical and experimental therapeutic effects of amino acid deprivation in paediatric cancer cell lines. Undertaking my PhD allowed me to gain scientific experience in several areas including analytical bioscience, molecular biology and in vitro cell techniques.
Over the past 11 years I have gained a wealth of experience in genetic toxicology and skin toxicology working as a scientist and study director at a contract research laboratory. During my time in this role, I led the implementation of skin sensitization services to GLP regulatory level and then went on to head this team.
I recently joined XCellR8 having been inspired by our mission to accelerate the worlds transition to 100% animal free testing. XCellR8’s drive and enthusiasm for redefining testing using cutting-edge solutions really attracted me to the company. I currently work as a senior scientist and study director at XCellR8 which involves overseeing and planning both regulatory and non-regulatory studies, data analysis and interpretation and communicating results to sponsors.
During my free time I enjoy going to the cinema, spending time outside in the garden and going on holidays to the Pembrokeshire coast.
Josh Fredson - Scientist II
It was a course at the City of Liverpool College that ignited my passion for biology and gave me a newfound interest in biochemistry, which I decided to pursue with an undergraduate degree at the University of Liverpool. My research involved looking at the role of pseudokinases in certain forms of leukaemia and allowed me to acquire many practical skills in cell culture and molecular biology, skills which I further developed throughout my master’s degree.
It was after a shopping trip to Lush that I first heard of XCellR8’s work. Realising how many non-animal testing methods are available, and how they are more reliable and valid relative to their animal equivalents, I was inspired to join the team and help contribute to our mission to end all animal testing.
As a scientist at XCellR8, my day to day activities involve testing a variety of chemicals using the animal-free assays that we offer. Since the assays are so varied and no two products are the same, each day is different and offers exciting challenges – one of the many reasons I enjoy working here so much.
In my spare time I stay active through boxing and weightlifting. I am also a keen guitar player who loves performing and listening to a wide range of genres.
Hannah Goldsby - Scientist II
Michael Connolly - Scientist I
I have always been interested in biology from a young age, which led to me a degree in Biological Sciences at Heriot Watt University. I soon found my true interests lay in the medical applications of biology, so I transferred to Manchester Metropolitan University to study Biomedical Sciences. Throughout my undergraduate degree I found myself gravitating towards the cellular aspects of the course which led to me undertake a final year project encompassing the effect of Simvastatin on Skeletal muscle cells. Following this I went on to complete a master’s degree at the University of Manchester, my research project was “The regulation of Pmp22 expression by RUNX1 and YAP/TEAD during blood cell emergence”. It was during this project that I got to fully experience practical skills such as cell culture.
During both my undergraduate and postgraduate projects, I began to understand how many animal products are used in every aspect of research, and always wondered if there was a better way. When I came across XCellR8’s work for animal free testing and their intent of pioneering animal free science, I knew they were the company for me.
As a computer systems validation officer, it is my role to validate all the complex computer systems used by the whole team to ensure we are working to good laboratory practice standard. I cannot wait to transition to a scientist role and become a valuable member of the lab team performing animal free assays.
Emily Rippon - Scientist I
Having a curious nature is what got me into science, wanting to know the what, the why and the how things work. This led me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Biology in Liverpool John Moores University. Fresh out of University, I went straight into the deep end of GLP/GDP by obtaining a job in Life Technologies. I worked to strict SOPs for the formulation and subsequent QC testing and analysis, of products for the forensic, food and pharmaceutical industries.
From there, I joined the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine where I spent 10 years assisting in the exploration of the genetic basis of insecticide resistance mechanisms, primarily in disease vectors from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. Past achievements include travelling to a partner laboratory in Africa, where I trained staff in a new procedure to detect knockdown resistance in Anopheles mosquitoes.
Today, I am pleased to say I am part of the XCellR8 team. XCellR8’s core values fall directly in line with my own core beliefs. I am delighted I am helping to make a big difference in the beauty industry, while preserving the beauty of animals. Combining this with pioneering science and working with extraordinary scientists, is a dream come true.
Outside of work, I love to spend time with family and friends and walking with my dog Arnie, who looks like a cross between a German Shepherd and a Sausage dog! I also have a little family of bunnies, who I love to see hopping and binkying around the garden. I may know some Spanish, but I am fluent in bunny body language!
Stephen North - Scientist I
I was previously a student at Edge Hill university Studying an undergraduate degree in Biology. Throughout my time at University, I gained large amounts of interest when learning about Cell Biology. I found the cell culture side of the modules to be the most enjoyable, making me wish to pursue a career in this area.
After finishing my degree, I went to work in a Cell & Viral department for a private research company as a Scientist I. Over the next year I developed my knowledge and skills in cell culture but wished to expand my knowledge more. I discovered the Scientist I role at XCellR8 and applied for the position.
As a scientist I at XcellR8, my day-day routine involves culturing cells and performing animal free assays. In my spare time, I like to relax by painting and playing tennis.
Jan Ball MSc MRQA - Quality Assurance Manager
When AstraZeneca in Cheshire announced a reduction in its R&D footprint, I took it as an opportunity for a career change. With over 20 years’ experience as a GLP QA Auditor in the pharmaceutical industry, and an MSc in Quality Management of Scientific Research and Development I was not expecting to find similar work locally.
When I saw an advert for a GLP QA role in the cosmetic testing, personal care and household cleaning industries I was naturally curious, and delighted to be invited for interview with Carol to hear about the service XCellR8 provides to these industries.
I left totally captivated by XCellR8, the passion to replace animal-based product testing and the cutting edge science being conducted to achieve this. I so wanted to contribute to this, and haven’t stopped smiling since Carol rang and offered me the position nearly six years ago!
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with family and friends, pottering in the garden, and embarrassing my teenage daughter by ‘mum dancing’ when we go to watch her favourite bands. I am also the original ‘crazy cat lady’ and have two Ragdoll cats (but there’s always room for more).
Thomas Hand - Senior Quality Assurance Officer
After having a love for the biological sciences instilled in me during high school (thanks Mr Davies!), I went on to a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Huddersfield. During my degree I spent a year working for Covance at their Harrogate site, learning the ropes of genetic toxicology and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP).
After completing my degree, I spent a further 6 years working to Good Clinical Practice (GCP) as a scientist for hVIVO in London, a company that pioneered the Human Viral Challenge Model (HVCM). I eventually made the switch to QA and spent a further 3 years at hVIVO, adding experience in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as Data Protection Officer to my GLP and GCP experience.
I joined XCellR8 in 2019 as QA Officer, wanting to be back to GLP, to play my part in achieving 100% animal-free testing and to grab the opportunity to join a close-knit team.
My spare time is spent with my wife and two children, when I am not cycling around the countryside or watching football, F1, rugby or any sport going on TV.
Strategic Advisory Board
Stuart Morris - Strategic Advisor (Finance)
I started my working life as a management accountant at the Aga Group before moving to an even larger PLC, Invensys, for three years across a number of group roles. In 1999 I moved to Capital Safety Group, the market leader in fall protection manufacture, where a few years later I became the youngest divisional finance director at 29, looking after the EMEA region.
In 2014 I decided to rethink my work life balance and work part time. After helping Dantec (a VC owned composite hose manufacturer) through a successful exit to a German trade buyer, I now work with a number of smaller SMEs to pass on my experience and help them raise funding and grow, while maintaining profitability.
I know a lot about cosmetics because I have a 13 year old daughter! I play golf and 5 a side football to stay fit and enjoy travelling particularly in the pursuit of wildlife spotting.
Juliet McCarthy - Strategic Advisor (HR)
I am a HR and OD professional, initially gaining my experience working with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. I worked alongside several senior leadership teams, supporting key projects around business transformation. I developed an excellent track record in facilitating organisational change, new team start up and coaching leaders to drive real improvements in business performance.
In 2013, I started my own company and since then have really enjoyed working with a wide variety of great people and companies, not least XCellR8. My focus is always on improving team effectiveness and keeping an organisation’s focus on what will add the most value. I demonstrate a relentless belief in the possible, great intuition about people and my high personal resilience and enthusiasm is often infectious.
When I’m not busy working, I am lucky to have a fabulous family and three gorgeous children who keep me very busy! Having grown up in the beautiful Peak District, I love the outdoors so will often drag them with me to get outside and explore our beautiful countryside.
Dr Terry McCann - Strategic Advisor (Technical)
I have more than 20 years’ business leadership experience, supporting business development & providing business consultancy services to small & large enterprises within the life science & drug discovery.
After a career in academia, in 1997 I joined the management team of a small scientific instrument company that was acquired by PerkinElmer in 1998. In various business leadership roles I managed annual sales of up to $40M, driving growth >20% p.a.
In 2004 my wife and I changed our careers and went travelling for 15 months. We volunteered on four wildlife conservation projects (in Nicaragua, Kenya, Brazil, and Mongolia) and travelled around each of these regions.
Since 2005 I have been fully occupied with TJM Consultancy, serving the needs of our diverse clients. I also contribute to scientific debate through journal and conference contributions, and since 2014 I have written the Lush Science Prize background paper, which supports the judging panel in identifying potential recipients of the prize.
I live up a mountain in southern Spain, with my wife, our dog, and her tortoise (who she’s known for a lot longer than she has me!).