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!
Chris Longmore - Scientific Account Manager
My introduction to life sciences began with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Liverpool, followed by a Master’s degree from the same institution. During this time, I also completed a research internship at the Faculty of Medicine in Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
In my first year as a graduate, I worked as a market research consultant in the science and technology sectors, allowing me to work with a number of companies hoping to develop exciting projects. Through this I met XCellR8, where the commitment and mission of the company enthused me to not only return to a role in the laboratory, but join them in developing an exciting new range of in vitro tests.
Having spent several years working as a scientist, I was promoted to Scientific Account Manager in 2019. I now use the experience I gained in the the lab to advise clients on how to develop their animal-free testing strategies and explain how our technologies work.
Away from the lab I can be found telling awful jokes or making a mess with paint and brushes. Despite living in Liverpool for a number of years, I remain behind enemy lines as a staunch supporter of Chelsea FC.
Ana Quevedo - Technical Sales Manager
I joined XCellR8 in November 2020, after a decade spent in technical sales for the pharma and personal care industries in Latin America and contract research organisations for the cosmetic and personal care sector in Europe (mainly Spain, Germany, France and Switzerland). Over the last 5 years, I have developed a keen interest in cosmetics formulation, testing methods and sustainable beauty, which helps when I am partnering with clients to help them develop their safety and efficacy testing strategies. As a biologist, I always like to keep up to date with innovative scientific research.
I speak both Spanish and English, and have wide experience of the regulatory environment in western Europe as well as South America for organisations bringing new or reformulated cosmetic ingredients and products to market
I like to learn about new topics, trends and new scientific research approaches. This is why I identified with XCellR8’s innovative R&D programme so much. I am excited about a future when conventional in vitro test methods are entirely free of animal derivatives.
In my spare time, I like hiking and biking in the countryside, spending Sunday mornings reading, watching comedy movies and baking. In the summer, I love spending beach time with my husband and daughter.
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
Sam Thistleton - Marketing Manager
The early part of my career was spent in the fine chemicals sector following a BSc. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Synthetic Organofluorine Chemistry from the University of Birmingham. I worked as a research chemist for almost 4 years before leaving to establish a network for Fluorine chemists ‘Fluorum’, alongside some of the great names in the discipline.
Fluorum was my first real foray into marketing. It was a membership organisation run the Crystal Faraday Partnership which later became part of the Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network (CIKTN), now called Innovate UK! I found that I really enjoyed using my network to promote the events that we were hosting, building alliances with the Royal Society of Chemistry and working on articles and newsletters with and for our members. I had found my passion – marketing! As the Fluorum network transitioned to CIKTN I went to work for Chemicals Northwest (now run by the Chemical Industries’ Association) to support the work of the North West chemical industry.
After 4 years working the publicly-funded sector I really wanted to take my new skills and energy back into the corporate world and spent the next 11 years leading the global marketing activity for the personal care division of Innospec.
I am a self-confessed geek. The highlight of my week is watching University Challenge where I’m glad if I can even understand the questions let alone know any answers. Best week to date is 8 correct in one show! I also love music (especially live gigs), skiing and cooking (it’s a lot like chemistry).
Minty Hand - Marketing Executive
Since I was younger I’ve always wanted to learn more about the world, the people in it and how we affect it. This led me to studying French and Chinese at the University of Manchester.
During my time at Uni, I was lucky enough to study in Hangzhou to develop my language skills and experience China’s ever-changing culture and fast paced way of life. Graduating in a pandemic definitely wasn’t easy but it gave me the time to think about what I wanted to achieve in the next chapter of my life: To use my communication skills to help bring about positive change in the world.
XCellR8 has given me that opportunity and more. I’m lucky enough to work with like-minded people, listening, learning and laughing all the way!
When I’m not on a teams call or tapping away on my laptop, you’ll find me chilling with my friends, watering my tomato plants, or playing sudoku (I’m obsessed).
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 Ahtasham Raza - Senior Scientist
I was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Material Science and Tissue Engineering in 2015 and a Master of Research degree in Biomedicine in 2012, both from The University of Sheffield. Through my work in academia I was able to play a leading role in EPSRC and BBSRC research on biological activity of novel metal complexes. In the last 4 years I have moved industry and had the opportunity to gain experience in toxicology – with a focus on new alternative in vitro methods.
I joined XcellR8 in 2021 because it is world-renowned CRO. The company continues to challenge the status quo by providing solutions through animal-free in vitro methods. I admired the passion of XCellR8’s CEO (Dr Carol Treasure) towards ending animal cruelty and her commitment towards science.
In my spare time, I love to spend time with my family. I also enjoy cricket and reading on politics, history and theology.
Jordan Flitcroft - Scientist II
My inherent curiosity and thirst for knowledge initially led me to fall in love with science. However, it was my BSc in Biomedical Sciences at Newcastle University that cemented my fascination with the complex pathways underlying the human body and disease. I followed this with an MRes in Cancer focusing on the epigenetic causes of hepatocellular carcinoma, which gave me the practical experience of in vitro methods applied in studying human disease.
From university, I joined the Bioassay team at AstraZeneca, where I headed up the cell culture suite before going on to more R&D work developing bioanalytical tests for immunotherapeutic products and gaining a firm understanding of the statistical methods used in developing robust assays. Taking this knowledge, I moved onto an academic role in the Physics Department of the University of Cambridge, where I focused on developing a novel screening tool for the early detection of renal cell carcinoma.
XCellR8’s vision and attitude initially drew me to their company, where I learned about the sound moral and scientific reasons behind animal-free testing. When I came across an open position, I did not hesitate to apply and can safely say it was the right decision for me. I can use my knowledge and experience to some ground-breaking work in a fantastic team while learning more about my passion for cosmetics.
Outside of work, my passions include running, keeping fit, make-up and skincare. I also love reading, particularly fantasy, or watching films.
Josh Fredson - Scientist I
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.
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!
Sally-Anne Conway - Laboratory Technician
I have had an interest in all things science from a young age, which lead to me completing a bachelor’s degree in biology. Along with life sciences I also have a passion for the world of cosmetics and skincare; this opened my eyes to the importance of ethical animal-free testing
techniques being readily available.
My position as Lab Technician allows me to play an important role in supporting the scientists and activities here at XCellR8. I get to be involved in both the operational and scientific side of life in the lab, where every day is different and exciting. I am proud to say that I work at a pioneering company, where everybody is striving towards the same goal of making animal-free testing the global standard.
When I’m not in the lab you’ll find me at home, researching the latest skincare and makeup tricks, spending time with my family and friends, and picking up a paintbrush every now and again.
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).
Eileen Edwards - Laboratory Assistant
I have 30 years’ experience of working in science laboratories. My first role was with Golden Wonder as a Laboratory Technician and I then went on to work for Jeyes as a Research and Development technician. I wanted to work closer to home, so I moved to a High School in Widnes as a Senior Science Technician where I stayed for 14 years.
This is where I found my love of teaching. I started to teach forensic science in both the high school and with seven of our feeder primary schools. This led me to start up my own business in 2014 delivering curriculum science, forensic science and fun science, to a number of primary schools within the North West. I received the Gratnells ‘Technician of the year’ award in 2011.
At XCellR8 I work as a Laboratory Assistant, supporting the scientific team by keeping the laboratory organised and helping with the administrative and clerical work associated with our work. I love the ethos of the company and feel very privileged to be part of this fast moving and exciting environment. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and my two cats. I also enjoy travelling and walking.
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!).