What does life as a lab technician look like? Lucy, our QC Lab Technician, shines a light on this matter as she takes us through a typical day in and out of the lab…

Lucy Rowley in Genesis Biosciences lab

Once I arrive to work and settle in, the first thing I do is general checks of the lab to ensure everything is in working order ready for the day ahead. This includes temperature checks on the incubators and calibrations of the pH meter, pipettes and scales.

The main part of my role is to undertake the QC checks for each batch of products we make. Our manufacturers send us a small sample from every batch they blend and I undertake checks according to the QC specification including visual, fragrance and pH checks as well as Bacillus counts for our microbial products. I also check for gram negatives to ensure there is no contamination before releasing the product for sale.

Another part of my role is to prepare samples for customers as and when requested by the sales team. This will involve blending the formulation here in our lab if we don’t hold the product in stock, producing labels, shipping documentation and scheduling the shipment with our couriers.

An additional core element of my position is to follow the study plan of ongoing stabilities we have running and carry out Bacillus counts at the required time points. The sort of products we have on stability may be customer samples where they have utilised our bacteria in their own formulations, new formulations of our own or raw material studies to check our Bacillus survive in new preservatives and surfactant combinations.

Not everything involves lab work, there is of course some paperwork involved including issuing QC releases, producing certificates of analysis as well as maintaining internal records such as the QC log.

QC Lab Technician performing general checks at Genesis Biosciences UK

Lucy Rowley working in Genesis Biosciences lab

I have been fortunate to have some involvement in the R&D side in recent months and had the opportunity to undertake the various efficacy tests we carry out on a new product that is in development. To be involved in producing the data for a new product that will be sold to businesses across the globe has been a real privilege and probably one of the things I’ve been most proud of in my time at Genesis so far.

Whilst we all have our individual roles, it’s important to have good levels of communication with the other staff in the lab in order to make sure we aren’t planning on using equipment at the same time and also to ensure we have enough media and reagents to cover our requirements.

Every Monday, we have our technical meeting which involves all of the tech team including myself, the R&D Scientists and Technical managers where we discuss requirements for the week, what each of us has on and helps set the priorities for each of us for the week ahead. In doing this, we ensure we each have an understanding of where everyone is at with their projects which means we can work as a team to get tasks completed should anyone need any assistance.

The person I work most closely with would be Debbie Williams, our Group Compliance Officer who oversees QC and various aspects of the lab. Through my recent work on the new product validation project, I also got to work alongside Dr. Phil Caunt from whom I learned a lot when understanding the process and study plan for the project. I also get to work with the commercial side as I handle the customer sample requests, whether this is with the sales team directly to check contact information or get clarification on what they need, or with our Commercial Support Assistant to arrange shipments.

Tech meeting at Genesis Biosciences UK

The last tasks of the day involve cleaning down the lab and sterilising any equipment that requires it ready for use the next day. There’s nothing worse than walking into a messy lab in the morning, so I like to ensure everything is put away, ready to start all over again the following day.

Genesis Biosciences UK Lab Coats

Outside of work a big passion of mine is bird ringing and bird watching. I have been doing this for a few years with the Gower ringing group as a trainee and recently gained my license to ring pied flycatcher chicks unassisted. Another outdoor activity I enjoy is horse riding, a hobby I have been able to get back into over the past year with one of my colleagues.

As part of my interest in avian ecology and following on from my academic background, I have recently published a scientific paper in Ringing & Migration, which is a journal of the British Trust for Ornithology. This is one of my greatest achievements and the full article can be found here.

Lucy Rowley using binoculars
Lucy Rowley holding an animal
Lucy Rowley riding a horse

Thanks to Lucy for sharing her day-to-day life at Genesis Biosciences! Life in and out of the lab does not fall short of being multi-faceted, diverse and certainly compelling. Being a QC Lab Technician requires structure, adaptability and an open mind – qualities which Lucy naturally possesses as well as a kind, curious and inquisitive nature, proven by her activities outside the lab.

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