In our most recent coffee chat, we caught up with Jo Kelsall, our new lead commercial scientist. Jo shared with us her unique career spanning the realms of science and law while also giving us the inside scoop on what life has been like so far at ImmuONE!
Can you tell us a little about your career journey before joining ImmuONE?
Before joining ImmuONE, my career journey was indeed unique and full of twists and turns! After completing my A levels, I found myself in the world of science while working for a global life sciences company as a cell culture technician, cultivating, and maintaining cells in a laboratory setting. This was really where my scientific journey began. However, after taking a break from this role to have a family, I embarked on a completely different path as I entered the world of law as a conveyancer. While the legal world provided valuable experiences and I quite enjoyed it, it wasn’t science and I missed working in cell culture. I therefore went back to university where I studied for a BSc. in Science through the Open University on a part-time basis. This was a huge challenge, but I love being busy and I really enjoyed it. I then went back working for the same life sciences company where I spent 13 years gaining vast experience from clinical pathology to business-related projects to being a senior study director for in vitro assays, microbiology and virology studies. However, like I said, cell culture is really my thing and so I am currently completing a part-time master’s in clinical microbiology and have just started out my journey as the lead commercial scientist with ImmuONE. So, yes, life has been busy!
What motivated you to join ImmuONE?
My relationship with ImmuONE goes back three years. ImmuONE are currently working on a CRACK-IT project, specifically for the development of in vitro animal-free bioassays. They are working on this project as part of a consortium of which I was one of the subject matter experts for one of the developing assays. Through this I got to know and form a friendship with Victoria. Victoria knew I had experience in the space of pharmacology and inhalation and so when she said there was a job coming up working on the commercial aspect of ImmuONE’s testing methods, I knew I had to apply. In some ways, it felt like it was meant to be.
What specific aspects of ImmuONE resonated with you?
The culture! I believe that the people make a company. Everyone at ImmuONE is very passionate about the end goal, to develop human-relevant alveolar models that better represent human physiology. You can train people how to do things, that’s not a problem, but if you’ve got the wrong people, it’s just not going to work. There is a real team vibe at ImmuONE, so it is certainly the culture that resonated with me most.
How has your time been at ImmuONE so far?
It has been a whirlwind! When I started ImmuONE was in the process of transitioning to the new labs in Sycamore House, and so there was a lot of working in different labs on different days as the equipment was arriving. It’s like moving house! However, we got over that challenge by simply working together and helping each other out. At ImmuONE we all just muck in together and we get things done. It was chaotic, but in the best kind of way!
What does success look like to you at ImmuONE?
I think success to me at ImmuONE would be to have the lab working as seamlessly as possible. As the lead commercial scientist at ImmuONE I am trying to establish the commercial side of the company, so this involves standardising our tests to make sure that we can carry out testing more often and in a more routine manner. From my previous experience I know that for this to be possible the lab must run smoothly with all tests performed on a tight schedule. Of course, my main hope is that we can also continue to enjoy the work we are doing. I want the company to be a success and we’ll all get there together.