Week 41 – Keeping the Momentum Going!
Hope everyone is doing well and is safe and healthy. This was a short week for the team at BioSurfaces with the Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples' Day holiday, depending on who you ask. For me personally, I would rather celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day. We were provided an image by our teachers in our younger years of Columbus, who was described as a nice man who peacefully went around discovering new land. In reality, he was really a (how should I put this mildly) a not so nice man who killed, maimed or enslaved many Indigenous people that he encountered in his explorations. Celebrating the Indigenous People of our country is something that is long overdue and should replace Columbus Day. Sadly, many companies are getting rid of certain holidays in order to get more work from their workers. While this could be beneficial for the company on the spreadsheet, we believe that making sure the team has proper time to rest and regroup is very important and pays more dividends in the long-term.
Looking at my schedule on Monday, I thought the week was fairly open. This would have allowed me to tackle some business and lab-related items. I had only a few meetings scheduled so I thought I was in the clear. Then Tuesday morning hit. It started with a meeting with our engineering team. Tina and I meet with both the engineering and research teams, respectively, once a week. All meetings are virtual, which while not ideal, does allow us to share data/results easier while keeping everyone socially distant. I especially enjoy these individual team meetings since I get to update each group on what is going on at the business level as well as give a real time update from the opposite team that may affect the other’s future work. Each group then provides an overview of their progress and upcoming work. That helps me in my planning and allows me to support each group. This meeting led to two other meetings on targeted areas. I am not the type of person who wants to spend every point of my day in a meeting by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, meetings such as these really help to move the company forward.
A couple of this week’s meetings focused on college students who are either pursuing an advanced degree or undergraduate students (college seniors) conducting research. I enjoy these meetings because it is fun to give back. I like hearing the ideas about their specific research proposal, being able to help them formulate a plan and give them some bigger perspective about things that can happen downstream if the research is successful. I remember being in their shoes, but this generation is more advanced than I was. Still, there is no substitution for experience. One program is looking to make a new type of wound dressing (dermal dressing) from plants along with our electrospun materials. The other program is developing a new type of housing device that would hold our cell chamber that we are developing with Takeda in order to allow the chamber to be delivered to a hospital prior to implantation. Two really different programs but both really cool.
We are continuing to make progress in our discussions with several companies. One thing that is great about our technology is the broadness of the applications. It makes going to work always interesting since you can be working on a medical device one day and then working on a diagnostic application like our cell culture plates the next day, sometimes even in the same day. Overall, these discussions if fruitful will lead to even more diverse programs and hopefully extension of some of the programs that we have been working on. All good stuff! The next several months could be interesting for the company. Hopefully, we will have more news to share. Stay tuned!
Don’t get me wrong. We will have our share of failures in these programs but we know that there will hopefully be some successes. This is research and it is expected. We will also face some head winds from things we cannot control that we’ll have to deal with. Nothing is guaranteed and there will be ups and downs.
Please continue to stay vigilant and keep social distancing, wear a mask where social distancing is not possible to protect yourself and those around you and frequently wash your hands. Doing the simple things gets us back to some sense of normal. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that masks and social distancing have a positive effect on controlling the virus. Please keep supporting your local businesses as they continue to work through these
challenging times. We continue to see many businesses that have been open for a long time now closing which really hits home. Many other businesses are nowhere near out of the woods yet and won’t be for a long time. If you can, grab some take-out or visit their outdoor seating for restaurants or get an online membership for a local gym. Every little bit helps! Americans are a tough, innovative bunch and we will get through this together!