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Week 42 – Getting That Look

Hope everyone is doing well and is safe and healthy. This week saw us welcome a new member to our team, Dr. Lisa Fitzgerald. Lisa is going to take over the daily operations of our research team. This will allow some of our team members to focus on several of our innovative programs. Lisa is the kind of person when you first meet her that you feel like you’ve known her forever. She is a warm, kind person that you cannot help enjoy working with. Lisa is an outstanding researcher who brings expertise in tissue culture, which will be an asset to the team already stretched in many directions.

Lisa and I have a long history of working together. I first met Lisa when I was working at Deaconess Hospital (now Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) over 20 years ago. Lisa was working for another research laboratory that needed some space to conduct their research. Lisa went onto complete her graduate degree at Boston University and when she was looking to conduct post-graduate research, we reconnected and she was hired by our group. After completing her post-graduate research, she continued her research career with her former laboratory. Several years later, Tina and I started BioSurfaces and were looking for an expert in tissue culture. We immediately thought of Lisa and brought her onboard. At that point, the company was predominantly funded through federal grants and contracts. We were fortunate to have her with us for almost five years. A significant decrease in grant funding lead us to part ways. Tina and I struggled with this decision. As you’ve heard me mention, our team is like family. This was one of the hardest, if not the hardest, decision we’ve had to make. Lisa went onto to run another research lab and we continued to keep things going. Life is cyclical though. We would catch up every so often over the past ten years and an opportunity to bring her back onto the team presented itself. We are excited that we were able to make it happen. The reason I am telling you this story is that you never know what life will present to you. Many people like to burn bridges and will never have the option to reconnect.

When people join our group, I like to provide them an overview of what we are doing as a company. This way, they know all of the ins and outs of the company. I will never understand the companies that operate with a “silo” mentality.

A “silo” in business is keeping all of the units separated so that one group doesn’t know what the others are working on. While we are a small team, we have a lot of different programs that we are working on. I am amazed myself when I go over all of the things we are doing. If I am amazed, then you can imagine the poor person I am providing this information to. At about half way through the presentation, no matter the person, I suddenly get this look that they are overwhelmed. After hearing the whole list, the person goes away likely thinking that they will never grasp everything. As I’ve seen time and again, they do get a good grasp of what we are doing in a short period of time and soon are leading the charge on certain programs.

We started to work on several new research programs as we are awaiting on some other programs to begin. While there is some frustration when things do not work, it is equally exciting to watch the team getting some really good results. I’ve been in that role before so I know that good feeling when you are looking at positive data. Just this week, I was working on electrospinning some new polymers and went through the same emotional rollercoaster they did. We are starting to move our cell culture insert program forward from both the research and manufacturing fronts. Some of the outside issues we were having are looking like they will resolve so all in all, things are progressing.

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. 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!



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