Meet Emily Urban – Bulb’s Laboratory Specialist!
Tell me about your scientific background
"I went to the University of Essex, where I studied an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, before completing my master's degree in structural biology. Shortly after my master’s degree, I started working in a microbiology lab before moving on to a technician role in a GLP diagnostics lab. Here, I was testing blood samples for TB, and worked for 9 months on the COVID vaccine in conjunction with Oxford University and Public Health England.
After working in this lab for over a year, I was offered a research scientist position, where I stayed before coming to Bulb. I worked in my area of interest, structural biology/crystallography, using it to design and develop drugs for various pharmaceutical companies."
What was your typical day in a lab like?
"In my GLP diagnostics lab, the assay involved two days of work. Day one would include signing in blood samples, separating blood cells using magnetic particle processors and cell counting using flow cytometers, before dispensing into plates for the ELISpot test. Day two would involve washing of the plates and dying the spots to reveal the test results.
At my research scientist job, there tended not to be a ‘typical day’! Client requests and results from previous experiments dictated the work needed. But constants included using liquid handlers to dispense trays, checking trays for crystals, fishing these and freezing in liquid nitrogen, as well as checking results from synchrotron visits and structure building using computational biology/chemistry."
Did you use your lab/scientific knowledge in any other field before joining Bulb?
"I’ve been in a lab since university! No other field for me, this is the first time not working in a typical scientific role. Having worked in three labs in three different industries, has given me a real insight into the way labs should be laid out and run. I think being a scientist really has helped with the design process."
What do you like about your role at Bulb? What was the draw to this job?
"I’ve enjoyed so much of my time so far, but I’ve loved going to the sites the most. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting the clients, seeing the space, and watching the build process. As the newest member of the Science and Technology team, I’ve not yet seen one of my designs through to completion, but I am very excited for that.
The main draw for the job at Bulb was how different it was! I’ve never even considered this kind of job before and didn’t even know it existed before joining Bulb."