"Life science experimentation is what drives me," says Kathleen Coddens, who joined Antleron almost one year ago after a career of more than two decades. "I help to implement a more sophisticated experimental protocol. On a daily basis, I enjoy making experimental plans, doing the experiments and processing the results." Kathleen Coddens has a master degree in bio-engineering and additionally acquired a certificate program in cellular biotechnology. Her R&D work serves diverse experiments for both commercial and funded research projects, including the development of personalized advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMP).
A variety in life science experimentation
"A great variety in life science experiments attracts me," says Kathleen. "We have multiple variants of cell cultures on customized biomaterials, which I regularly compare and investigate. Such materials are beneficial in scaling cell growth and enabling transformation towards a specific tissue. Cells are also cultivated in bioreactors designed and developed by Antleron. My experiments, in which I investigate cell conditions and concentrations over time, provide insights for further optimizing bioreactor quality and efficiency."
Antleron commercializes its Cell by Design® (CbD) software and BioScout® service offerings. ATMPs introduce highly effective treatments for various diseases and injuries. CbD allowsfor a quality-focused ATMP development process by executing risk-based process assessments. "My experiments help resolve specific challenges currently faced in the development and manufacturing of novel ATMPs. I also contribute to BioScout® by executing custom cell culture based biofunctionality screenings in applications from biomaterial to medical device."
"Working in young, vibrant atmosphere is a privilege," says Kathleen. "I feel that my efforts are valued and that I have the freedom to learn new things in specific domains. What I like most is that I am involved in the entire process, from the experimental definition up to result processing, from which conclusions and next steps are deducted. Recently, we moved our laboratory facilities in order to double our capacity. After almost one year as part of Antleron's dynamic team, I feel happy, fulfilled and motivated."
Enjoying a healthy work-life balance
"A healthy work-life balance is important for me. As I work 80% of a full-time schedule and commute by bicycle, there is sufficient time left for my family and my hobbies. It is fun to spend time with my three teenager children. I study Spanish, which comes in handy when traveling to South-America. Countries on my travel bucket list are Madagascar and Vietnam. To stay fit and happy, I run and swim with friends. I also enjoy gardening and reading books.
After Kathleen had completed her studies, she started working for Innogenetics in Zwijndrecht. By the time the company moved to Ghent, Kathleen transferred to the KU Leuven Gasthuisberg campus. There she has successively worked in various biomedical sciences laboratories: Micro Array Facility (in collaboration with VIB), Lab of Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Institute. The last stop before joining Antleron was the microbiology laboratory of Terumo in Leuven. Kathleen was up for a new challenge, and found ample exciting project opportunities at Antleron.