Tessa Rossi joined us recently as a GMP specialist to enhance our support to our life sciences clients. Our marketing team caught up with Tessa to learn about her role and how her strong passion for Microbiology drives the essential work she does.
What intrigued you about this science-based career and why you choose this path?
I have loved science, specifically biology, since my childhood years. This love and passion grew as I decided to pursue a degree with dual majors in genetics and microbiology. Since the first day of the microbiology course in my first year, I was simply mesmerised by how quickly microbes adapt and how these invisible beings are more numerous than anything else on planet Earth. I am just fascinated by the complexity of biology, by how something that we cannot even see can have such a significant role in every aspect of our lives, and how our understanding of these small organisms can allow us to change our world completely and ultimately save lives.
Tell us about your journey that led you to Bidvest Noonan.
After I completed my master’s degree I was fortunate to get an opportunity as a research scientist in a fast-growing medical device company in South Africa. In a brief period of time, I learned so much regarding the regulations governing the design and development of medical devices, the rigorous testing required for these products, and the requirements to ensure that quality products are delivered to patients. What really stood out to me in this role was how multi-faceted it was, with my daily tasks ranging from working with the design engineers to compiling regulatory documentation to manufacturing and testing the products. I became the lead research scientist and was able to work with a great group of fellow scientists to provide truly innovative solutions to our clients. It was truly such an interesting starting point and it awakened in me a very keen interest specifically in the life science industry.
After moving to Ireland, I started a position as a QC microbiologist at a biotechnology company. As the site was still very new at the time it was a very fast-paced environment that offered great learning opportunities and required constant adapting to the rapidly changing environment and daily testing requirements.
I was already aware of the significant role and presence that Bidvest Noonan has in the life science industry and have seen them in action at pharmaceutical sites. I was therefore very keenly interested in the innovative and high-quality services that they offer to their clients and I was really keen to see how the knowledge and experience I gained from my previous roles could add value to the business and contribute to this ever-changing field.
GMP Specialism is critical in the Life Sciences sector; Tell us about your role at Bidvest Noonan?
As a GMP Specialist, my daily activities range from compiling GMP training to doing site visits, to doing research on solutions to challenges that arise daily across the various sites that we are involved with. A crucial part of my role is to ensure that all our staff understand GMP principles and practices and are fully GMP compliant before they even start with any of their duties in GMP environments. This includes ensuring that our procedures, practices, and services are also in line with the most up-to-date regulatory guidelines and requirements. I am also involved with visiting various sites to fully understand their processes and procedures and to determine how we can optimise our contribution to providing the highest quality service delivery to our various clients accordingly. As the life science industry is constantly busy and changing, there are always challenging arising and I embrace the opportunity to research potential solutions to cleaning, GMP regulatory queries, and other service delivery challenges that allow us to offer scientifically sound, informed solutions and innovations to our clients.
The service that we provide is absolutely essential, and as such, I consider my role as an incredibly important one to ensure not only that our business is providing the best possible service, but to allow staff to understand the importance of their daily tasks and ultimately providing our clients with the certainty that they can trust us to make their product quality and safety our number one priority in every single task we undertake.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
What I enjoy most about my job is that I get to apply my knowledge about and passion for microbiology and GMP to real world, essential applications and practices every single day.
I love that I get to work with so many different facilities and people, learn from them, and also provide them with a different insight into what we do. One of the highlights so far has definitely been the development of the GMP training programme, but I can honestly say that I learn something daily and that it is great to work in a business with such diverse expertise and such a desire to be the best.
You seem to be really passionate about microbiology. How does it reflect on your role?
My passion for microbiology and my thorough understanding of GMP requirements allow me to offer unique insight into the services our company offers. I have a keen desire to always keep learning and to stay up to date with the latest developments in my field. I am therefore determined to constantly keep adapting training, procedures, and practices to the latest requirements and to provide clients with innovative approaches to optimise our service delivery that is supported by the latest technological and scientific developments, advancements, and data. My enthusiasm and ability to work in fast-paced, high-pressure environments will allow me to really make the most of this role.
It has been an unusual year for the Life Sciences sector. How has the pandemic impacted your team and what does the future look like in the sector?
Every single person has been affected by Covid-19 to some extent or another. It has certainly affected the life sciences sector very significantly – hospitals most of all. It has also affected other GMP environments that had to adapt to using fewer personnel, circulating personnel in a safe way, and most importantly increasing some safety measures to keep the virus out of these critical environments.
The majority of these measures have always been in place in GMP areas, but the current circumstances resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic have certainly highlighted the importance of these measures and have significantly increased the awareness of safety procedures. Within the life science industry, various companies had to rethink their personnel monitoring and control strategies to limit the spread of the virus. Gowning requirements had to be increased in some cases to ensure protection of the environment against the virus (e.g. the use of face masks in areas where it may not previously have been a requirement).
Personally, I believe that many of these measures will last well into the future, as it has almost forced improved safety and contamination control even more than what previous control measures may have done. It has also made personnel more aware of how their actions affect not only their own safety but also the safety of those around them and maintaining this awareness is definitely essential in the ongoing contamination control and safe execution of tasks in the life science industry.