Isbelis Lopez is a KTP Associate at QuantuMDx. Here, she tells us more about her role.
When did you know you wanted to be a scientist and why?
Growing up in Venezuela my dad used to always tell me and my sisters that “education is the only way up”. The idea that the only way to progress in life is through a good education and then working hard has been ingrained in my brain from a very young age. Science was just a natural path to achieve this.
When did you start working at QuantuMDx?
I started working at here in April 2018 as a KTP Associate with Northumbria University.
The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses to innovate and grow, by
linking them with a university and a graduate to work on a specific project.
What does your role involve?
I think my role at QuantuMDx is ever changing. I started as a KTP associate working on new technologies for our device, dedicating all my time to conduct research in collaboration with the smarts materials group at Northumbria.
As time went by, I started to volunteer my help with other projects and getting more and more involved. My latest QuantuMDx adventure is venturing into the world of project management.
What excites you the most about your role at QuantuMDx?
Every day is different at QuantuMDx. We are constantly evolving and it’s never boring. My favourite thing about working here is the social impact of our work and that we are building something that could change and save lives.
What are the biggest challenges working at QuantuMDx/working in this field?
I think the biggest challenge is to have the resilience to build something from scratch.
What’s been your career highlight so far?
Passing my PhD viva last year and changing my title from Mrs to Dr on my energy bills.
What has been your favourite QuantuMDx moment?
I think my 30th birthday this year. I came into work thinking it would be a normal day, but everyone made a massive fuss over me. There were balloons, banners and so much cake. It reminded me that I am really lucky to work here.
Why is QuantuMDx such a great place to work?
The work environment and the people. Our office is very diverse and open minded. Everyone is lovely. My work colleagues are my friends and that just makes work so much easier, a lot less stressful and a lot more rewarding.
What are you looking forward to achieving with QuantuMDx over the coming year?
I want to become more and more involved in the development of our products, more responsibility and do more work (did I just say I want more work? Ha ha)
And what about over the coming years?
I would love to bring the device back to Latin America and personally place it in rural clinics and see how it improves communities, like the ones where I grow up.
Although there are more women than ever before working in STEM industries, they still make up only a quarter of all those employed in the sector. What advice would you give to young women and girls considering a career in science?
Don’t give up. It is hard to walk into a lecture room, meeting room or conference hall and be the only woman but if you give up then there will be none left. My lecturers used to address the class as “Gentlemen” even though I was there, and I was very much not a gentleman. That often made me feel out of place but instead of giving up I just said one day I will be in front of a group of scientists and call them “people, peers, fellow scientists” and not “Gentlemen”.
Who have been your role models in life and why?
Both my parents. My dad is very pragmatic and conscientious, but also is a massive softy. My mum is very caring and nurturing, always wants to take care of everyone else. I think that if I can be a person that they are both proud of then that is all I need.
If there was one prolific scientist, historical or present, that you’d like to work with, who would it be and why?
Jacinto Convit, he was a Venezuelan doctor who invented a vaccine to prevent leprosy. He was known worldwide for his accomplishments studying infectious diseases and his dedication to help the poor. I think he would definitely love the work we do and would join QuantuMDx in a heartbeat.
If you could have been the inventor of anything in the world, what would it be?
I would create bacteria that would turn all non-recyclable waste into compost. All bin bags would be lined with it and instead of bin collection, there would be compost collection. The compost would then be distributed over fields that used to be landfill sites to rehabilitate them.
As a scientist, what are your hopes for the future?
I really hope people would move pass prejudice and hate towards anyone that is different. I hope people could just appreciate that all human beings are important and worth saving and dedicate more resources towards relevant matters such as healthcare, food and shelter for all.
Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I didn’t like English class when I was a kid because I found it so difficult, I always did awful on my exams no matter now hard I tried. Then I became obsessed with S Club 7 when I was 10, but I couldn’t understand any of the lyrics. I found this unacceptable as their number one fan. So, I studied them and research their meaning, I would also ask my English teacher how to pronounce everything properly. I realised I really liked English and being able to speak another language and from then on, I put extra effort to learn and here I am!
If you’re interested in joining Team QuantuMDx, we currently have career opportunities available.
In addition, you can find out more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships via Innovate UK.