Angela Vaasa: from a child of nature to a laboratory manager.

Photo: Angela_Vaasa_Career_in_biotech
As a child, Angela Vaasa dreamed of a doctor's profession, but life brought her to chemistry. 

We asked Angela about her professional journey and her exciting career. Here is her story of becoming a Laboratory manager in Solis BioDyne. 

Angela remembers that as a child she was often ill, and thus it was her dream to pursue the profession of a doctor. Yet, that goal changed due to her excellent grades, and gratification for her achievements in the field of study sciences. So a plan came together - after high school, she intended to become a mathematician. Yet, a sliver of doubt was in her mind. As she spent the majority of her childhood in nature, she was afraid that the profession would be too boring and distant from everyday life. So she considered an alternative specialty. Vital, close to nature, and in one way or another related to everything and everyone – chemistry. After choosing chemistry, Angela started a professional journey that continues to this day.

According to Angela, her original aim was actually just to get higher education. Yet, with her final thesis, she entered a research group where she engaged in a very exciting topic. She continued studies in Masters' thanks to great interest in developing a new method for monitoring processes in cells. After that, the doctoral degree felt like a natural continuation of my academic career. Moreover, during that time she had a toddler growing in the family and Angela felt that studies were better suited to her role than full-time work. 

Angela graduated in four years and was now accompanied by two beautiful children. The ability to find a work-life balance, so everyone is happy, is something she considers to be one of her greatest achievements so far. Angela's whole study time was marked with different milestones: marriage, building her home, and the birth of her children. Thus Angela did not live typical student life, her every minute was always counted and the time was carefully planned. Angela says that studies gave her confidence and knowledge that she still uses in her life. 

"The understanding of the interaction of biology and chemical molecules is the basis of our whole field."

Angela is especially grateful to her supervisor and the ambitious working group, for the extensive knowledge base that she has received "My research was related to the development of methods based on fluorescence, which has helped to find new solutions in the current work. I would also point out that thanks to my supervisor, I have no fear of the equipment. It seems strange, but people often fear new and complex machines at first glance," explains Angela. Another important thing that she points in the light of the many foreign doctoral missions is the value of local life: "The foreign missions have definitely made me value things that we have in Estonia- contrary to popular belief the grass is not always greener elsewhere."

Solis BioDyne – an exciting journey that lasts

By the year 2013, Angela worked in the same research group at the University of Tartu for ten years. Inevitably, after such a long period a routine emerged, and the soul sought new challenges. In August she decided to move forward. Angela joined an Estonian biotech research and development company named Solis BioDyne. Professional background, exciting field of activity, and prospects of that company became decisive. Moreover, Solis BioDyne had a decade-long experience in developing and manufacturing biotechnological reagents.

Starting as the basic production specialist she moved quickly to an exciting world of development. Different technical possibilities and curiosity favored trying and testing. When Angela got offered the laboratory manager position, she didn't hesitate to accept it. Currently, Angela manages and coordinates the work of the laboratory and contributes as a member of the management board. 

The company has developed into one of the most progressive reagent manufacturers in Europe. The main activity is to produce, develop and sell room temperature stable life science reagents. 

Solis BioDyne products- DNA polymerases, PCR and qPCR mixtures, and cDNA synthesis reagents are used both in top research institutes and biotech companies around the world.  High standards for production and service have made Solis BioDyne a trusted trademark worldwide. According to Angela, there is not much difference in making science in University and the private sector.  The only fundamental difference is that all activities in the private sector have economic considerations, which means that one cannot focus on satisfying their own urge for knowledge, but also has to find a marketable solution. Therefore, cooperation with other areas, such as production, marketing, and sales are vital and take place daily. Angela's challenges in Solis BioDyne as the laboratory manager include very different activities, from basic production and product development to guiding and mentoring the employees. She recalls that at first, the habit of always doing everything herself made delegating the tasks complicated. Thanks to the skilled team and trustworthiness it was an easy thing to overcome. The cooperation with colleagues and clients has developed many communicational skills and taught her that as many people as there are, there are also many different approaches to receive the desired result.

Alongside everyday management tasks, she is still keen and attached to work in the lab.  This is why she uses every opportunity to take part. In a joking manner, Angela brings out another difference between the university and the private sector - companies have shorter vacations. Even so, she can always find the time to spend quality time with the family. Cooking and enjoying good food with family and relatives is something she believes to be the best way to relax.

Angela recommends Solis BioDyne for any scholar who is at the beginning of their journey or experienced scientists who wish to take new steps in their career. 

"I believe that Solis offers a better way to implement your ideas, than the university. The development opportunities are also improved by the factor that in the company one can learn and better many chemical processes, as well as themselves."

Solis BioDyne offers the opportunity to work in the city of good thoughts- Tartu, Estonia. World-class research and development projects, production, and sales. The company has invested a lot into product development over the years and celebrates its 26. birthday this year. The multiplied turnover achieved last year confirms that everything is moving in the right direction. Constant contributions to the employees, product development, and technology have ensured opportunities for expansion in all directions. Angela notes that "We have plenty of opportunities and challenges to face". 

Ambition, vision, and a qualified team make Solis BioDyne an interesting and stable employer. Perfect fit for scientists with their first career steps and also for more experienced scientists.