Safin at her desk

A day with Izabela Safin

Along with her colleagues, this Biological Technical Assistant ensures that QIAGEN products are constantly improving. She also keeps the lab work going
Izabela Safin first came into contact with QIAGEN as a biology student whilst comparing QIAGEN products with the competition’s for her Bachelor’s thesis. QIAGEN won the product battle – and Izabela's heart. Her enthusiasm has been growing ever since. Izabela is now Senior Biological Technical Assistant (TA) in the Life Sciences department’s life cycle management group. ”As a TA I’m lucky enough to get to experience different products live. Over the past year I’ve gotten to know at least 100 of them through my lab work,” says the 38-year-old. However, her working day does not usually start with a lab coat and safety glasses right away. When she arrives at the building in Hilden at 7.00 am, she first checks her emails – in the middle of the lab. Her desk is positioned between the chemical refrigerator, measuring devices and pipettes.
Safin in the lab
To the lab: After preparing her worksheets, the TA's practical work starts. A lab coat and glasses are obligatory in the lab.
"This variety is what I particularly like about my job."
Izabela Safin, Biological Technical Assistant
Before moving on to the equipment, Izabela prepares the worksheets with which she plans the precise course of the experiments - and records their results. ”I sometimes run hundreds of reactions in parallel. It is very important to have a precise plan of the process,” she says. Izabela is currently working on the optimization of the Repli-g product range together with her experienced team, which consists of two other Biological Technical Assistants, an application specialist and three scientists. In this specific case, the aim is to improve the QIAGEN product’s performance and manufacturing process.

Projects can be triggered by direct customer requests as well as planned new developments. ”Some customers use our products differently from the way described in the manual. For example, not just for the stabilization of tissue, as originally intended, but also with cells,” explains Izabela. She and her colleagues test these new areas of application in the lab in order to further develop the QIAGEN products.
Safin talking with colleagues
Spontaneous meeting: Colleagues regularly discuss their findings.
As a TA, Izabela is also responsible for supplies that ensure that lab work never comes to a standstill. She regularly checks stocks to avoid the worst-case scenario of an experiment not being carried out because a product is not available on the appropriate day. ”Although that has never happened in five years,” says Izabela, smiling.

The sequence of experiments ultimately dictates the course of Izabela's day. She has to schedule many samples punctually in the morning in order to have the first results by the afternoon. A joint lunch break at 11.30 am along with her colleagues in the canteen is a firm fixture. After finishing work in the summer, they sometimes go for a short walk around the pond in the QIAGEN grounds – with a view of the neighboring farm and its grazing cows. ”I like the Hilden site. It has good transport links but it’s rural,” says Izabela, who lives in Wuppertal.

Her lab coat hangs on a hook outside the lab, but she doesn’t always put it back on after the break. Depending on the project, Izabela may spend several days analyzing her experiments on the computer. She may then spend weeks doing mainly practical work. ”This variety is what I particularly like about my job.”
Break: A lunch break with the team is a firm fixture in Izabela's day. It usually takes place in the canteen.