It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with Laura Henry, who joined our US FAS team in February 2022. Based in Indianapolis, Laura is responsible for supporting our liquid handling customers across the Midwest – a large but interesting territory to cover! Laura gets to know customers extremely well and is able to provide training and support based on her detailed understanding of how they are using our mosquito®, dragonfly® and apricot liquid handling platforms. For Laura, helping users to develop and improve their unique workflows at all kinds of labs is both fascinating and great fun – whether that's initial training, ongoing support and guidance, or the occasional troubleshooting.
Laura's background is in biochemistry. After completing her PhD, which focused on metabolic engineering in plants, she worked as an Analytical Research Chemist for a few years but was keen to get back into the biology space and apply her knowledge of genomics. In her previous roles, Laura acquired a good deal of experience interacting with engineers and field applications scientists. Having been on the customer side in this way herself, she has seen both 'the good and the bad' – and that experience has helped her frame how she wants to work as an FAS.
On a day-to-day basis, Laura is in frequent email contact with labs who've installed mosquito or dragonfly, checking to see how they're getting on, and making sure they have the latest information. For Laura, and our FAS team as a whole, working with customers is very much an ongoing process. Just because a customer has received the initial training when the instruments were installed, that certainly doesn't mean they should ever feel they can't ask questions and receive dedicated support. This might just be checking that everything is in working in labs where there are multiple users, such as in a core lab, or assuring customers that everything is in good working order.
Like her teammates on the FAS team, Laura enjoys on-site visits to customers. It's a chance to take in a lot of new information about customers' experiences and see how they are using our instruments to achieve impressive scientific breakthroughs. The real highlight of the job is hearing about the new science that researchers are doing before it's even published. As Laura points out: "We're in a unique position. Especially in our industry, people aren't willing to share what they're working on with the outside world, but we get to see a glimpse of that - you get to see a lot of different science that people are working on, and that's pretty fascinating!"
For Laura, the best thing about the SPT Labtech instruments is that people enjoy using the software and the hardware. And this is even the case when they're attempting difficult workflow challenges! Luckily, issues, such as identifying a new source of contamination, are very few and far between. Helping customers in this way is both satisfying and rewarding for Laura. She gets to see all sorts of workflows, while her support is much appreciated by customers, including new prospects. For example, after an initial demo at an academic research lab, the researchers were interested in doing Ribo-Seq, single-cell ribosome sequencing. Thanks to the expert support from Laura and the FAS team, the researchers were delighted that they were able to develop their protocol using the SPT Labtech instruments.
Laura loves spending time with her two dogs and even takes them along with her to various favorite bars and restaurants that have dog-friendly patios. But when she’s on her travels (for both work and pleasure) or out on one of her big runs, the dogs have to stay at home. Laura has notched up an impressive number of half-marathons as well as a few full marathons!