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Genes of Interest

By Forge Biologics
May 15, 2024 1:33:31 PM

Genes of Interest, our employee spotlight showcasing the individuals behind Forge that make our team unique.

 

 

Getting to know Ellis McWhirter, Technician I, GMP Manufacturing Support
May 16, 2024

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail? 
I'm a GMP Support Technician I. We are responsible for GMP-grade preparation of buffers and tube sets as well as ensuring the sterility of cleanroom suites. We support the GMP team so that they can produce high quality gene therapy products for our clients. 
 

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
Openness is the core value that I feel most connected to. Being open to change and new perspectives enhances creativity and success for all.  Embracing openness fosters an environment conducive to innovation, collaboration, and personal growth.

 

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?  
I love horror! It allows for so much creativity in every aspect of storytelling and film making. It also has a history of diving into societal fears and anxieties in an implicit way, creating a dialogue for social issues. My favorite horror novel is Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Some of my favorite movies are The Witch, Scream, and Halloween.

 

Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book? 
I'm reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (who wrote The Haunting of Hill House, one of my favorites). It's a gothic tale about a twisted and mysterious family that struggle to maintain their way of life after a tragic incident. It's full of fascinating characters, intrigue, and murder.
 

Who inspires you?    
My sister, who is one of the bravest people I know. She currently lives in Thailand, and travels all over Asia independently. She's climbed mountains, ridden elephants, and recently ran her first marathon. Her tenacity and resilience have encouraged me to be bold and take chances.

 

Ellis GOI

 


 

Getting to know Audrey Brackenridge, Senior Analyst, Quality Control
April 29, 2024 

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail? 
I am a Senior Analyst on the Quality Control (QC) team. Our group as a whole performs the analytical testing required to ensure that the gene therapy products we are delivering to clients are safe and effective prior to leaving our doors. Within the team, I have focused on nucleic acid and protein-based assays, such as ddPCR, Capillary Gel Electrophoresis, ELISA, and AUC. These assays are performed in support of the manufacturing process as well as at the completion of each batch and across stability timelines, always keeping me busy! My time in the lab has taught me so much about the science that exists and the novel, new techniques coming through our doors, all contributing to the goal of improving the lives of patients with rare diseases.  

 

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
Purpose Driven. Knowing that the work we are doing is making an impact on the lives of others and providing hope and treatment for those who did not have it before keeps me coming back every day. Finding the purpose behind what I am doing has allowed me to be open to the wealth of knowledge around me, enabling collaboration, as well as keeping me engaged in the work I do each day. All of these values lead to the hardworking team we have built here at Forge, each of us striving to make a difference each and every day.  

 

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in gene therapy? 
Don’t be afraid of the novelty of the field! Embrace the learning curves and challenges that come along with research and development. Allow yourself to be open to failure, knowing that resiliency and perseverance will prevail in the long run. We are all learning and growing together and that is part of the draw for me.  
 
What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?  
I love to be active! Athletics have always been a big part of my life. To this day, I hold the record of most 3-Point shots made in a season at my high school.  
 
What is your favorite snack in the Forge social hub?  
Hands down, the Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies! A bag of those has the power to completely change my day.  
  
Who inspires you?    
My inspiration comes from my dad. Growing up, he worked long hours to provide for our family, ensuring that my brothers and I had what we needed and wanted even if it meant sacrifice. He made time for work, coaching, play and family; to this day I still don’t know how he managed it. He is the most patient, kind man with one of the strongest work ethics I have encountered. It is this motivation to work hard to ensure others have what they need that inspires me to do the best I can each and every day, both in the workplace and out.  

 

Audrey GOI-2

 


 

Getting to know Madison McCarty, Technician II, Upstream, AAV Manufacturing
March 18, 2024 

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail?  
I am a GMP Technician ll, Upstream, on the AAV Manufacturing team. The Upstream team is involved in growing cells, transfecting the cells with the gene of interest, lysing (breaking open) the cells, harvesting, and performing the initial filtration of the product. From there we pass it to the Downstream team for them to continue the process until we get a finished product. The end goal of the AAV Manufacturing team is to create a quality product for our clients that will be used to treat patients with rare diseases. I have a personal interest in data and the story it tells us. I very much enjoy getting to dig into our data for troubleshooting needs and aiding process efficiency. 

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily?   
I am driven by all of our core values every day, but if I had to pick one, it would have to be Purpose Driven. Even the hard days are easier to get through when we keep sight of our mission to help the rare disease community. This is a community that has not had many, if any, options for treatment. Our product gives them a chance and I am very grateful to be a part of that mission. 

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in gene therapy? 
Be curious. There are no stupid questions. Ask questions, do independent research, and come back to ask more questions. There is a vast amount of knowledge in this field, which may feel daunting, but once you get curious and dive in, it is endlessly fascinating! 

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?   
I have many physical exercise hobbies! They include running, cycling, lifting, hiking, rock climbing, and mountaineering (a new hobby I am very excited to dive further into). I love the opportunity to get outside and move my body. These activities allow you to test your limits and learn what you are capable of—which is a lot more than you think! With a little vitamin D and fresh air, it also helps to put a lot of life events (big or small) into a healthier perspective. 

Who inspires you?    
I am inspired by individual personality traits, which means I come across a lot of people who inspire me! A few of those inspirational personality traits include people who are authentic, courageous, creative, dependable, compassionate, open-minded, curious, and hardworking.  

 

Madison McCarty-2

 


 

Getting to know Rachael Hardison, Ph.D., Senior Manager, Technical Sales 
February 26, 2024 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail?   
I am a Senior Manager of Technical Sales here at Forge. As a member of Forge’s Commercial team, I am often one of the first interactions a prospective client has with Forge. The core of my position is supporting our commercial teams from a technical perspective, through scoping new proposals or statements of work for clients, following current clients through delivery as a technical resource, and representing Forge by presenting at industry events and conferences. This is a unique position that allows me the opportunity to draw on my technical background and love of science while also being very client-facing. My favorite part of this role is getting to collaborate with many teams across Forge to help achieve client goals. 

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
This is a tie for me between Openness and Purpose Driven. I really think these go hand in hand when considering what drives me daily. I feel very fortunate to learn from so many colleagues at Forge who have expertise across process development, analytical development, regulatory, manufacturing, etc. I think being able to approach projects and conversations with an open mind for learning is such a key component of success, both of Forge in general but also in my own personal career growth. Being open to new ideas and solutions when collaborating with colleagues means that we can more efficiently partner with our clients to bring new therapies to the clinic. The purpose and end goal are always at the forefront of my mind in any discussions with clients or internally at Forge: bringing new therapies safely and effectively to approval. 

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in gene therapy? 
My advice is not necessarily specific to gene therapy, but for those looking at the biotech industry as a whole. My best advice is to always keep a learning mindset and understand that there are always going to be things that you don’t know, and that’s okay. In my experience, most people are extremely willing to help you, teach you, or collaborate with you if you just ask. Draw on the expertise of others and seek out opportunities to learn from those around you. Second, take the time to invest in continually improving your communication skills; this is something that will take you far in any scientific field, not just gene therapy. 

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know? 
I used to work in veterinary medicine for many years, and part of this included working at both a zoo and an aquarium at one point or another. I’ve cared for animals ranging from a whole domestic cat colony to anacondas and crocodiles, to shark rays and penguins, and even trained otters! 

Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book? 
I love reading. My favorites are sci-fi and high fantasy, but in general I will read just about anything. I just recently finished Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson, and have to find my next read now. Let me know if you have any recommendations! 

Favorite business book, TED talk, LinkedIn learning course did you like? Professional development book you’d recommend? 
I’m currently working through Let’s Talk: Make Effective Feedback Your Superpower by Therese Huston. It’s had a lot of really practical insight into how to strengthen working relationships while providing feedback in safe and effective ways that can be really beneficial for anyone. 

What is your favorite snack in the Forge social hub?   
Definitely the candy. 😃 I have a huge sweet tooth. Halloween was the best snack time at Forge. 

Who inspires you?   
My daughters, Evie (7) and Maren (4) inspire me. They view the world so creatively and are not afraid to speak their minds. They inspire me every day to do the same and to continually put time and effort into making a positive impact in the lives of others. 

 

image

 


 

Getting to know Jesse Fisher, Scientist I, Analytical Development

January 10, 2024

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail? 
As a scientist with the cell-based assays team, my focus has largely been on the development of in vitro potency assays. The process entails that we treat cells with our client’s drug product and measure either gene expression of the product at the RNA or protein level, or related downstream effects expected from the product. These assays are crucial for assessing the suitability of a product for manufacturing release, as well as determining the stability of the product over time.   


What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
There is not one single core value that drives me daily. I would say it’s more situational. Some days we need to just put in some extra Hard-work knowing we have to meet a deadline, or if there is a specific hurdle to overcome. When I’m giving or receiving feedback, I am driven to be Open with my colleagues to try to improve myself and do the best work possible. Our Purpose is, of course, something that never escapes any of us, enabling access to gene therapies for those that need them most.


What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in gene therapy?

Any specific advice would depend on where the individual is in their career. That said, some general thoughts are to see where you can best leverage your current skills and experience as an entry point, even if it’s not ultimately what you want to continue with. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself at an organization such as Forge where there are many different departments you can interact with, it opens the opportunity to take another path, should you choose to. On working in gene therapy itself, something to keep in mind is that the industry is still relatively young and so you may not be able to find all the definitive answers to the problem you’re facing. There may be several solutions to choose from, or you may need to find a way for yourself. If you’re someone who is particularly excited by the prospect of the latter, this is the field for you. 

 

Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book?

I don’t know that I would call it binge watching, but our four-year old daughter is insistent on watching Wheel of Fortune, so we often find ourselves watching episodes anywhere from the 80’s to today. She enjoys calling out the letters, which is fun. I’m sure it won’t be long before she is solving the puzzles before I can. 

 

Who inspires you?

I am inspired by anyone who keeps going. I think the tendency is to look at those with tremendous success and call them an inspiration based on the fruits of their triumphs (whatever those fruits may be). What I draw more strength from is seeing examples of people who have struggled greatly and survived on their ability to just keep going. Maybe they never saw great success in the traditional sense, but they never stopped moving. I often go back to “The Man in the Arena” by Teddy Roosevelt as a reminder that there is no failure greater than not trying at all. 

 

GOI Jesse Fisher-2

 


 

Getting to know Becky Raig, Scientist I, Product Development

December 6, 2023 

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail? 
I am a Scientist on the Product Development team at Forge. Our team focuses on the research and development that brings new gene therapies from idea to reality. My specific role includes literature searching, establishing new capabilities in the lab, and presenting findings to leadership. One reason I love this job is that it allows me to get creative in my problem solving; I feel that the floor is open for ideas and that if gaps are uncovered, there is ample opportunity to build. 


What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
The Forge core value that I most align with is Openness. A cornerstone of my career is continuous learning, and I am grateful to have regular opportunities to interface with talented people in different departments at Forge. The ability to leverage the experience of those around us is what makes a great team stand above the rest. 


What is your favorite snack in the Forge social hub?  
My favorite snacks to eat in the social hub are baked goods brought in by the many talented bakers of Forge (you know who you are). I have eaten some of the best cookies of my life in that kitchen! 

 

GOI_Becky

 


 

Getting to know Mason Bonitz, Scientist I, Process Development

November 21, 2023 

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail? 
I am a scientist on the upstream process development team here at Forge. Our team’s main objective is to bring small-scale proof of concept work to large-scale manufacturing. This is made possible through the incorporation of new technologies, novel processing techniques, and robust process characterization. I frequently interface with our different client programs to help tech transfer their process into cGMP as well as ensure we are constantly refining our platform process to maximize yields. 

 

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
Purpose-Driven is the core value that I align with. Gene therapy has the potential to be the next frontier of medicine that can substantially change the lives of patient populations that previously had no other options for treatment, and I enjoy being a part of that mission. 

 

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in gene therapy? 
Always have a learning mindset. There is so much to learn about this industry that it can be overwhelming. Collaboration, the ability to innovate, and building upon what others in the field are doing will keep us at the forefront of what is possible in the gene therapy space. 

 

What is your favorite snack in the Forge social hub? 
Coffee is my go-to. I can be frequently spotted at any of the different coffee stations scattered throughout the Hearth. 

 

Who inspires you?
My younger sister, Trinity, is someone who continues to inspire me to keep doing what I love to do. She was born with a rare genetic disease that rendered her blind at a young age. Her perseverance and ability to smile through adversity is something that I truly admire. 

 

GOI_Mason

 


 

Getting to know Daniel Casey, Coordinator, Marketing

October 24, 2023 

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail? 
I am the Marketing Coordinator here at Forge. I am part of the broader marketing team that defines Forge’s brand and tone across all owned, earned, and paid marketing channels like conferences, social media, content, and advertising. Most importantly, we help connect the mission and science of Forge’s innovations with the hearts and minds of our clients and community. Overall, I help keep the marketing team organized and aligned with our goals. One of my core functions is developing Forge’s organic social media strategy and making sure we grow our audiences through engaging, informational, and diverse content. I like seeing what resonates with people and how we can leverage that information across other marketing channels. I also always appreciate new ideas from my team members and other departments. Often a new set of eyes can help bring some creativity and excellent ideas to the table.  

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
All the Forge core values are impactful and drive me but Hardworking is one that is exemplified so well. There are a lot of amazing people here at Forge and so many of them are the hardest working people I have ever seen. Their dedication and work ethic are inspiring and one of the main reasons why Forge has been able to grow and achieve the level of success it has. Everyone here at Forge understands that hard work feeds into the other core values and that it is what sets us apart. At the end of the day our hard work means that we are that much closer to a patient receiving a potentially life-changing therapy. That is what makes the sacrifices of everyone at Forge worthwhile. Hard work is embodied in everyone from leadership to individual contributors, thanks to the great leadership and talent acquisition teams. 

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?  
I like photography. I was very into photography in high school and was the co-president for our school photography club. I was very fortunate to go to a school that had access to a darkroom, and I got to see the different ways to take, develop and display photographs. Our photography teacher was very creative and taught us many forgotten or uncommon techniques like alternative processes. Alternative processes with film like cyanotypes, selective development, tea toning, emulsion transfers and more were all fascinating to learn about. This year I want to get back into 35mm film and try out some old and new ideas. 

Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book? 
I recently finished watching Ahsoka. I liked it and thought it was a creative show in the post empire era. My one complaint is that I wanted a couple more episodes, but I like that they are continuing the Ahsoka/Rebels storyline. It would be cool to see more Old Republic Star Wars shows set thousands of years before the movies as that’s an untapped time for new content. New characters, planets, and organizations like in the Knights of the Old republic games would be a lot of fun to see. 

What is your favorite snack in the Forge social hub? 
There are always a lot of great options to choose from! The Cheez-Its are always and great go to for salty and then maybe a piece of chocolate for something sweet. 

 

GOI_Daniel-2

 


 

Getting to know Kristen Ochs, Senior Quality Systems Specialist, Quality Management

September 13, 2023 

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail?   
I am a Senior Quality Systems Specialist at Forge. This entails managing and working within our eQMS (electronic Quality Management System), Veeva. I spend my days in our Quality Systems, which means things like building and reviewing change controls, verifying completion of associated change actions, writing or reviewing investigations, and identifying corrective actions. When things don’t go as planned or we need to make improvements to our processes, the Quality Systems team is involved. The purpose of these activities and the Quality System is to ensure that we are able to deliver safe and effective products for clients and patients, and that we are able to continuously improve the way that we are doing things. I get to work with almost every department within Forge since there are Quality Events for a wide variety of processes! 
 
What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily?    
Purpose Driven. It introduces extra meaning to my work to know that we are striving to make a difference in the lives of patients who need the treatments that we are producing. It’s important to me that our purpose and mission is tied to improving the lives of others. I also really relate to the value Hardworking. In everything that I do, I’m committed to making it the best it can be. 
 
What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in gene therapy? 
Be ready to be flexible and keep learning daily. As the field is relatively new and is still evolving, working in gene therapy requires resilience and an open attitude. 
 
Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book?   
I just started watching Jury Duty, but I’m most excited to watch football this fall and winter! Go Irish and Go Bengals! 

What is your favorite snack in the Forge social hub?   
All of the coffee! Especially cold brew. 

 

GOI_Kristen

 


 

Getting to know Ana Belen del Campo, Ph.D., Clinical Trial Manager, Clinical
August 18, 2023 

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail?   
I am a Senior Clinical Trial Manager on the Clinical team. My position includes planning, management, and oversight of Forge´s FBX-101 -RESKUE clinical trial execution. This entails a close collaboration with internal teams like Regulatory, Product Development, and supply chain teams as well as external parties like CROs and sites. This ensures clinical trial activities and deliverables are completed on time and within budget. The main activity I focus on is being available for our clinical sites, so they get the support they need to execute the clinical trials.

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
The Forge core value that drives me is 'Purpose-driven.' Knowing my work helps to provide some hope for families affected by rare disease...that's what makes me wake up in the morning energized to give my best effort into each new workday. 

Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book?   
I´m currently reading Red Queen, the first in Juan Gómez-Jurado's internationally acclaimed thriller series. Gómez-Jurado (December 1977 Madrid, Spain) is an award winning journalist and bestselling author. He is one of the three most successful contemporary Spanish authors, along with New York Times bestselling authors Javier Sierra and Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Red Queen chronicles the adventures of Antonia Scott. She is an interesting woman with amazing intelligence, who has solved many crimes as an amateur detective. However, certain situations have led her to adopt a totally isolated life. I also hope to read: Black Wolf and White King this summer. 

Favorite business book, TED talk, LinkedIn learning course did you like? Professional development book you’d recommend?   
Discover Your Clifton Strengths a professional development book that my manager recommended to me, and it was very useful to discover the benefits of focusing on our natural talents. It is something that I do not usually do, as I was always told throughout my career to focus on the improvement of those things that are not your strengths. 

 

Caitlin Jones-3

 


 

Getting to know Becca Kheiry, Automation Engineer, Facilities & Engineering
July 26, 2023 

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail? 

I am an automation engineer here at Forge. My work is currently based on foundational projects to set us up for success once we are ready for larger-scale automation projects. I’m working with a contractor to set up a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system and will be maintaining the system after its implementation. I’ve also set up an Automation Steering Committee and worked with our project management team to create a process for anyone to be able to initiate an automation project. As we collect automation ideas, I plan to set up a knowledge base of these ideas so that even if we can’t implement them all right away, we’ll retain the information we have on them until they become feasible. We also plan to create project tools and fine-tune the process and tools so that the planning and implementation phases of our projects can go more smoothly. 
  
What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily?   
Openness. I’ve used the space in this role to start creating opportunities at Forge that I’ve wanted in past jobs. I think the openness of everyone at Forge is what has allowed my work to grow in this way, and I’m really excited about what this means for my career and impact here. I hope I espouse all the core values of Forge, but I think that being Open has allowed me to be more Hardworking, Purpose-Driven, and Engaged. 
  
What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know? 

I have a huge interest in cosmetic chemistry and probably would have ended up as a cosmetic chemist if I hadn’t been an engineer! As it is, I probably know a bit more about skin and haircare than the average consumer, including a lot of typically “boring” stuff like FDA regulations and the strength of the evidence behind a lot of popular ingredients/trends. 
  
Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book?  
Right now, I’m reading Red Rising by Pierce Brown and I also just started The Four by Thabet J. Ma’oun. 
  
Favorite business book, TED talk, LinkedIn learning course did you like? Professional development book you’d recommend?  

I didn’t read a book on it, but hearing a podcast reference and explain “The 5 second rule” from Mel Robbins (not related to food or floors) was really helpful for me! 

 

GOI- Becca

 


 

 

Getting to know Caitlin Jones, Ph.D., Scientist I, Product Development
July 10, 2023

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail? 
I am a scientist on the product development team, and I work on developing our therapeutic candidates as well as bringing new technologies and capabilities online for the company. Day to day, this can be anything from evaluating biodistribution studies to assay development or combing the literature to find an answer to a problem. It’s an exciting role to be in because I get to work on a lot of different things!

 

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
The Forge core value that drives me daily is being Purpose-driven. It’s incredibly meaningful to me to work in a field that directly benefits people who need gene therapies. Day to day, it can be easy to get lost in the minutiae of experiments and problem-solving, but ultimately, I always remember that my work has the potential to benefit people and I’m very grateful for that.

 

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in gene therapy?
I didn’t have a background in gene therapy before joining Forge – I primarily worked in cancer research. My advice would be to not discount your experience if you’re coming from a different background, because your skills likely translate and you may have unique skills that complement the rest of the team well. (Also, it never hurts to brush up on your literature searching or your statistics!)

 

Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book?  
I just finished rereading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine, a sci-fi novel with some fascinating political intrigue and exploration into institutional memory and how language reflects culture.

What is your favorite snack in the Forge social hub?  
Definitely the Nature Valley blueberry muffin tops, though the peanut butter cracker sandwiches are a close second – they remind me of being a kid!

Caitlin Jonesgoi 1

 


 

 

Getting to know Tony Rivett, Senior Manager, Client Development

June 14, 2023

 

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail?
I’m a Senior Manager on the Client Development team. We spend a lot of time at conferences representing Forge and how we can help clients achieve their goal of getting treatments to patients. We speak with clients and highlight the incredible scientific knowledge, technology, and capabilities we have at Forge. We highlight what makes Forge so different from other CDMOs. 

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily?
They are all very important to me, but probably Purpose-Driven. I am very fortunate to work with incredible people doing incredible things. I always try to focus on the purpose of the work we are all doing and keep the goal in mind—to get a treatment to patients where little or no treatment existed before. 

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in gene therapy?
Pursue it! I’ve been fortunate to work in the pharmaceutical industry for years before joining Forge and that felt incredibly fulfilling, but nothing compares to Forge and gene therapy. I’ve heard so many incredible stories in my almost two years at Forge. We need more incredible minds, more people that are propelled by passion, more people who are really set on making a difference.

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
I hosted my own radio show in college with my roommates. It was called the Big T & RP Show and it was me and two of my roommates. I had to pitch my idea to the department that was running the radio station. It was the inaugural year of the radio show, so I think they took a chance to have three friends sit around and talk for hours with sound effects and people calling in. It was an absolute blast and one of the highlights of my college experience. 

Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book?
No. I watched the Last of Us and loved it. I’m looking forward to the second season of House of the Dragon. 

Favorite business book, TED talk, LinkedIn learning course did you like? Professional development book you’d recommend?
The TED Talk Grit by Angela Duckworth.

What is your favorite snack in the Forge social hub?
Coffee, endless flowing coffee.


Who inspires you?
This is tough. My parents and my wife all inspire me. I grew up in a house where both of my parents worked really hard, but my mom probably stands out because she would work the night shift as a registered nurse from 11pm to 7am when my brothers and I were little. She would be home to see us off to school and then nap until noon, get everything done around the house, make sure we were all fed and cared for, sleep for a few hours at night and then go back to work. She did that for 10 years. She’s also incredibly kind and has never said no when I need her to watch my kids while I travel. Her name is Joy, and she lives true to her name. 

 

MicrosoftTeams-image (265)

 


 

 

Getting to know Ebrima Kanteh, GMP Manufacturing Subject Matter Expert (SME)
May 30, 2023

 

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
All four core values drive my approach to work and interaction with my colleagues. “Purpose-driven” speaks to my core, I love the idea that my actions impact lives both at work and beyond. Dedication at work sets a positive pace which translates to productivity. When we are productive, we impact and improve lives with the quality of our work.

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know? 
I speak 4 languages. In the right environment, I start a sentence in one language and finish it in another.

Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book? 
I am currently reading Kingdom of Bones by James Rollins. I just like his style of writing, mostly the figurative expressions.

What is your favorite snack in the Forge social hub?

My favorite snack is Kind Minis (Caramel Almond & Sea Salt).

 

Genes of Interest Ebrima Kanteh

 


 

 

Getting to know Eowyn Livengood, Upstream GMP Technician
May 2, 2023

What is your position at Forge and what does it usually entail? 
I am an Upstream GMP Technician! I work in cell culture and with bioreactors. Simply put, Upstream is all about increasing the volume of cells in a specific environment. The product, or Gene Of Interest (GOI), is inside the cell, so to get it out, we have cut it open or lyse the cell. This prepares the packaged GOI for Downstream processes.

What Forge core value (HOPE) drives you daily? 
My favorite is Open. Collaboration and transparency are so crucial to what we’re doing and gives us a definite edge. It also makes work go by before you know it! To me, being Open makes it easier to be Hardworking and, through communicating with your coworkers, shows you the Purpose that drives why we do what we do. Also, through collaboration, you can learn from those around you, and grow together. Openness has shown me how much gene therapies mean on a personal level to the individuals around me and this inspires me to seek excellence.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in gene therapy?
This goes for nearly any field, but try to meet people in the field and treat everyone with dignity and importance, especially if you’re above them in position. Do things the right way and follow GMP, even when it’s late, you’re hungry, or you have some place to be. It’s better to seek help or for someone to relieve you than to rush. Also, ask questions!

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know? 
I was part of the group that discovered Photinus carolinus (Synchronous Lightning Bugs) in Northern Mississippi and I got arrested in the TV show, "NCIS: New Orleans" (it’s just acting, I swear!).

Are you currently binge-watching any shows or reading a good book? 
"Severance" (on Apple TV) is a show I’ve watched twice already and am watching now for the third time. Highly recommended and very quotable! For books, I like Near A Thousand Tables by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo, and am currently reading Run To The Light by Laura King Edwards. I like books that change the way you look at things.

Favorite business book, TED talk, LinkedIn learning course did you like? Professional development book you’d recommend?
Difficult Conversations by Stone, Patton, and Heen.

What is your favorite snack in the Forge social hub?
Sour Cream & Onion Lays or the oranges!

Who inspires you?
This is a tough question, as different people inspire me for different qualities. In general, though, I would say my dad, Timothy Livengood. He’s a very kind and humble person. His work ethic is insane, as he is often at work 12 hours a day, then works on the house or the car when he’s home, and he rarely complains about it. You’ll never see him angry, and he will probably shake your hand for too long. He’s a loving person to both animals and everyone around him. He frequently talks about safety while building rockets for NASA under Boeing and leads a team in doing so. He’s incredibly smart, but he listens to you like he has something to learn from your every word. I wish everyone could meet him.

 

Eowyn Livengood-goi-1