Meet F-Star

Christel Veyssier

Director, Protein Sciences

Which Cambridge do you work from and how long have you been with F-star?

I work from Cambridge, UK with a mix of days working from home too. I joined F-star May 2017, 4 years ago.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have always been passionate about science and that started early on when my parents were getting really tired trying to answer all my “Why?(“Pourquoi?”) questions! I was also lucky to travel a lot during my childhood holidays during which I developed a strong interest in other cultures. I graduated with a Structural Biochemistry BSc followed by a Nutrition, Quality Control of Food MSc respectively in Toulouse, France my birth town and Grenoble, France in the Alps. Being a strong believer of the mantra: “Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.”* combined with the values I grew up with, I moved with my then fiancé and went over to the UK nearly 17 years ago in London first then Cambridge, now living in Newmarket with my now husband, son and daughter. I became expert through my experiences in both small and big biotech companies in analytical characterization and more specifically in Mass Spectrometry. I am now Associate Director heading the Protein Sciences department which includes our early stage Protein Production, Protein Characterization and Formulation and Informatics and Software development function (including modelling). (* Marva Collins)

What is a typical day like for you at F-star?

A typical day for me starts with a lot of interactions through planned and unplanned meetings with my colleagues and the teams. I also provide guidance on analytical strategies and general production and analytical pipeline organization, expanding capabilities or optimizing our processes so we can deliver high quality, well-characterized proteins using in-house expertise.

What do you enjoy most about your work at F-star?

I love that I can work for all the projects we currently have but also that this ultimately helps patients in the fight against cancer. That makes my work, our work meaningful. I like solving problems, and the whole process of having to find solutions and try out of the box solutions. I like brainstorming ideas and empowering my team to make decisions. I like to challenge them too. Working in a small biotech opens a range of opportunities to learn about other areas as there are less layers between functions. And learning is a very important aspect for me. I also enjoy the scientific discussions we are having and that no question is stupid. F-star is particularly diverse and it is good to see the social activities finally resuming safely after this particularly restrictive year.

What activities or hobbies do you enjoy?

I enjoy nutrition in general, cooking and travelling. Although of course the latter one is much more difficult these days! As a mum of a 12 and 8 year old son and daughter I am also quite busy attending sport sessions and answering lots of questions too including “why?” (I shouldn’t be surprised should I?!). I support actively my and husband’s birth town Toulouse Rugby team, Stade Toulousain (both Europe and France champions 2021!).