Actual Living Scientist – Rachel Weller Roska

Monday, June 05, 2017 - 09:22
Rachel Weller Roska of Bio-Techne

It recently came to our attention, from this article, that only one in three Americans can name an actual living scientist. As a large biotechnology company, filled with talented and dedicated scientists, we think that is ridiculous. We want to introduce you to some of our staff who are, in fact, Actual Living Scientists.

The next scientist in our series is Rachel Weller Roska. Rachel has been with Bio-Techne for 5 years at the R&D Systems site (and Bio-Techne Headquarters) in Minneapolis, MN. Rachel works in our Proteome Profiler Array Development Department as a Scientist I and Team Lead. Rachel received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Chemistry, with a focus on Chemical Biology. Let’s learn a little bit more about Rachel:

Name: Rachel Weller Roska
Position: Scientist I, Team Lead
Department: Proteome Profiler Array Development
Years with Bio-Techne: 5 years

Why did you pursue a career in science? (or a career that led you to Bio-Techne)
Science is one of the things I gravitated toward in school and, as a potential career, science stood out because it felt like a direct way to contribute to the world in a positive way. There are also so many different facets of science. Very diverse fields rely on science in one way or another, so you can follow your interests as you go along and end up working on things that are drastically different than what you imagined back when you were studying science in school.

How would you explain your job duties to Jimmy Fallon?
My job is to select large teams of antibodies that can all play nicely together. Each antibody needs to pair up with a partner, be strong (but not too strong), be loyal and not bind to another antibody’s partner, and perform consistently every time. Once we select the best antibodies and provide the right conditions to allow the team to perform at its best, we have a Proteome Profiler Antibody Array. Researchers use these arrays to study changes in the levels of proteins in biological samples. One of the major ways researchers use this information is to search for better ways to diagnose and treat disease.

How do you feel your work contributes to the betterment of society?
The work that I do creates tools that enable other researchers to advance a wide variety of scientific endeavors. I think the most important aspect of this work is the high quality of the products we develop. It’s very important to me to know that the precious research dollars’ other scientists spend on the tools I develop are well-spent and that the results they obtain are reliable. We won’t achieve extraordinary things with unreliable data.

Who is/was a scientific influence in your life or career?
My dad instilled in me an appreciation for the wonder and vastness of the natural world while my mom taught me the work ethic necessary to do the hard work of good science. I also had a great high school chemistry teacher, which made science attractive at stage when many people decide that they dislike it. I learned a great deal from my Ph.D. advisor as well.

We are proud to have Rachel on the Bio-Techne team as one of our many Actual Living Scientists.

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