We are EMBL: Audrey Spielmann on providing lab support

Audrey Spielmann, Lab Support Manager, talks about her role in supporting the research done at EMBL Grenoble, what she will take forward from her experience working at EMBL, and the importance of maintaining a positive attitude

Photo of Audrey Spielmann, white woman with long brown hair wearing a lab coat
Audrey Spielmann, Lab Support Manager at EMBL Grenoble. Credits: Jeremy Sinoir/EMBL

The EMBL Grenoble Lab Services team has three members and provides support to research groups and scientific platforms. Team Manager Audrey Spielmann shares with us her reflections on what it has been like to work at EMBL.

Can you tell us more about the role of the Lab Services team in Grenoble?

The Lab Services team offers support to the research groups at EMBL Grenoble to facilitate their daily work. For example, we take care of coordinating and preparing purchase orders for the common stocks of the labs, and we also prepare solutions and buffers. We also have more transversal tasks and projects, such as handling specific purchase orders for various scientific platforms or laboratory renovations. We also have a good knowledge of the service equipment and usage history of the different laboratories, knowing what is used by which group and where.

What have been your main achievements over these years?

I think one of the achievements I’m most proud of is having set up the support for the preparation of buffers and other solutions. When I arrived at EMBL Grenoble, this support did not exist and we came to realise that this could save the scientists a lot of time. It has become essential in their daily work, and they really appreciate it. 

All of this is also thanks to a great team! They are very committed and I’m glad that we share a good state of mind where mutual help is really important.

What did you like the most about working at EMBL?

What I have enjoyed most about my work is receiving recognition from people and feeling that I have succeeded in meeting their needs, from the biggest projects to the smallest tasks. I am also grateful to have been given the opportunity to grow and to expand my job description. I came in with specific tasks, but I was given the chance to develop my ideas and implement them. 

Also, being part of the Lab Services team means seeing what is happening in the laboratories, experiencing research with the scientists, sharing moments with them, e.g. when they are waiting for a publication or preparing a thesis. I have a lot of admiration for the researchers, their investment, and all the work they do. 

Meeting people is what has touched me the most. EMBL Grenoble is a small site, so we all know each other and we can interact with everyone across departments, both for work and personally. The other side of the coin is that it’s difficult to see people leaving, but it is also a reason to live these moments to the fullest!

What do you do in your spare time?

I practice African dance and I take care of my animals, which are two activities that help me relax. I am also part of an association that aims to make the farming world better known to the general public. Every year, we organise an ancestral rural festival on agriculture and mountain forestry of the Belledonne massif, with the participation of local farmers from each municipality. When I was a child, I participated in these events and I always told myself that when I grew up, I would be part of the organising committee. I’m actually doing it now! I really like these festivals as they create links with the agricultural world and between generations. They are real moments of sharing, where you learn a lot from farmers.

If you had any advice to give, what would it be?

The advice I would give everyone is to take the good from every situation, even the bad ones. ‘Staying positive’ is a magic formula that has always helped me and still does. It helps you look forward, to get ahead with things, even if it’s scary or difficult. From both my professional and personal experience, it makes sense to me, and that’s what I wanted to instil in my team.

Tags: grenoble, lab support, structural biology, we are embl, women in science


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