Celebrating 25 Years of Progress: Meet The Anatune Team!
2021 sees Anatune celebrate our 25th anniversary. To help celebrate, we’ve sat down with members of our Team to give you an insight into who they are, what they do, and how Anatune is looking to build on 25 Years of Progress. In this edition, we speak to Senior Application Chemist, Camilla Liscio, to find out all about her career to date, and discover how Anatune has achieved a quarter of a century in business.
Senior Application Chemist, Camilla Liscio.
Many thanks for your time, Camilla. How long have you worked at Anatune and what are your current responsibilities?
4th of January 2016…that’s when I became an Application Chemist here at Anatune. So, if my math is correct, I have been part of the Anatune’s team for over five years now.
In case you are wondering “ehm…what does an Application Chemist do?”. Well, the essence of the job is method development and instrumental optimisation, where the ultimate goal is to create solutions which are finely tuned to the customer’s applications and needs.
As automation is at the heart of Anatune, the work we do is very much centred around translating our customers’ manual methods into fully automated solutions. We tackle the sample preparation as a must but often the relevant instrumental analysis as well, specifically using hyphenated techniques.
What led you to a career in analytical chemistry?
If I must be 100% honest, I will say serendipity. OK, it might sound a bit woo-woo but I do not mean it that way! As a scientist I feel the need to elaborate.
I consider myself lucky because I realised I wanted to be a chemist from a relatively young age and it ended up turning out to be what I truly love and cherish. Having said that, analytical chemistry was my least favourite class during my master’s degree in chemistry! What made me change my mind? The turning point came up by chance. When the time for my dissertation came, I approached a visiting biochemistry professor who was only allowed to tutor me if sharing the task with another “official” department. My analytical chemistry professor was happy to take on the multidisciplinary internship and so from that point on it was analytical chemistry all the way!
As you can imagine, working on my thesis turned indifference into passion. Therefore so I ended up continuing my education in instrumental analytical chemistry through a PhD and a 2-year post-doc. After that, it became clear to me that I wanted to explore options in the industry. I spent first three and a half years as a researcher at LGC, UK National Measurement Institute in Teddington, where I learnt even more about sample prep, chromatography, and mass spectrometry. At that point I knew where I was headed: becoming an application chemist.
And as you know, the rest is history.
What have been the most significant industry changes since the start of your career?
As my career focus has always been analytical instrumentation, inevitably I must mention the outstanding development that the industry has done in the past twenty (ouch!) years I have been involved with chromatography and mass spectrometry.
The truth is, automated sample preparation is now becoming the new challenge the scientific community is embarking on and I am very excited to be actively part of this change.
25 Years of success is a fantastic feat; what are the attributes that have enabled Anatune to achieve this?
Anatune has got two qualities which are the secret ingredients to their success: innovation and customer-centred mindset.
Automated sample preparation, SIFT-MS, online water monitoring, these were all innovative choices which are now paying off. And, what really distinguishes an Anatune solution, is the embedded knowledge sharing, support and ongoing rapport with the customer. Our customers do know that they are not purchasing only a piece of hardware but the whole corollary which comes with it.
What have been your proudest moments at Anatune so far?
Nothing beats the sense of pride you feel when you crack the development of a challenging application. When you succeed, knowing that that solution will help people delivering great science, you treasure that victory and share your customer excitement for the future accomplishments to come.
What are your predictions for the future of analytical chemistry/GC, LC,MS over the next 5 – 10 years?
Hypernation comes to mind straightaway (and no, it is not a typo of hyphenation!).
With hyphenated techniques such as GC-MS and LC-MS, well-established techniques of choice, special attention is now devoted to systems in which multiple hyphenation, aka hypernation, is an integral part of the whole setup. I guess we can consider LC-IMS-MS a good example of hypernation.
It’s within the perspective of hypernation that the on-line automation of sample preparation finds its perfect scope as the missing hyphen. And I can see that the analytical community is inevitably moving in that direction now.
What do you envisage Anatune achieving in that time-period?
Building on what I said earlier about hypernation and automation’s crucial role in this scenario, I can see Anatune taking the lead in pushing the boundaries of automated sample preparation in combination with the latest and most advanced hyphenated techniques.
Which three of the world’s biggest brands do you admire the most and why?
This was a difficult one to answer, but I have always chosen a product because of its quality and its value to me, regardless how established the brand was.
However, recently I have become very appreciative of Etsy. I am an avid crafter and as such I cannot help but admire a brand which supports and promotes originality and creativity.
H&M comes second, they strive for high-quality products at a very affordable price and sustainability is a big drive within the brand.
Third comes an Italian food brand, I picked Barilla but so many others share the same values of cultivating traditions and striving for food excellence. Plus, it has a nostalgic component. Every Italian child has a fond memory of the “Mulino Bianco” (i.e., “The White Mill”) biscuits as an iconic part of their childhood.
Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to your fantasy dinner-party? And why?
So hard to pick!
OK, if I must choose, I have always been fascinated by ancient history and in particular Egyptian civilisation, so I would love to hear from Nefertiti or Tutankhamun whether our interpretation of their world was accurate or biased.
The second guest will have to be Jane Austen, “Pride and Prejudice” is still to date one of my favourite books.
And third Hans Rosling, great man, fantastic statistician, and mind-blowing TED speaker, with a profound sense of humour I might add.
Which three hobbies or interests help you to relax when you are away from the office/laboratory?
- As mentioned before, I absolutely love crafting of all sorts.
- It is something which I have discovered since I have moved to the UK. I have fully embraced the national sentiment for gardening and plant caring – I do love a garden centre!
- Last but certainly not least. As an Italian and a chemist, I cannot help but loving cooking and experimenting with different types of food and cooking techniques. Needless to say, watching Great British Bake Off is a must!
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