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Meet Vera, a chemical lab technician at Roche

Hi, my name is...

Vera and I’m 27 years old. I come from Bern and have been living in Basel for eight years. I completed my apprenticeship as a chemical lab technician at Roche in 2015. Afterwards I had the opportunity to participate in an international exchange programme organised by the Apprenticeship Training Department. I worked for nine months in the Process Research Team in South San Francisco at Genentech, where I was able to gain additional work experience, improve my English skills and establish my international network. In June 2016, I returned to Basel and took up my position as a Process Research Lab Technician in pCMC (pre-clinical Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls).

My main task at the moment is setting up the new lab for high-throughput screening (HTS). I still work as a lab technician, but now I do more with robots. Our objective is to be able to screen reaction conditions on a far larger scale than we can at present.

The location I am working at is...

Basel. Since I also live in Basel, I can ride my bike to work. For the last two years, I have been working four days a week in the lab and studying chemistry at the University of Basel alongside my work. It is a huge advantage for me that I can bike from the Roche site to the University and back again without losing too much time.

My typical day at work is…

Very exciting. Now I’m working on setting up the HTS lab, no two days are the same for me. Being involved from day one has been a fantastic experience.

The first test runs have been under way since the start of March 2020. The goal is to find out how robust and precise our system is. After such a long planning phase, finally being able to stand at the robots and go through the workflow properly is very exciting.

I am totally fascinated by the options that technology now offers us. I particularly enjoy being confronted with new problems and finding creative, effective solutions to them.

So it is all the more disappointing that I am stuck at home at the moment due to the pandemic and cannot do any hands-on work. However, it is also nice to realise how much I miss my day-to-day work and the contact and conversations with colleagues.

The nicest experiences or memories I associate with Roche are...

there are so many of them now. I particularly enjoyed installing and putting the new robot platforms into operation, which is of course an ongoing project. It is truly extraordinary to experience something so exciting and rewarding.

I like working at Roche because...

I can see in the current situation with the global COVID-19 pandemic how important our work is – not just for patients but for the whole of society. I love working with so many inspiring people and continuing my development and training all the time.

If you would like to support Vera with your knowledge, then click here to find out about current vacancies at Roche.

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Tags: Career Blog, Switzerland, Basel, Research & Development, Europe, Vocational Training