In honor of Women's History Month, we sat down with Samantha Franck-Rezac, UI Pharmaceuticals director of Analytical Testing Services, to talk about the lab and her advice for women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math -- or STEM.
Franck-Rezac started with UI Pharmaceuticals in 2003 in the analytical department, taking on a leadership role in 2008. "Back then, it was mostly method development and validation," she reflected. "Obviously, since that time, regulations and expectations have changed a lot for our work, but I think the key development is the responsibility of each analyst to be cognizant of impurity profiles and the industry transition towards biologics."
Industry changes, however, are not the only growth the analytical labs have seen under Franck-Rezac’s leadership. Since 2008, the department's capabilities have grown too, expanding their expertise into a full menu of quality control testing options, including stability and release-testing programs.
"The exciting part of analytical, to me, is that our results in the lab really tell us about the entirety of the process, even back to manufacturing conditions. The results are just the beginning; we have to examine the big picture to find the root cause," said Franck-Rezac. Examining the "big picture" across all testing areas always leads Franck-Rezac back to two concepts: quality and the impact on patients. “We not only get to hear the patient impact stories but also see and understand the importance of quality throughout each individual test.
"Advancing these projects has a huge impact on real lives. Through my work, I’ve had the chance to work on projects where, previously, there were no treatments available. Getting to know our clients and advancing their projects has changed that situation for real patients," Franck-Rezac continued.
The UI Pharmaceutical analytical group is more than 50 percent female. When asked about her advice for other women in pharmacy, chemistry, and biotech, the same passion Franck-Rezac has for her work bubbles through her voice.
“Authentically be you and let your actions speak for themselves. When you constantly work to impress or prove yourself, that can be exhausting," she said. "Let your authentic self shine and your talents and knowledge will shine along with you!”
Advancing these projects has a huge impact on real lives. Through my work, I’ve had the chance to work on projects where, previously, there were no treatments available. Getting to know our clients and advancing their projects has changed that situation for real patients.
-- Samantha Franck-Rezac
Samantha Franck-Rezac is one of three women on UI Pharmaceutical’s Senior Leadership Team. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BS in chemistry in 1994 and has enjoyed a career of more than 25 years in pharmaceuticals. Outside the lab, she is a leadership mentor to women across UI Pharmaceuticals and a mother of three.