Supplant Scientists Share their Secrets – Part 1: Gemma
There’s a lot of scientific knowledge that goes into Supplant™ sugars from fiber. In honor of British Science Week starting today, and the Growth theme that’s set for it, we’re speaking with some of our scientific team to find out more about them, their growth within the business, and the groundbreaking work they do in our labs.
Our first conversation is with Gemma Humby-Smith, our lead scientist at The Supplant Company. She’s been with us for a year now, and leads a team of five scientists who are developing our ground-breaking technologies. And for the record? She loves dark chocolate the most.
Here’s a transcript of our inspiring conversation.
What drew you to science as a career?
Working in scientific research is a unique opportunity to constantly learn and do things that no one else has ever done before. I love being able to contribute to new discoveries that can potentially solve real world problems.
Wow, that sounds like what we do at The Supplant Company! Is that why you joined our team?
Yes, as cliché as it sounds, I wanted to work somewhere where I felt I was making a difference, developing products that are better for people and for the planet. I was so impressed by the technology and company vision, and I knew I wanted to be a part of something that can revolutionise the food system!
You’ve definitely made a difference already, and it’s clear your career has really taken off here.
It has. I started as a Senior Scientist in Organic Chemistry, as the first member of the New Product Innovation team. My role, initially, was to validate a range of ideas for new products and to get promising projects off the ground. After six months at the company, the team was joined by our second member, Robert Monkman, and we focused on filing patent applications for our most promising new ingredients. I then moved to Lead Scientist, so I have more responsibility for managing project direction and timelines. Now, the team has five members, and we are working on a broad range of exciting new products.
You clearly bring some amazing skills to the job. How long have you been working in science?
I have been in research since 2015, when I started my PhD in Chemistry on new porous materials to capture toxic gases for reduced emissions of pollutants. I then spent a couple of years as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, where I studied a new material that had a record-breaking ability to clean toxic sulfur dioxide from the air. These projects sparked a passion for developing new products that can improve human health and the environment.
That’s so cool, and I understand you are doing a lot of that these days.
I am, and one of the great things about my job is the variety – no two days are the same! I may be planning and conducting experiments in the lab, analysing data, reading the literature, testing and evaluating products, supporting intellectual property work, brain-storming new ideas, coordinating supply and demand of our ingredients, liaising with business development staff, and ensuring regulatory and safety compliance.
What are you most proud of so far, in your work at The Supplant Company?
It has been great to see the New Product Innovation team grow in a short space of time. It has been very rewarding to see projects go from early-stage concepts through to functioning products.
You seem to bring a lot of creativity to your work. What inspires that?
I think science can be just as much about creativity and lateral thinking as it is logic and facts. As Sir William Lawrence Bragg, who discovered the structure of crystals, said, “The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.”
Found this interview interesting? More here!
You can find a new way of thinking about chocolate with Supplant chocolate bars, now available on Amazon in milk and dark varieties.