At Ember, we’re rooted in technology and innovation, all in the name of helping people live better.
When we got the opportunity to talk science, tech and more with amazing women working in STEAM, we jumped at the chance to learn more about their shape shifting missions and how they’re paving the way for future generations of young women inspired by Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, meet Azza Gadir, PhD, Director of R+D at Seed Health, a microbial sciences company pioneering applications of bacteria to impact human and environmental health.
Q: Seed Health is gaining great public awareness and recognition. It’s clear you’ve found a way to bridge the knowledge gap and bring your scientific work to audiences in an accessible way. What’s your secret?
A: I’m lucky to be in a field -- the microbiome -- that is currently a topic of substantial public interest. Multi-disciplinary collaboration has been central to some of the most important recent findings in the field. At Seed, I get to work with wonderful colleagues who aren’t necessarily trained in my field, which helps ground me when my immunologist instincts veer toward the overly-technical.
Q: Speaking of what grounds you, what is your earliest memory of being interested in science?
A: I was raised in a family full of doctors, and I grew up hearing stories about my grandfather. He was trained as a dentist, but was distinctly curious about all forms of scientific inquiry. In his free time, he studied anthropology, evolutionary biology, and behavioral science. Like him, I always had a deep desire to be a well-rounded scientist.
I try to put the problems that we are addressing every day in a broader context. The ‘why’ is what makes getting up every day so exciting.
Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?
A: An excitement to solve problems. My postdoctoral years were the most formative of my professional career—I was lucky to have a mentor who taught me how to maintain intense focus on my research without losing sight of the big picture. In my work at Seed Health, I try to put the problems that we are addressing every day in a broader context. The ‘why’ is what makes getting up every day so exciting.
Q: You’re a superhero in our eyes, what specifically is your superpower?
A: I like to think of myself as persistent and resourceful. My scientific training pushes me to think of novel ways to help my team solve problems. It’s my favourite thing to do. Science isn’t typically viewed as creative, but creativity is important for success both in and out of the lab.
Science isn’t typically viewed as creative, but creativity is important for success both in and out of the lab.
Q: If there’s one small step we can take to get more women involved in STEAM, what is it?
A: We can provide more and bigger platforms to female role models -- there are plenty who are hiding in plain sight. This representation will serve as an inspiration to young women exploring careers in STEAM. During university, I always felt that there was a lack of people that looked like me in mainstream science and I hope that continues to change for the next generation.
Q: Where do you go when it’s time to destress?
A: Disco music is an important part of my daily life (I listen to Diana Ross on particularly stressful days). I also love zoning out to an episode of the Real Housewives.
Q: What is currently inspiring you?
A: I love reading classic scientific literature; Peter Medawar’s “Advice to a Young Scientist” is a staple that I keep on my bedside table—while it is slightly outdated, the advice generally stands.
Q: Coffee or Tea?
Q: How do you take it?
A: With a dash of regular milk.
Q: What’s your ember° number?
We can provide more and bigger platforms to female role models — there are plenty who are hiding in plain sight.
More on Seed Health:
In collaboration with leading academic partners, Seed Health accelerates breakthrough science into live biotherapeutics and innovations for consumer health under a unique foundry model. Each portfolio venture is built on its own proprietary platform to target pervasive, unmet medical needs for which bacteria may become or replace the primary standard of care. The current pipeline includes interventions for infectious disease, allergy, and inflammatory conditions across various body sites and windows of development.