This is Maxim Tollenaere
Maxim pioneers as a Scientist with Advanced Biologics with Global R&D, Denmark.

“I started studying biology and laboratory-based medical research in 2007, and my long-term goal was to develop new drugs and medicines to help people, so the opportunity to join LEO Pharma was a no-brainer for me.”

 

I joined LEO Pharma in 2019 as a post-doctoral fellow and was offered a permanent position as a Scientist in 2020. I am involved in supporting our “Mode of Action” studies on late-stage biologics. The focus of my work is to gather data and evidence from a cell and molecular biology perspective to try and explain how and why our biologics work in patients. It is all about discovering what benefits the patients on a cellular level.

 

I love designing and performing experiments in the lab, and I enjoy that I am often the first to see all kinds of exciting new data. On a typical day you will probably find me in the cell lab behind a microscope or analyzing data in the office. In that respect, it is all about being resilient. You must accept the fact that some experiments fail and some ideas do not work out the way you had hoped them to - or even if your experiment worked, but you end up with whole new list of unanswered questions. It is a never-ending rabbit hole because there is always room for improvement. It is a challenging aspect of my job, however; it makes it interesting; it keeps me on my toes and makes me grow.

 

The best part about my job is being able to do basic science and cell biology to study the underlying pathology of skin diseases. Observing something novel or providing data to answer a complicated question feels incredibly rewarding and is worth all the challenges. With the mindset in LEO Pharma and the eagerness to understand the underlying pathology of the skin diseases we are trying to treat, the research environment is really great and not only allows us to work with some of the top key opinion leaders and healthcare professionals in the field, but also directly to contribute to the scientific literature out there.

 

 

One of the things I like about LEO Pharma is its willingness to invest heavily into R&D to better understand skin disorders and come up with new solutions for patients. We are reminded how many people depend on us to go on with their daily lives, without being held back by a skin disorder. Patient centricity is truly at the heart of what we do.

 

Moreover, it makes me excited to be surrounded by brilliant immunologists, bio-informaticians and cell biologists who want to understand the biology behind skin disorders and use that knowledge to develop innovative and best-in-class drugs. It intrigues me that I have already seen many interesting projects come by and have witnessed the non-stop development of novel technologies that help us doing even better science.

 

If I could invite any life science pioneer for dinner, I would invite Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723) - a Dutch businessman and scientist. He is commonly known as "the Father of Microbiology" and one of the first microscopists and microbiologists. He was the first person to observe and describe single-celled organisms and laid the cornerstones for modern microbiology. He was able to develop tools together with observing and documenting incredible details with his single lens microscopes. That to me is inspiring and it shows what one can achieve with the right mindset and curiosity. I would really like to see his reaction if he could see what modern day microscopes are capable of doing, and what impact they have on science.

To me pioneering means taking risks, doing new things, listening to different opinions and perspectives, and above all, learning. I do not think one can force somebody to pioneer something per se, but one can certainly create the environment to nurture it, and I think LEO Pharma is doing a great job at that.
Maxim Tollenaere
Scientist
Advanced Biologics with Global R&D, Denmark