A change of scenery after graduation? That was out of the question for Elisabeth Mertl. At that time, she had already spent four years at the Austrian Research Institute for Chemistry and Technology, OFI for short. Everything was just right: a working environment in which colleagues were friends and their opinions were taken seriously. So Mertl stayed – and is now celebrating her eighth anniversary with the company this year.
Contrary to popular wisdom this hasn’t hurt her career. At only 27, Mertl has a doctorate and engineered a scientific breakthrough: At the OFI, she succeeded in developing methods for the skin compatibility of health products that exclusively use cell cultures and chemistry. These so-called in vitro or in chemical tests do not require animal test subjects such as mice or hares. To implement Mertl’s tests, one final obstacle has to be overcome: their inclusion in the protocol of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Mertl’s cell cultures have the potential to revolutionize the cosmetics industry and Born2invest brings you the latest biotech breakthroughs from around the world like this one. Our companion app allows you to get the news for investors in sectors such as biotech, finance, cannabis, and many more. Our app distills news into 500 characters or less so that you are always informed no matter where you are, or how tight your schedule is.
From mouse house to cell culture
Instead of studying medicine as originally planned, Mertl decided to study biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna (Boku): “It was clear to me early on that I wanted to study a natural science. Not least because of the white coats you’re allowed to wear,” she said.
Childhood in Burgenland provided the conditions: a passion for solving puzzles, a biology teacher with a passion for the subject and a supportive family. The first internship took the freshman to the “Maushaus” of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in Vienna, where hundreds of mice were bred in order to live as experimental animals.
Is it a coincidence that she is now working on the obsolescence of animal experiments in medical technology? “It definitely feels good to be on the other side now,” says Mertl. This was followed by a master’s degree at Boku and a doctorate at the Vienna University of Technology.
Today, Mertl works in the laboratory with cell cultures on which she tests potentially irritating substances processed in products such as hearing aids or prostheses. The difficulty is to bring extracts of these products into contact with the cells in such a way that their potential for skin irritation or sensitization of the immune system is recognized. Together with colleagues at the OFI and the Vienna University of Applied Sciences, she perfected exactly this procedure.
This methodology could be more reliable than experiments on animals
In a recently published study, the team showed that the methodology was able to detect even small amounts of the substances concerned in 95% of cases. “If we can offer something that works more reliably than a mouse model, then there is actually no reason to call for another animal experiment,” hopes Mertl. With this logic, she is now committed to integrating in vitro tests into ISO’s international catalogue of standards, the regulations of which are currently being revised.
Despite the continuous journey through the academic ranks, there was still time for the discovery of the world, a passion of the young scientist: “When travelling, my main concern is to leave the comfort zone. The three months she spent in Nepal after graduating with a bachelor’s degree still have an effect today: “When things get stressful, I think of the rice fields and the family where I spent a few weeks in Nepal. After that I am satisfied again.”
Work and satisfaction coincide, especially since the invested work is reflected in tangible successes. In October, she received the ACR Women Award from Austrian Cooperative Research, the umbrella organization of applied research institutes to which the OFI belongs. The fact that her own institute offers her the perfect balance between career and leisure time also ensures the right motivation. In two major research projects Mertl has already taken over project management.
DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Born2Invest, its management, staff or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information
This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the Company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the Company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the Company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.
First published in DiePresse, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
Although we made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translations, some parts may be incorrect. Born2Invest assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions or ambiguities in the translations provided on this website. Any person or entity relying on translated content does so at their own risk. Born2Invest is not responsible for losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy or reliability of translated information. If you wish to report an error or inaccuracy in the translation, we encourage you to contact us.
Why Disruptions Continue in the Cannabis Sector
Given its size, Canopy's results often provide an indication of the performance of the cannabis industry as a whole. Its...
Cost of Natural Gas Rises Globally, Says Acclaim Energy Mexico
The drop in natural gas production is partly the consequence of the cuts in oil production, given that a good...
Adofintech Celebrates Progress in Strengthening the Fintech Ecosystem
At the beginning of the year, Adofintech developed a work plan made up of four strategic guidelines: to promote the...
SeniorDomo Opens its Capital to Invergy B Side and Archipelago Next
91% of the capital will be used for marketing the company, while the remaining 9% will be used to improve...
REE Reflects on ESG Recovery at its 2021 Sustainability Workshops
The Red Electrica Group is initiating a new line of action in four major critical areas. The first is the...
Cannabis2 weeks ago
ArgenCann Will Be Part of Expo Cannabis 2021
Business2 weeks ago
Augmented Reality Investment Is Heating Up: Magic Leap, XRApplied
Cannabis2 weeks ago
Mexican Senators Say Cannabis Legalization Would Generate Employment and Will Put a Strain on Drug Trafficking
Featured2 weeks ago
E-mobility Startup Aviloo Achieves Record Crowdfunding on Green Rocket