This interview is part of a series of conversations with the people working at Mimetas. The 'I' in MIMETAS focuses on the personal side of the people who drive our world. Today we have a chat with Arnaud Nicolas, Associate Director TechCore at MIMETAS.
What is your favorite quote?
“We are made of star stuff.” - Carl Sagan
I like to rephrase it to: We are star dust. Every single atom in our bodies was formed by a dying, collapsing star before it exploded.
This resonates with me because we tend to get trapped in many small problems and conflicts in our day-to-day lives. Reminding yourself that your problem in a specific moment is somewhat insignificant to the vastness of the universe, is grounding.
As Associate Director TechCore, what does your average day working at MIMETAS look like?
As part of the TechCore Team, which consists of 7 other colleagues and me, I get to spend my day working with different departments on multiple ongoing projects. We are a small team, but everybody has their defined role, and we work really well together. Our skills and mindsets overlap and complement each other. We can’t replace one another, but everything overlaps enough to efficiently collaborate. Ultimately, this feeling of working together to accomplish something is very motivating.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during your professional career?
I’ve been at MIMETAS since 2014, joining just one year after MIMETAS was founded. If you want to work in a start-up and decide to stay once it develops into a scale-up, change is inevitable. In the early days of MIMETAS, we were a team of 10 individuals. In the small start-up environment, you know everyone very well, and everybody is involved in almost all meeting yielding significant discussions. During these developments efficiency is very important, and you truly feel like you are a big part of something. However, as a start-up expands, your role will change and evolve. Sometimes, your role may start to feel less relevant because you’re not used to novel tasks and responsibilities. This shift is an unavoidable consequence of growth.
If you could send a message to yourself 10 years ago, what would you tell the younger you?
If you like solving problems, you will face more than you can ultimately solve because eventually other people recognize your abilities and will ask for your help and input. This increased responsibility can become overwhelming. If you don’t reflect on your own accomplishments from time to time, you will only be stressed and not satisfied. Don’t judge yourself by what is left to be done but look at the successes you have cultivated and dedicate those to keep motivating yourself.
MIMETAS has achieved significant milestones over the past decade. Which milestone do you resonate with the most, and why?
Becoming the leader in complex 3D disease modeling with our advanced in vitro platform is the biggest milestone for me. Over the years, MIMETAS started to collaborate with more external parties and pharmaceutical companies, and we started to be involved in more and more projects. These collaborative efforts helped generate more knowledge. Then, our CFO Jacquelien asked a simple question: “Where does MIMETAS’ true value lie?” She pointed out that it wasn't simply in the plates or platforms we used, but rather in our capabilities and expertise to create state-of-the-art models and new technology and ultimately engaging these with other companies. We have established ourselves to be able to tackle the research problems big pharma companies have. This marked a transformative shift in the value we possessed – our knowledge and internal expertise became our greatest asset.
If MIMETAS had a theme song for its 10-year anniversary, what would it be and why?
I don’t have a particular song. However, it would have to be a fun song for doing karaoke, since doing karaoke together is something we love to do at, and it has been a MIMETAS tradition for a long time.