In this episode of our Introducing the BioAnalyt Team series, we introduce you to Katrin Bernhöft, our Head of Product Development. Katrin was born in the small town of Zossen, located south of Berlin, German in the Brandenburg region. Katrin’s mother is a teacher and her father is a telecommunications engineer. She grew up in Wünsdorf, near Zossen, with her older sister, Nicole. Katrin recalls life in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), where they lived with little comfort in a small two-room building without a shower. When she was 5 years old, Katrin’s family moved to a house that her father built with the help of his friends. At that time, it was challenging to hire a construction company and building materials were assigned to families, yet Katrin recounts that she still has wonderful memories about her childhood and the time spent in their “small” house. She learned valuable life lessons that satisfaction and happiness does not necessarily depend on financial prosperity; important friendships count much more.
Katrin moved to Potsdam in 2004 where she began her studies at the University of Potsdam (Brandenburg, Germany). She studied biochemistry with a specialization in protein chemistry. In 2012, Katrin completed her studies with a Diploma degree in Biochemistry. During the last year of her Diploma thesis, Katrin supervised two Master’s students who were working on a joint project with the University of Potsdam and BioAnalyt. This was her introduction to BioAnalyt, and paved the way for her to join the BioAnalyt team in 2013 as a Method Development and Technical Support Manager. Katrin later rose in the ranks becoming BioAnalyt’s Product Development Manager, and is now the Head of Product Development.
As Head of Product Development, Katrin oversees the whole process of product development. She makes sure that current products are working optimally and investigates the scientific and technical principles leading to the conception of new products. Katrin is currently overseeing the development of iCheck Anemia, BioAnalyt’s new rapid, point-of-care device to test for the underlying causes of anemia using only a drop of blood. She says, “Product Development is a strenuous process which involves lots of research and trial-and-error to find the best way or principles forward. There are some weeks where you invest a lot into research and lab work based on a particular scientific principle, but realize on Friday afternoon that nothing is working and the whole week spent had not yielded any positive results. That can be very frustrating. On the flip side, when everything works, it’s wonderful! You get to see the fruit of your hard work, especially when you see the new product in the hands of users. It is just like raising kids, it’s hard work and can sometimes be frustrating, but in the end still wonderful.“ This motivates Katrin to continue steering product development at BioAnalyt.
Katrin is also motivated and inspired by her team. She says, “The team is always supportive, has creative inputs, and are involved in any initiative by the company. This creates a very friendly and familial atmosphere, which makes working together much easier than in most of these bigger, more strictly regulated companies.” Katrin is inspired by the vision of BioAnalyt, knowing that the outcomes of her work contribute to making the world a little better. This to her is very reassuring.
Outside of her work, Katrin likes to travel and discover new cultures and experiences with her husband. She loves hiking or biking outside in nature, as well as snorkeling. As an avid reader, Katrin also devours crime, romance, or fantasy novels during her hour-long commute to the office. Next time you are in Berlin, be sure to exchange favorite novels with Katrin!