Meet the team: Lab Manager Gunilla Törnqvist

30 januari 2021

As Immuneed has grown, so has the intensity of the lab work. We sat down with lab manager Gunilla Törnqvist, who found a few minutes in her busy schedule to explain the challenges – and rewards – of finding answers for Immuneed customers.

Q: You’ve worked in Immuneed’s lab for several years. What got you there?

A: I came into contact with one of Immuneed’s founders, Sara Mangsbo, through a mutual friend in 2015. I had just moved back to this part of Sweden after my time at Umeå University, where I had gotten my degree in technical biology and worked doing stem cell research. When Sara told me about Immuneed and the research the company was doing, I was immediately interested. The Immuneed platform, above all, was something that I really wanted to work with. It was the technology that excited me.

Q: What did you find so fascinating about the Immuneed platform?

A: I think it was how practical and hands-on the method is, and how capable it is of providing so many answers. During my 10 years in the research lab at Umeå University, I had come into contact with many different methods and developed strong lab routines, but I was always working with prepped blood and cultured cells. Working with whole blood in this way was new, and it was exciting to put all my experience to work with such a fantastic new method.

Q: How did you go from joining the Immuneed lab to managing it?

A: I was actually Immuneed’s first full-time employee, and I had to learn on my feet. My colleague went on maternity leave shortly after I started, so very quickly it was just me running things. It wasn’t long before we began expanding and were more in the lab, but I had grown into the role and it was natural for me to continue as lab manager.

Q: What do your responsibilities cover today?

A: I often get involved with a project at a fairly early stage, providing input as to what’s feasible to do in the lab and which approaches we should use. Once a project is ready to start, it’s my role to plan the timing and the routines, and then to keep the schedule we set. I’m also the one who communicates with the customer about things like how much of their substance we need, how pure it has to be and how it should be handled. Since all those practical aspects are my department, it takes a mix of science and people skills.

Q: Is that mix of skills your strongest asset?

A: No, my biggest strength is keeping track of the different lab routines and seeing that we can juggle many balls at the same time while maintaining our high standard of quality! The more readouts we’re looking at, the more intense our days become. Fortunately, we’re efficient and synchronized as a lab team. We can have an extremely hectic schedule without a minute of downtime, and yet we still get it right.

Q: What makes such a hectic environment the right place for you?

A: It can be a challenge to keep everything in your head – so that everything ends up in the right tube, so to speak. We tailor our projects for each Immuneed customer, which means each project we run in the lab is unique. If I’m honest, though, it’s best when there are many different and advanced things going on at the same time. For me it’s a rush getting everything to click and turn out well, so that each customer gets the answers they need. That’s really when I enjoy it most.


Sofia Öling
Commercial Operations Manager

Sofia is responsible for the commercial operations at Immuneed, with a strong focus on strategic marketing & customer excellence. Previously, she worked as Customer Success Manager for a technical software startup and brought her strong knowledge in customer relations management and digitalization with her to Immuneed. She graduated from the University of Gothenburg with a Master's degree in Business Creation and Entrepreneurship in Biomedicine.

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