They are researching to develop better medications and ways to end hunger. Two Bayer employees share what motivates them to work for a major corporation and why they stand behind their company, also in the context of a campaign.
Lian Gelis laces up her running shoes. Regular exercise is important for the heart and circulation. Especially when your family history puts you at a disadvantage. Her uncle died of a heart attack at 59. Her grandfather has survived two heart attacks. Her other uncle will be having a bypass soon. Gelis is fighting against cardiovascular diseases whether running or on the job.
Worldwide, one in four people dies from cardiovascular disease. “I think that’s something we have to change,” she emphasizes. Gelis, 37, is a project manager in clinical development at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in Leverkusen and is working on exactly that goal.
She works with her team to research medicines that make better treatment possible. “Of course, cardiovascular research is of special concern to me because of my family history. But I’m also convinced that I can add value for a really large segment of humanity.”
And of course, you want there to be treatment options that will save more people.
Lian Gelis has been featured since October 2019 on posters in Germany for the #voranbringen campaign to bolster Bayer’s image. She’s proud of being part of a team at an innovative company. “I can make such a difference there.” But when you do research at a large company, you also have to be ready for criticism.
When Gelis tells people at parties where she works, she’s often met with criticism. “I hear things like, ‘You’re only developing drugs to make lots of money.’ On the other hand, however, everyone has a family member or friend who has had a heart attack. And of course, you want there to be treatment options that will save more people.”
Meanwhile, in a lab in Monheim, laboratory manager Daniel Ellerbrock is performing Crop Science research. Like Gelis, he’s working on something that will benefit humanity and ensure its survival. He also stands behind Bayer and is part of the #voranbringen campaign.
“I am convinced that we’re doing good work here,” Ellerbrock remarks. That’s why he is speaking out about crop protection and why he and his colleagues are raising awareness about it at universities. “It worries me to death when people say that we don’t need crop protection. That’s simply not true. We need it to ensure that all people have access to enough high-quality food.”
Of course, safety plays an important role. Crop protection products cannot come with unacceptable risks. That’s where Ellerbrock and his team come in. “In our lab we produce degradation products of crop protection products; these come about when crop protection products are applied to a plant or fall to the ground and then degrade. We then test these degradation products for potential hazards. We’re a small cog in the machine of the company’s overall system for environmental and human safety. We work with other colleagues to ensure that all threats and risks are completely evaluated.”
I have no interest in developing or launching products that could put me or my family in danger.
Ellerbrock also faces criticism again and again. “When people say, ‘You’re putting crop protection products untested out into the field,’ it makes me furious. If that were the case, my job wouldn’t exist. I’m an ordinary person like everyone else. I eat the same things as everyone else. I have no interest in developing or launching products that could put me or my family in danger.”