What do you do for Apeel Sciences?
I facilitate and coordinate the various efforts of the scientific and administrative divisions of the company. It's really gratifying work— knowing that I'm playing a role in supporting and enabling our team members to get important aspects of our work done! I also lead the InvisipeelTM development, which is our alternative to pesticides for protecting fruits and vegetables. I'm a scientist at heart, so it's truly wonderful to work with our team to tackle this important problem.
What's your area of expertise?
I studied Engineering Chemistry (which is a kind of dual degree in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry) as a Bachelor's student, and then pursued a PhD in Chemistry. My research focused the synthesis and applications of glass-based films with well-defined nanostructures. One of these applications was, for example, the design of a fiber-optic sensor to remotely detect metal pollutants in water. I decided to make a pretty big change in area of study for my postdoctoral work as I wanted to focus more heavily on energy- and environment-related themes. I researched ways to produce electricity from the breakdown of biomass in wastewater by naturally-occurring microorganisms present in wastewater.
Why did you want to work at Apeel?
The potential to make such a hugely positive impact on food security and the well-being of our environment is what brings us all together at Apeel! To dedicate myself to our mission has been immensely fulfilling, and to be able to do that while having a say in the direction of our work alongside all of our incredibly talented colleagues is of unparalleled awesomeness (there is no word that can truly capture the feeling!). I love that we have a very 'flat' organizational structure, where we all have a hand in shaping our collective work.
What motivates you the most each day?
Everything. Big and small. Down to the last, seemingly minute detail. My teammates, the science, the business development, building relationships with our partners, nurturing and strengthening our workplace culture, safety and compliance, and so forth. Everything. It all matters, and if any one of those things is out of place, it holds us back from giving our best to the world.
What words best describe you?
Enthusiastic, curious, and loyal.
What would we never guess about you?
I love learning new languages! Being able to communicate is so central to being able to connect with others, which is really important to me. Non-verbal communication goes an astoundingly long way, but having some words to build upon gets you off the ground more quickly! I am fluent in English and French, speak Cantonese with my family, and have dabbled in some Vietnamese, Japanese, Spanish, and these days Italian. It's a lot of fun!
Jenny Du facilitates the efforts of Apeel's scientific and administrative divisions. She also leads the InvisipeelTM project, developing a platform for molecularly camouflaging the surfaces of fruits and vegetables, protecting them from pests.