In today’s blog we’re taking a look at the career of Dr Alejandra Solache, Senior Vice President of Research and Development for Abcam, who was recently named winner of our CiteAb Award for Significant Individual Impact 2021. 

Dr Solache’s career in research and development has spanned industry and academia, and has demonstrated her dedication, leadership and immense contribution to the life science reagent industry. 

A great deal of Dr Solache’s career has been dedicated to raising the quality and performance of reagents, both within her own company and across the sector. She has pioneered the development and adoption of sustainable and reproducible antibodies at scale, with the goal of directly helping to address the reproducibility crisis we’ve often reported on in the life sciences industry. 

To control and enhance reagent quality, Alejandra has focused her efforts on identifying and removing variables in the antibody development process. For example, to move away from animal-based production she successfully drove Millipore’s ascites conversion to in vitro production. At Abcam, she implemented a move from ascites-based to recombinant reagents, resulting in 20000+ recombinant monoclonal antibodies produced in-house. 

To ensure specificity, sensitivity and overall performance routinely and at scale, Dr Solache set up a series of validation programs, including CRISPR gene-edited knockout (KO) cell lines, the gold standard for antibody validation. Since 2015, 3000+ antibodies have been validated representing one of the largest antibody validation initiatives in the industry. 

Dr Solache has also driven the uptake of KO validation beyond Abcam by launching 2800+ ready-to-use, gene-edited cell lines and lysates, enabling researchers to validate their antibodies regardless of the provider. 

Dr Solache champions a cooperative effort between all parties involved, including suppliers, researchers, publishers, and grant-awarding bodies, to promote the importance of reagent quality and empower researchers to make informed choices. Alongside academia and industry thought-leaders, she has been actively involved in initiatives such as the Antibody Society’s validation webinars, peer-reviewed manuscripts, conferences aimed to improve reproducibility, the organisation and chairing of Abcam’s first ‘Reproducible Science Week’ virtual meeting and the open-science initiative, YCharOS, with the mission to thoroughly characterise commercially available antibodies and making data available in a free and transparent way.

Dr Andrew Chalmers, founder of CiteAb, said: “I wish to offer my personal congratulations to Dr Alejandra Solache on winning the CiteAb Award for Significant Individual Impact. Through her dedicated focus on the quality and reproducibility of reagents, Dr Solache has shaped the development of the industry for the better, and continues to do so. I wish her continued success in her new role as SVP of R&D at Abcam.” 

On receiving her award, Dr Alejandra Solache, SVP of R&D, Abcam, said: “I am passionate about promoting the importance of reagent quality across the life science sector. It is an honor to receive this award and I would like to share it with the many people across the industry that I have had the pleasure and privilege to collaborate with throughout my career. I would like to acknowledge my colleagues at Abcam for their relentless efforts in placing the customer at the heart of all we do and the Company’s long-term commitment to raising industry standards.”