May we present: Dr. Paul Gassner

Since the establishment of the Minitube Human Division in January 2021, it has been led with great commitment by Dr. Paul Gassner. With his many years of experience, both hands-on and on the supplier side, he has closely witnessed the development of technologies and built a strong network in reproductive medicine. If you don't know Paul yet, you can catch up now with our interview.

First, let's take a look back: What academic and professional stages did you go through before you decided to join Minitube?
I am a biologist by education and did my PhD studies in cytogenetics, on mouse spermatocytes. This was followed by a one-year qualification as an environmental advisor before I was lucky to be employed by the Institute of Reproductive Medicine at the University of Münster in 1996. I started there as a research assistant in the IVF lab - a job including a lot of embryology and practical work in human IVF. In 2001 I moved to Regensburg to continue working in the IVF, andrology and endocrinology labs of a private IVF center for almost three more years.
It was there that I got the offer to join MTG, a company located close to Landshut and specialized on the full range of products for human IVF, supplying customers worldwide. Starting there in 2004 as Sales Director, the job involved a lot of travelling and I have seen many countries including those which are no touristic destinations. In 2012/13 I became a shareholder and general manager in MTG before Vitrolife acquired the company in summer 2016. After a name change into “Vitrolife GmbH”, I continued as General Manager until end of 2020. The rest of the story extends into the present: since January 2021 I have been responsible for the new “Human Division” at Minitube.

What are your main tasks and responsibilities as Head of Human Division at Minitube?
The tasks are manifold and interesting: I am still enjoying customer contact and customer support very much. Whether it is distributors or end users - we listen carefully to their requests, complaints and suggestions and turn them into product improvement or new product ideas where possible. This is great fun because product development includes research, phantasy, and collaboration with many colleagues of various expertise. Besides this I am also involved in marketing, a highly creative field of generating text, videos etc. A task demanding a lot of time is product approval: actually, I underestimated the complexity and vastness of regulatory affairs. I am even happier to be supported by two highly qualified and experienced colleagues now who are taking over most of this work, so I can turn into a supporter for specialist questions.

Together with your team, you make every effort to improve our customers' work processes through innovative, reliable, and high-quality products. What projects are you currently focusing on? 
There are detailed projects for improving many of the products Minitube has been selling into human IVF during recent years. Part of them has been completed, others are pending but will turn into reality. Besides this, we are full of new and good ideas for both technical and consumable products, partly based on collaboration with external partners. Realization of some of them has started, however, talking about that in more detail would be premature.

You once said that you would like all Minitube customers to associate our company name with quality, user orientation and perfect service. How is this aspiration implemented in your daily work at Minitube?
The framework of European regulations and international standards for medical devices is pushing every actor in the field towards quality assurance, strict validation, and risk mitigation. This needs to be documented and proven to notified bodies and authorities. Needless to mention, Minitube is following this path, e.g., by setting up two new ISO compliant cleanrooms for production. This, however, leaves little space to stand out. What makes a difference in my perception is the way of collaborating and communicating with the users of our products in daily routine. Openness, prompt reactions, equal and individual focus on every request as well as persistence and reliability in following up – this is the “added value” we try to live towards our customers in an unspoken consensus. The feedback we receive teaches me that we are on the right track...

Last but not least, we are curious about a few private insights. How do you spend your time when you are not working for Minitube?
Biology, specifically an interest in reptiles, amphibians and insects has been my passion since childhood. I have been maintaining that for decades as an (almost fanatic) hobby of keeping and breeding Australian lizards and Mediterranean tortoises. Hiking in areas where nature has been preserved is another favorite of how to spend my time (always hoping to find and photograph one of the species I am interested in). There is no need to travel far: not even 200 km from Landshut, the areas along the German-Czech border are offering plenty of wildlife reserves to explore.
At work, I spend a lot of time on the computer. The perfect contrast to this is manual activities ("do it yourself"). I feel rewarded right away by looking at what I created with my own hands. If there is still a gap, I will fill it with reading about recent history.
May we present: Dr. Paul Gassner