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Q&A with Dr Mark Kelly – Chief Scientist/Chemist at Biodx

Before joining Biodx in 2007 Dr Kelly spent 14 years at CSIR in various roles from Project Leader in the fields of Materials Technology and Building Technology to Researcher in their Green Buildings Programme. He also spent two years at Impala Platinum Refineries as a Development Chemist.

Dr Kelly holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree majoring in chemistry.

What is your role at Biodx?

Officially I’m the Chief Scientist/Chemist but I would also say I’m the custodian of technology, providing technological input to other members of the company as and when required. Being on board from the beginning I’ve always been involved in the strategising, especially with the day to day technological inputs in terms of testing work, setting parameters, requirements and legalities as far as I can.

Looking back on your career to where you are now what has been the biggest shift in your thinking?

I don’t think this has shifted much. One thing that will fundamentally never change is my concern with the environment and what we as humans do to it. When I was at varsity I was very concerned with nuclear power generation but now, looking at the pros and cons and geological problems of hydro and coal power, my thinking has changed. I’ve definitely become more conservative in my thinking, realising that nuclear power does have its place.

What drives you to bring Biodx to the world?

There is integrity at Biodx that will benefit the world. We don’t claim to have all the answers but if we don’t have the answers we say so. We have an ethical aspect to our business which drives us at all times.

What do you think you’ll do differently post Covid-19?

Until we’ve acquired a ‘herd immunity’ and because of the lack of availability of resources to treat people I’ll try and avoid situations where I’ll attract Covid-19. Whether we like it or not it’s with us and we’ll have to deal with it. Eventually we’ll get back to going stadiums and restaurants and doing whatever drives us, which is normally greed. In ten years’ time Covid-19 will be something we look back on as we now do with the Spanish Flu in the early 1900s. I know I will die sometime – but whether this is from Covid-19, rheumatoid arthritis or cancer I don’t know. There will be modifications in the short time but hopefully we won’t have to go through sanitising tunnels to get into supermarkets. What won’t be the same post Covid-19 is the way we see the haves and the have-nots.

How important is the Biodx ethos to your everyday life?

Our ethos is a very important part of the business and lives. We have a responsibility which is driven by both our CEO Burt Rodrigues and myself. When we say we will never stop working to develop better solutions to enable a better world, it’s far more than just a catch-phrase for us. It’s what drives us.

What does it mean to be part of the Biodx team?

One of the major motivations for working at Biodx is to see it trading in Europe as a viable company.  It’s worthwhile for Biodx to succeed not just from a commercial aspect but as a valuable contribution to society.

When did you last go yessssssss! and why?

An easy one – when I heard someone say they were going to open the bottle stores! On a more serious note I once ran a marathon at Suikerbosrand on a very misty morning. As I came up a ridge there was a vista of grassland, where the sun was rising through the mist. In there in front of us were a herd of antelope. It was just fantastic. That’s worth going yesssssss for…