How Aurora Scientific is Empowering the Research Community: An Interview with General Manager Matt Borkowski

Interview by Hayleigh Culliton

As part of an initiative with the inaugural American Physiological Society Summit, we had the pleasure of sitting down with some familiar faces to discuss innovations, discoveries, and future directions. This interview features Matt Borkowski, newly appointed General Manager (GM) of Aurora Scientific. He and I sat down to chat about his journey to becoming a GM, the company’s approach to innovation, and their commitment to providing customer support through educational resources.

APS Summit 2023

Introduce yourself and describe Aurora Scientific to someone who doesn’t know you.

Matthew Borkowski, Aurora Scientific

I’m Matt Borkowski, the General Manager of Aurora Scientific, a small company based in Aurora, Ontario. We manufacture research instruments and test systems primarily for muscle physiology, neuroscience, and material science research. Our equipment is used by basic and applied researchers in academia and the pharmaceutical industry, and we see it as our duty to support them throughout their research process. With equipment in over 40 countries, we’re proud of the discoveries our equipment has enabled and often refer to ourselves as ‘the little engine that could’.

Tell us about your journey to your current position as GM, what that looks like and what it means to you.

I started at Aurora as an entry-level production/design engineer and learned about our instruments under the tutelage of former President Geoff Chandler. When I joined, the company was experiencing significant growth and I was soon exposed to the research community we serve through scientific conferences, much like this one. Creating a connection between our instruments and how they could help in someone’s lab was a formative moment for me. I began to focus more on sales and customer support and held various positions in operations and R&D before becoming the full-time Sales Manager nearly 10 years ago. After helping to open our branch offices in Europe and Hong Kong, and with the company continuing to grow, I am now the General Manager. My focus is on supporting our team so that Aurora Scientific can continue to serve the research community at the highest level.

So, how does Aurora Scientific approach innovation and staying ahead of market trends?

Innovation in our field often begins in the lab, and the real innovators are the scientists who work tirelessly to make the next great discovery. Our job as instrument manufacturers is to understand the challenges they face and create tools that make their work easier, more repeatable, and more accurate. The idea for the next instrument rarely occurs in a vacuum, but rather through an iterative process of better understanding existing tools and the barriers researchers face. On the other hand, we also recognize that electronics, sensors, and technology are evolving faster than ever before. That’s why we’re constantly looking for new chips, sensors, and tools to add to our engineering toolbox, so we can continue to support the scientific community and drive progress forward.

Experimental Muscle Mechanics in Aging and Disease

Dr. Rizwan Qaisar and Matt Borkowski dive into experimental protocols used to measure muscle function and mechanics for in vivo and in vitro research. The focus of this webinar is on the mechanisms underlying muscle impairment associated with aging and age-related diseases.  WATCH ON DEMAND

How does Aurora Scientific serve the research community?

Aurora Scientific places a great emphasis on providing support to our customers. As a company of lifetime learners, we strive to understand and learn as much as possible about the research that our customers perform to ensure that we can meet their needs. At the same time, we believe that support is a two-way street. To improve the service and support we provide, we are committed to growing our library of educational resources, including publication libraries, support videos, webinars, live demos, and in-person talks and lectures. We believe that this will not only help people to better understand our products but also serve as a valuable resource for researchers to learn more about the work their colleagues in the field are doing.

I know you collaborate locally with MHRC, do you have other collaborations?

We collaborate informally with certain CROs; and internationally with other laboratories as well, particularly through our Hong Kong branch. There’s a number of labs that we work with where we’ve had informal training collaborations with the lab PI or a student in the lab. We do really want to work with them and teach them, you know? We want our little community to keep growing and stay consistent in that way.

Investigating muscle weakness and fatigue with Christopher Perry and Arthur Cheng

The Muscle Health Research Centre (MHRC) is home to many researchers who push the boundaries of muscle physiology. For this blog, we summarize interviews with two professors from the MHRC who investigate the mechanisms of muscle weakness and fatigue: Christopher Perry and Arthur Cheng. READ MORE…

Is there anything that particularly excites you about the industry right now?

From the amazing sensitivity of sensors to the jaw-dropping power of software, the physiological research industry is seeing incredible technological advancements. However, what really excites us is the growing collaboration between basic and clinical researchers, all working towards the common goal of improving health outcomes for everyone. As a company that primarily serves basic scientists, we’re thrilled to see clinical researchers becoming more aware of our tools. This growing awareness is a sign of a more integrated research environment, and as lifelong learners ourselves, we’re excited to support research in any way we can and be a part of this exciting movement towards better health for all.

Where do you see the company in five, and even ten, years?

Well, you know, it’s always tempting to give an exciting sci-fi futuristic version, like having an office on Mars maybe, but I hope that we’ll continue to provide the same great service and support that people have come to count on. Our focus is on making our products more turnkey, easier to use, and increasingly reliable to meet the challenging demands of the young researchers of tomorrow, both in the lab and when it comes to publishing their findings.

Learn more about Aurora Scientific

Aurora Scientific

Aurora Scientific supports the scientific community in its goal of research and discovery by providing precision instrumentation of the highest quality design, construction and functionality for Muscle Physiology, Material Science and Neuroscience applications. Our commitment to quality products, to understanding our clients’ experimental needs, to superior support and service and to a corporate sense of responsibility and integrity, have earned us the trust and support of researchers around the world. We are honoured to be a part of the cycle of discovery that has the potential to improve health and change lives.

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About the Author

Hayleigh Culliton

Hayleigh Culliton is an accomplished scientific marketer with a background in Biology and Nursing. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Trent University, where she developed a strong passion for science communication. With 6 years of experience in scientific marketing, she has helped companies in the life sciences industry develop and execute effective marketing strategies and #ShareScience.