Katie Tsao

JAX® Mice, Clinical & Research Services, Project Management

 Katie Tsao

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, family and pets… anything goes! 

I am back home in Maine right now after I was temporarily misplaced in California for 19 years. It is a joke, sort of ;). I grew up in the local Ellsworth / Bar Harbor area. I started at JAX when I was 18, fresh out of High School. When JAX opened in Sacramento, I jumped at the opportunity to go out and help set up a new facility. What a change in pace and lifestyle. I was about ready to come home to Maine when I met my now husband of almost 16 years. I met many great people and watched as JAX grew and grew out in California. At the start of 2020, we executed our plan to move to Maine. Oddly, with all the chaos in the world at this time, it was the perfect timing for us. We sold our home with ease and purchased our new home, a cabin in the woods on almost 13 acres. We added a garage and small addition to the house and have started opening the land for gardens. Our slice of paradise. 

What hobbies or interests do you enjoy in your free time?

We use to go tent camping all the time in California to escape the crazy life, now we are living the camping life, with all the luxuries of a home. So now, we are focused on the land. I had a very nice backyard garden in California on my little tiny piece of land, now I plan to have a very large garden area with greenhouses and the like. My goal is to grow artichokes in Maine. I really miss gardening year-round. Other hobbies are cooking, skiing, photography and travel. We use to cruise a lot, but well, you know. We are waiting to see how the cruise industry shakes out, so for now, just using our timeshare to show my husband New England.

What do you do really well? Is there anything you wish you could improve?

I love to cook especially fresh from my garden. Leaving California and missing so much of the variety of foods they had out there has caused me to learn how to make so many of my favorite dishes. I can always use improvement, but I am getting better. I love Halloween and I am really good at creating one-of-a-kind costumes with detailed makeup.

What’s an accomplishment you are really proud of? Is there something you want to do, but haven't done yet?

I kicked Cancer!!!! I am a 7-year breast cancer survivor and I could not have done it without my husband, family and friends' support.

Let’s talk about your career journey. What inspired you to go into your current field? What first brought you to JAX? Has your job changed since you joined?

I was fresh out of High School and was told to go to JAX. I started in the mouse room and just strived to learn and do more. I fell in love with the planning aspect of the breeding colonies and found myself in the early development of the custom breeding department, which grew to become Breeding Services and I love being a Project Manager. I get to work directly with clients as well as the operations team. I also lead a team of project managers and work closely with them to help them be the best they can be. It's all about people and building relationships. What is there not to love?

How do explain your current work to others? What’s your favorite thing about it?

I save the world, one mouse at a time!!!