I have a university degree (BSc) in Biology from the University of Birmingham, and a doctorate (PhD) from the University of Manchester
After I finished my PhD I worked for Cancer Research UK. Then I moved to Copenhagen and started working at Copenhagen University and a small biotechnology company. From there I moved to my current job at LEO Pharma.
Open Innovation Liaison Scientist
Favourite thing to do in my job: Aside from creating explosions, my favourite thing to do in science is to talk about science. I love to help people to understand science, which is what I’m lucky to do as a job
Science communicator living in the capital of Scandinavia
I am a communicator who went into a science career a while back, and learned loads about biology and research. I work in a pharmaceutical company which is creates medicines for people with skin diseases. My boyfriend is a scientist too, and last year we moved from the UK to Copenhagen in Denmark. When I’m not communicating science, I enjoy running and going to the gym. I’m also a big food lover, so most evenings you can find me in the kitchen making a mess.
Open Innovation Liaison Scientist – LEO Pharma
Skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis affect more than two people in every hundred. These diseases don’t have a cure, but they can make people’s lives miserable with itching and flaking skin. My company (LEO Pharma) does research to understand why people get these nasty diseases, and to find medicines to cure them. We are a small-ish pharmaceutical company, which means that when we find a promising medicine, we can test it completely and go through all the stages necessary to get the medicine approved and make it available for doctors to prescribe it for people who need it. All of that needs to start from one great idea though, and although we have lots of extremely skilled and knowledgeable scientists in our team, we also want to see if anyone else out there has a great idea to create a new medicine to help people. My job is to try to find those clever, external people and help them to understand how fantastic it is to work together, bringing their fantastic science all the way through the complicated testing process to the people who need the medicines most. In other words, I’m a bit of a middleman (or rather, middlewoman) helping people outside of my company to understand our science, and helping my colleagues inside the company to understand an external partner’s science.
My Typical Day
…goes best when there’s a steady supply of tea
I get up at seven every morning, and rush to get ready in time to catch an early train. Like most Copenhageners, my bike is an essential tool in life, but my commute to the office is pretty long so I do some of the journey by bike, and the rest by train. I really enjoy the 20 minutes I spend on the train every morning, because it gives me the chance to plan my day or read my book.
I spend a lot of my time answering emails and preparing talks or presentations. I also help my colleagues who don’t speak English as their native language to phrase things in the best possible way.
After eating lunch in the canteen, I often have skype meetings with academic researchers or other professionals around the world (sometimes I have to stay late, or get up early to talk to them, depending on their timezone). A big part of my job is to analyse scientific data that we have produced in collaboration with an external partner, to decide if it looks likely that it could benefit patients in the future. Most often the result is not positive, because that’s usually how drug discovery works, so I spend a lot of time communicating with our external partners, explaining why the results don’t look promising, and how they might be able to improve their potential drug in the future. Lots of people think that pharmaceutical companies are only interested in making a profit, but what I do is the complete opposite! I offer scientists the opportunity to use our resources for free, to see if their new drug or idea might be helpful for patients. If they take their idea to another company, like a competitor, there’s nothing I can do about that, but I work on the basis that if we treat people well by being honest and open, then they will do the same in return.
We have a running club and a gym on-site, so I go running at 4pm with colleagues twice a week. I have a final cup of tea and try to get any remaining jobs finished before I head back home to spend time with my boyfriend. Copenhagen is a really interesting city, with loads of cool restaurants, trendy bars and interesting places to hang out. Two or three times a week we eat out, often with friends.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Chatty, enthusiastic, passionate
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
While I was wprking on my PhD I developed a number of hands-on school workshops about science. My favourite was the CSI day, when we would set up a ‘crime scene’ in a school room and spend all day solving the crime together, using scientific tests and the evidence available.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My biology and physics teachers in school (Mrs Jones and Mrs Church)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Never, ever – I was too scared of being shouted at to do anything rebellious
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A radio presenter: I could talk all day long, even if no one was listening
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Scuba diving with a whale shark