Meet Our Alumni
MY SALFORD STORY
BSc Pharmaceutical Science with Professional Experience
Associate Research Scientist
What course did you study and where?
BSc Pharmaceutical Science with Professional Experience at the University of Salford
How did you get your job?
As part of my studies at the University of Salford, I took a year out to gain professional experience at Kidscan Research Organisation. My placement was a rewarding experience - I was involved in synthesising compounds and evaluating their biological activities through microbiology testing and cell culture, as well as writing a placement report and highlighting my findings to lecturers and peers.
Working at Kidscan helped me decide what to study for my dissertation. I investigated the roles of autophagy and endoplasmic reticulum stress in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. At this stage, I gained lots of experience working with cell culture and utilised my aseptic techniques.
After finishing my exams, I went on to search for jobs related to what I'd studied during my degree. I came across the associate research scientist position, applied immediately and went for an interview, which I successfully passed.
What’s a typical day like as an Associate Research Scientist?
My role involves screening client compounds using high and low throughput in vitro toxicity assays, maintaining cell culture lines, assay development and validation within safety regulations, processing data and reporting results and monitoring as well as maintaining laboratory consumables.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. Colleagues are very warm and welcoming. We have different assays that are carried out upon the clients’ preference. There is several high content screening equipment which are used to showcase fluorescence imaging which can be used to analyse multi-parametric indicators of cytotoxicity. It’s very exciting! Moreover, I enjoy utilising my time by researching, reading journals and shadowing senior scientists to pick up new techniques.
What are the challenges?
This is the start of my scientific career, so getting to terms with certain assays has been challenging. However, I use my initiative to overcome any challenges, and can always ask for assistance from other members of my team.
In what way is your degree relevant?
My degree gave me the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the field, sharpened my focus towards my academic and practical work and allowed me to develop transferable skills which I utilise in my present role.
In my placement and final year I gained a lot of experience working with cell culture, treating novel compounds and existing drugs to determine cell viability, see the toxicities and measure the cell health profile.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
I am a recent graduate and although I have been training for over 2 months, I can say that my role has developed in a sense that I have learnt to independently set up tasks and experiments. Although I have lots to learn, I’m very excited to continue to learn and grow. For my career ambitions, I would love to see myself in a senior position taking on more responsibility and to be able to find a solution to improve the quality of life for patients.
How do I become a research scientist?
Studying for a degree is always stressful but always keep faith and be strong. Stay patient with your work, never doubt yourself and you will reap success in the future. Actively seek out work experience as this will benefit you in the near future.