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Science Careers Outside the Lab: Healthcare

While there are many lab-based roles for graduates interested in working in healthcare, there are also a variety of options for students who prefer to use their skills and experience in non-lab environments.

Date/Time: 16 March 2021, 11:00-12:00

Venue: Online

Join this session to hear from science professionals and Newcastle University graduates now working in non-lab based roles in healthcare, with a focus on roles in clinical science and clinical trials. 

This session will help you:

  • learn about a range of non-lab roles for science graduates in healthcare
  • chat with science professionals and Newcastle University graduates working in this area
  • understand how to enhance your chances of success when applying for clinical science and clinical trials related positions

Panellists: 

Amy Clarkson, Trainee Genomic Counsellor, NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP)

I studied Human Sciences at University and began training as a Social Worker after this. I enjoyed my training but found that the role was not for me. I had wanted to become a genetic counsellor for a while, and very luckily opportunity came up to join the STP in Newcastle the following year! I’m now in my third and final year of training - I’m based at the Centre for Life in Newcastle, but attend university in Manchester for a few weeks each year for the MSc component of the course. I spent my first year in a range of areas within the Trust, and from second year have been based predominantly in the clinical genetics department. As a trainee Genomic Counsellor, I am seeing patients in clinic regularly, alongside the other work such as competencies and writing up my dissertation.

Paola Cognigni, Trainee Bioinformatician, NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP)

My background is in Biology, where I focused on genomics at university and later completed a PhD in Zoology. I spent about a decade working as a researcher in physiology and neuroscience, analysing animal poop and trying to teach tricks to fruit flies. After a while, I realised that I didn’t really find completely abstract questions all that fulfilling anymore, and applied for the STP in Newcastle. I had originally picked the Genomics specialism thinking that my background would be a better fit, but I was selected instead for my second choice, Bioinformatics, which I can now say is the most fun STP specialism (sorry, Genomics people!). My work is a hybrid between computer science and medical research – I develop custom software for clinical use, maintain datasets of medical data, build algorithms for data mining and computer vision, and get to collaborate with clinicians, researchers, NHS analysts and computer scientists. My role isn’t patient-facing, but I still get to participate directly in many projects that improve the quality of their care, efficiency of services and safety.

Katie Marshall, Trainee Medical Physicist, NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP)

I studied for an integrated master’s in Astrophysics at the University of Kent and afterwards went on to do a PhD in Theoretical Physics at Newcastle University. At the time I thought I wanted to pursue a career in academia, but around half way through the PhD I realised that wasn’t for me. After looking at my options and having enjoyed taking a module in medical physics at undergrad, I discovered the STP and thought this would be a good fit for me. I applied for the first time in 2019 but wasn’t successful that year, so I went away and got more work experience and applied again for 2020. I’m now training primarily at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle (although parts of the training can be as far south as Middlesbrough or as far west as Carlisle) and after completing my first year of rotations I will choose which area of medical physics I want to specialise in for the rest of the programme.

Tomike Adeniji, Trainee Cardiac Scientist, NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP)

Tomike studied Biology at Aberystwyth University. She is still based in Wales and is currently in her final year of training in performing and reporting cardiac ultrasound, as part of the STP Cardiac Science specialism. 

Jenn Walker & Emily Swinburne, Newcastle Clinical Trials Unit

Newcastle Clinical Trials Unit (NCTU) was established in 2003 and supports the design, development, delivery and analysis of high quality clinical trials. These investigate the efficacy, effectiveness and efficiency of therapeutic, surgical, and clinical interventions. We collaborate with investigators as early as possible in the design process to facilitate the development of high quality studies seeking funding. We support trials from design to analysis, interpretation, reporting and dissemination in conjunction with statisticians, health economists and clinical teams.

Jenn Walker, Senior Trial Manager

My current role involves providing leadership in clinical trial management to enable effective development and delivery of a portfolio of trials across several therapeutic areas. This involves ensuring trials are managed in line with sponsor, research governance and regulatory requirements. The role involves working in a high-pressure environment, solving problems, mitigating risks and working to tight deadlines. I also provide line management to Trial Managers within the unit, and contribute to and support ongoing training and development for individuals as well as the unit as a whole.

I started my career achieving a BSc Hons in Psychology at Leeds University, then went on to work at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as an administrative assistant. Enjoying work in the research management environment, I worked hard and attended all available training opportunities, progressing within the department up to Research & Development Facilitator. After five years’ experience I progressed to the Newcastle Clinical Trials Unit where I spent over four years as a Trial Manager, and to my now current role as Senior Trial Manager in 2018.

View Jenn's LinkedIn profile

Emily Swinburne, QA Manager

My role as the QA Manager involves overseeing all trials within the unit, providing guidance and advice on regulatory, ethical, procedural and quality standards. I started my career by attending Sunderland University where I did a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science. After finishing my degree I worked in private industry before starting a job in Newcastle University, as a Research Technician, in the Institute of Cellular Medicine. From this role I progressed to a Biomedical Technician, Clinical Trial Specialist (Advance Therapies) then onwards to my current role.

I studied part time for three years while working to complete a Master’s in Clinical Research at Newcastle University. As part of my professional development I became a Registered Scientist through the Science Council and completed the Team Leaders Programme through the Chartered Management Institute. 

How to attend

This session is open to all current students, recent graduates and early career researchers. Click on the button below to login and book your place via MyCareer. 

We encourage you to read our Virtual Events Code of Conduct to find out more about online etiquette during the session. Please note the session is due to be recorded.

We want our services to be accessible to our students and graduates. Please get in touch via MyCareer you have any specific requirements, eg an alternative format, communication support, or other adjustment, to access our workshop/event.