Link to the Case studies section of this website Link to the Pharmaceutical recruiters section of this website Link to the ABPI Exam website - opens in a new window Link to the ABPI website - opens in a new window Link to the Resources for schools website - opens in a new window

Industrial Placement Pharmacologist - Respiratory

I currently work in the fibrosis discovery performance unit within the biology respiratory department. Fibrosis is scar-like tissue formed in the lungs which causes shortness of breath and other health issues.
Cameron, Industrial Placement Pharmacologist - Respiratory
Cameron, Industrial Placement Pharmacologist - Respiratory

Tell me about your placement within the pharmaceutical industry:

My job entails designing and carrying out experiments, as well as analysing and reporting the data gathered from my experiments and presenting to my group and the wider areas of research and development.


Are you working on a particular project?

My project involves working on human lung tissue, assaying this tissue to look for specific markers within fibrotic disease. By doing this I can look for possible therapeutic benefits using compounds to induce a possible change in these marker expressions in the hope of taking a potential new medicine through clinical trials and onto the market.


What does your typical day involve?

My typical day depends on the amount of experiments planned for that day in the lab. These experiments could range from Elisa’s (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays), cell culture, immunohistochemistry or human tissue work. Out of lab work involves reading papers around my current subject area, writing up experiments, analysing data and attending meetings.


How long is the placement, and how far into it are you?

 I am currently 10 months into a year-long placement.


Why did you decide to take a placement in the pharmaceutical industry?

My placement is a fantastic experience, allowing me to research new therapies for diseases such as fibrosis.  

A placement year is also a good opportunity to improve lab and research skills especially before returning to university to begin my final year of my degree.

Working in the pharmaceutical industry for a year also looks great on a CV for future prospective interviewers to see. It is great way of discovering what I would like to in the future after I graduate. I could apply for a PhD, or continue to work in industry or move over to academia. 


What opportunities have you had during the placement to find out about working in the pharmaceutical industry?

As well as understanding how my own group works, I have had the opportunity to visit other departments other than my own, including chemistry and the animal unit, allowing me to see what other work goes on within the company. I have also visited other sites including one research site for a conference on a new experimental medicine that members of my department had previously worked on. I also visited the headquarters of the company for a focus group on industrial placement advertisements allowing me to see other areas outside of just research and development.

What qualifications do you have?

I have A-levels in biology, chemistry and maths and I am currently in the third year of studying a Masters degree in Pharmacology at the University of Bath.

Do you think it will be easier to find a job with an industrial placement on your CV?

I believe so. Whatever I decide to do after this placement year I would like to work in science I think having a year's working experience in the pharmaceutical industry is still very impressive.

A placement year also improves your skills such as working in a team, better communication etc. Deciding if that you like to work in science, a placement year certainly improves your lab skills compared to most graduates coming out of university without lab experience.

What do you think you will do when you complete your degree?

I would like to work in the pharmaceutical industry, hopefully with the same company I am working for now. I am, however, thinking of applying for a PhD before moving into industry after I have graduated.

Has the placement influenced your thoughts on your future career?

I think this placement year has influenced my thoughts about the future; it has given me a great insight into the workings of this company and has only made me want to work in science more. It has also made me keener to apply for a PhD in order to progress further within the company.

Any other comments on your placement?

With the company I am at currently employing approximately 100 placement students at this one site, there is a great social community. As well as this there is an onsite gym and sports facilities with in house tournaments for a range of sports over lunchtime and after work.

Case study

Clinical Data Manager

Panni, Clinical Data Manager, sitting at his deskI’m not just making a living but I’m making a difference, helping to develop new medicines.