Tell me about your placement within the pharmaceutical industry?
It is a 12 month lab based placement in Cambridge. I work in the Cell Sciences group within the Biopharmaceutical Development Department. I am also working with the Downstream Processing scientists in the same Department.
Are you working on a particular project?
Yes, the project focuses on studying the influence of cell culture parameters on monoclonal antibody aggregate formation.
What does your typical day involve?
It depends on the stage of the experiments. Most of my time I have spent in the laboratory running 1 litre bioreactors or performing size exclusion chromatography. I have also been spending time analysing the data on the computer at my desk as well as attending various meeting to discuss the progress of my work.
How long is the placement, and how far into it are you?
I am in the last month of my 12 month placement.
Why did you decide to take a placement in the Pharmaceutical Industry?
My primary reason was to see what it is like to work in the Pharmaceutical Industry and how different it is from the work done in Academia. I was also very eager to gain more lab experience, learn new techniques as well as increase my employment chances after graduation.
What opportunities have you had, during the placement to find out about working in the pharmaceutical industry?
I was really lucky to be able to work within different groups while doing my placement project. This gave me an opportunity to see several roles and different tasks performed by various people. Furthermore, by getting to know and chatting to my colleagues I got more insight into what it is like to work in the industry. Additionally, I have been attending many company presentations which showed various aspects of Biopharmaceutical sector.
What qualifications and other experience of working in science do you have?
I am a fourth year MSci student in Biotechnology (Applied Molecular Biology) with Industrial Placement at the University of Aberdeen. Before undertaking my placement year, I had gained some lab experience by working in the Diagnostic Microbiology Laboratory in Legnica in Poland during the summer holidays. I have also taken part in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) which involved a 12 week summer project aiming to design and build biological system to operate in living cells.
Do you think it will be easier to find a job with an industrial placement on your CV?
Yes, I am very positive about that. I believe that students with Industrial Placement experience have an advantage, not only because they have more laboratory experience but they are also more aware what a job in industry really involves.
What do you think you will do when you complete your degree?
I think that I would like to continue my studies and apply for a PhD project.
Has the placement influenced your thoughts on your future career?
I really enjoyed my placement year and would like to work within industry in the future. I have also seen the importance of a good understanding of the subject and job you are doing. I would therefore like to continue my studies and apply for a PhD project.
Any other comments on your placement?
I am really glad that I have had a chance to meet so many great people which made me feel like a part of the company. There were many social and sport events organised so I had lots of fun. Overall, the Industrial Placement year was a fantastic experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.