I joined PBL as a process and analytical method scientist in March 2015 after completing a degree and PhD in Forensic Science at Staffordshire University. I think that one of the key things that helped me secure the job was that during my PhD a lot of the components I was looking at were proteins, so an understanding of their composition and the techniques used to separate them from one another actually meant that I could apply my knowledge.
However, by taking an initial approach that my colleagues should assume that I knew nothing helped me to settle in and very quickly get to know the fundamentals of the techniques used in our labs. Everyone was very helpful and willing to explain. I was given plenty of opportunity to work hands-on with the techniques and processes, enabling me to develop my learning and confidence with every experiment I carried out. So much so that within a short period of time I started to make suggestions as to how we could do things better. That may have shocked some, but demonstrated that I had taken everything on-board, learnt and got up-to speed.
It also helped me to progress because by the November I had applied for, and been promoted into, my current position and I now take a similar approach when training colleagues. That’s the great thing about our team; we are open to discussion. On a daily basis we talk about how things have gone, what to do next or if we have considered different options. So even though we may be working on different projects we are good at communicating across the disciplines.
As well as learning on the job I have also received training from manufacturers on how to use their equipment. I have also been on a design of experiments course to help me make more efficient use of studies at a small scale, so that I can identify the critical parameters to use when scaling up to production scale.
The basis of the projects that I work on is how to design and develop better methods for extracting and purifying biological molecules using the latest methods to improve the consistency of products. Usually I have the time to plan experiments and prepare things from day to day, but occasionally we have to react to circumstances if something is given a higher priority, or material becomes available for us to work on at short notice.
That can be challenging, but I enjoy thinking on my feet and determining what we can do to take advantage of the opportunity to generate useful data. I really enjoy the science as it challenges my brain, sometimes it is common sense, but I find applying logic to a problem and learning by trouble shooting is really fulfilling.
With regards to the future, I am really looking forward to the opening of our new labs and working with all the new equipment we are installing, including small scale chromatography and large scale TFF and other process skids.
Outside of work Charlotte likes to bake; I like to bake cakes and I’m trying to perfect the cookie she says. Some people think baking is difficult but if you follow the recipe then you’ll get it right, which also applies to the job I do.
I also like going to gigs and festivals, whether they are big ones like T in the Park or smaller more local ones. I don’t have a favourite genre of music and will sing along to most things on the radio.