Meet Anna Pallo – Cheminformatician

Anna shares her passion for programming and chemistry in her role

Medicines Discovery Catapult

Which team do you work in and what’s your role in this team?

I work in the Cheminformatics Team lead by Andrew Pannifer. We take large chemical databases and apply data science to them to answer questions about drug-design.

Currently, I’m working on an exciting project with clinical trials and patent data as part of a new grant application.

Why did you choose this industry and Medicines Discovery Catapult?

My background is in the Life Sciences industry, covering mostly structural chemistry and structural biology along with the understanding of chemical and structural activity; I trained as a structural chemist.

I haven’t been at MDC very long, since August 2019, but before this, I worked as a software developer. Now I can use both skill sets while developing new ones to support the SME community. I am always learning new things, not just about programming, but also science and medicinal chemistry; it’s a joy!

What attracted you to work in the Cheminformatics team?

I like to combine programming and chemistry: it is a good intellectual challenge. Writing code is a sought-after skill and I wanted to apply it for solving scientific problems that I am interested in.

I was particularly attracted to the Cheminformatics and software development side. My role in Cheminformatics requires both a thorough understanding of chemistry and, of course, the ability to do programming. Luckily, I have both of these skills which makes this job a perfect match for me.

How did you get into programming?

At first, I had several reservations going into programming as it is perceived as a male-dominated field. However, I find that this is a perfect job for women scientists with good logical thinking but without much desire to deal with the physical part of working in the lab. Programming can also offer flexible working; your job can be done anywhere as long as you have a computer.

Tell us about the work you’ve done, either at Medicines Discovery Catapult or elsewhere, that you’re most proud of

I am happy about having contributed a few crystal structures to the Protein Data Bank. Now, I am enjoying participating in the analysis on top of providing the data.

Tell us something you like doing outside of work

I enjoy cooking, reading and watching plenty of movies. My most recent discovery was Neil Gaiman, I like how he mixes reality with fantasy elements in his books.

Because I enjoy reading, I’m excited about MDC’s book exchange. A great chance to get to discover some new writers!

I always look forward to going back home to Budapest for the holidays to meet family and friends, see a play in a theatre, and have some poppy seed pastry rolls.

Get to know our Cheminformatics team – meet Kepa Burusco-Goni – Molecular Science Informatician as he brings 15 years’ experience in the areas of material sciences, molecular modelling, drug discovery and bioinformatics.