× Medicines Discovery Catapult

To mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are celebrating by highlighting some of the MDC women who play a vital part in making drug discovery happen. We asked them two questions:

1. What is the best thing about working in science?
2. What career advice would you give to your younger self?

Here are their answers:

Dr Juliana Maynard, Lead Scientist

The best thing about working in science is the feeling of achievement you get when seeing positive results of your experiment at the end of a study you’ve gone into, with a hope or hypothesis that it will work, but not knowing if it will.

If I was giving career advice to my younger self, I would use the advice my mum always gave me. Strive to attain, work hard and don’t be despondent if it doesn’t work first time, keep trying your best and it will always work out.

Gayle Marshall, Lead Scientist (Biomarkers)

The best thing about working in science is being curious and challenging everything. Every day is a new discovery.

If I was giving career advice to my younger self, I would say believe in yourself.

Dr Rachel Lawless, Grants Officer

The best thing about working in science is constantly learning and being challenged!

If I was giving career advice to my younger self I would say, have more confidence in yourself.

Dr Laura Ajram, Psychiatry Consortium Programme Manager

The best thing about working in science is traveling the world and discussing your work with scientists from different research backgrounds.

If I was giving career advice to my younger self I would say, build networks and talk to the speakers at conferences! You’d be surprised how many people are willing to answer your ‘silly’ questions.

Jess Lee, Syndicates Programme Manager

I love working in science because I play a role in accelerating the discovery of new medicines – it’s a privilege to have a job that I really enjoy, that also has the potential to help people all around the world!

Anastasia Ioannidou, Data Scientist

The best thing about working in science is being part of a community who are responsible for some of the most amazing discoveries ever made in modern life, and it also gives you the opportunity to contribute to even more advances yourself.

If I was giving career advice to my younger self I would say, don’t underestimate your failures, they are equally (if not more) important to your successes.

Dr Emily Offer, Lead Scientist (Biomarkers)

The best thing about working in science is getting to work with inspiring people and learning new things every day.

If I was giving career advice to my younger self I would say, don’t be afraid to speak to as many people as you can you never know where a new conversation will take you.

Charlotte Criscuolo, Intern

The best thing about working in science is the feeling of satisfaction you get from successful problem solving.

The best career advice I would give to my younger self is to do the thing you enjoy.

Rebecca Kelly, Intern

The best thing about working in science is learning new things every day!

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is to keep positive and take every opportunity you can!

Georgie Hett, Senior PA

I love working in science because I feel part of a team on a mission to change our future. Everyone here plays a part in the creation of new drugs – there are so many unsung heroes!

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is regardless of whether you choose a career in science or not do something you enjoy!

Dr Benedetta Arno, Senior Scientist

The best thing about working in science is that it allows you to be creative, as you need creativity to design experiments, and it can bring you to results you would never expect.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is get specialised in one particular area of science, as it is the best and fastest way to achieve your goals.

Helen Hind, Clinical Samples Manager

The best thing about working in science is the variety of opportunities there are – from laboratory-based, office based or field-based roles – as well as the different sectors you can work in; industry, academia, charities, government etc.

There are many routes into a career in science, from apprenticeships, A levels, first degrees or higher qualifications. Depending on what you want to do one route may be more suitable than another – sometimes having had the right ‘hands on’ experience can outweigh the qualifications.

Dr Nicola Heron MBA, Head of Collaborative R&D

It’s a privilege to do a job that helps create a better society, allows you to keep learning AND pays you. That is the best thing about working in science.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is don’t depend on others to identify your talents. Trust your instincts and grab opportunities.

Dr Ekta Patel, Senior Scientist (Mass Spec)

The best thing about working in science is experiencing the thrill when something works! Science is great for the inquisitive and analytical mind.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is, network, network, network! Start as early as possible and build on those initial connections – you never know who may be able to help you one day.

Dr Duygu Yilmaz, Senior Scientist

The best thing about working in science is knowing that ‘somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known’.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is dream big, take more risks, whatever you do, never stop learning new things.

Claire Summers, Senior Scientist

The best thing about working in science is that science is never finished, there are always new thoughts and ideas to understand.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is study the subjects which excite you – there’s a job using that knowledge out there somewhere.

Dr Priya Viswanathan, Senior Scientist (Complex Cell Models)

The best thing about working in science is the creativity!

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is, take more chances, try more things and don’t settle for safe options so young.

Dr Philippa Hart, Lead Scientist (Mass Spec)

The best thing about working in science is all of the stimulating discussions to be had with so many clever and knowledgeable people and having the opportunity to contribute towards fascinating scientific advances in any small way I can.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is, be confident in your own abilities, always ask the “stupid” questions if it is to further your own knowledge (there is obviously a time and a place!) and take the opportunity to network wherever you can.

Dr Jessie Bwanali, Business Development Manager

The best thing about working in science is that we can meet people at their most important need, addressing their health issues.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is less planning, give life a chance to surprise you.

Dr Gemma Holliday, Bioinformatics Data Scientist

The best thing about working in science is there’s no one best thing. But the thing I love most is the constant learning, there is never a day when I don’t learn something new and it’s always interesting.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is that there’s no such thing as a wrong turn. Unexpected results often lead to really interesting new paths.

Dr Samrina Rehman, Bioinformatician

The best thing about working in science is the innovation, novelty and creativity, especially through the interdisciplinarity – which assists with challenges presented to explore, investigate and understand biological systems of tremendous complexity.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is struggle is part of the journey; develop more patience and in pursuit of perfection cherish some imperfections.

Dr Lyn Rosenbrier Ribeiro, Expert Network Lead

The best thing about working in science is learning something new every day and being challenged by evolving hypotheses and theories; it makes for a diverse job where no two days are the same.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is to follow your curiosity and what intrigues you – it may not necessarily be what you are best at, but it will enable you to find a career that will keep you wanting to get out of bed every day.

Anna Pallo, Cheminformatician

The best part of working in science is that it is constantly stimulating, you are always learning and like the Red Queen’s race, you must run to stay at least where you are. I like to be surrounded by other scientists as they are mostly smart, a bit idealist and tolerant – in the lab we have learned to accept that things don’t always go to plan. I like the internationalism of science; I can use my knowledge to get a job and live in interesting places and experience new cultures.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is follow your dreams but do not be too strict about the details.

Sandra Perkins, Head of Communications

The best thing about working in science is forward thinking. It’s a rare privilege to play a small part communicating the great talents and breakthroughs of our innovative scientists, who are pioneering a new way forward. The brilliance of science, through effective communication, can be inspiring to all.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is to carve your own path, your own way.  Be bold, be respectful, be committed – enjoying what you do along the way.

Dr Isabel Peset Martin, Senior Scientist (Microscopy)

The best thing about working in science is the creativity. We need to think how to answer biological questions, how to solve problems, how to understand diseases and how to cure them.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is work in something you are passionate about, that way you will always find the motivation to do it.

Ailsa Gardner, Communications Manager

The best thing about working in science is constantly stretching my mind to comprehend and communicate what are very exciting, but often very complex messages. Being surrounded by very accomplished and inspirational colleagues is another added bonus!

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is to work hard but have fun, always be professional but never be afraid to be yourself. Make sure what you do enriches your life and stimulates your mind – happiness comes first.

Joanne Hartley, Samples & Data Access Executive

The best thing about working in science is the problem solving, being able to work up practical solutions to scientific questions. The other thing I like is the feeling that you could (even indirectly) make a difference to peoples’ lives through the work you do.

The best career advice I could give to my younger self is to take opportunities to work in different teams and roles to build experience and skills.

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