Current position: Veterinary Toxicology Pathologist at Envigo Ltd
After graduating with a degree in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery from the University of Glasgow, I spent a year in small animal practice followed by a rotating internship at the Dick Vet School in Edinburgh.
I then undertook a three year residency in clinical oncology at the Animal Health Trust, during which time I completed an MSc in clinical oncology at the University of Birmingham. As part of the degree, I did a research project on canine cutaneous mast cell tumours, which sparked an interest in laboratory research.
I was successful in obtaining a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowship to allow me to undertake a PhD in virology at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research. My research examined the potential for papillomaviruses, the primary cause of cervical cancer in humans, to develop latent infections. I had a great experience during my PhD and wished to continue with a career in research, but greatly missed being in an environment where the focus was on veterinary disease.
The opportunity arose to undertake a postdoctoral research fellowship in the laboratory of Professor Andrew Rycroft at the Royal Veterinary College. Andrew and his collaborators at the University of Cambridge, Imperial College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine secured a large BBSRC grant to develop novel vaccine candidates and diagnostic methods for swine bacterial respiratory disease. The focus of my work at the RVC was to develop a set of tools to allow the genetic manipulation of the major respiratory pathogen, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, and apply these to an in vivo model of infection to better understand the pathogenesis of infection.
I worked with a great team at the RVC, including my supervisor, research assistants, PhD students, MSc students and undergraduate students on the BVetMed and BSc courses. Beyond the RVC, I worked closely with collaborators at the other participating institutions and it was fantastic to be part of a larger dynamic team of researchers with expertise in different fields. I was also given the opportunity to develop links with industrial partners and work with the RVC’s knowledge transfer experts and external patent attorneys to protect intellectual property resulting from my work.
After almost 4 years at the RVC, I followed the lure of a permanent position having spent most of my career working on fixed term contracts. I currently work as a veterinary toxicologic pathologist at Envigo Ltd, a large UK-based company providing contract research services to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical sectors. I am currently enjoying the challenge of learning new skills in veterinary pathology and enjoy being part of important research in the development of new drugs and chemicals.
My time at the RVC allowed me to learn a valuable set of laboratory research skills and carry out some exciting research that has led to peer-reviewed publications and is being continued by my former colleagues. Of equal importance, it allowed me to engage with a wide variety of people both within the RVC, within the South East of England and internationally.
Date: September 2015