Becky Hurst, Associate Medical Writer at QXV Comms, Manchester, UK
Becky did her PhD in Immunology at the University of Manchester. After her PhD, she stayed as a postdoc in the same lab to publish some papers. She then decided to make the bold move to Singapore to do a second postdoc at Nanyang Technological University. “During my second post-doc I decided that I wanted to:
Move back to the uk;
Have a more structured job with shorter deadlines;
Not have to stay at work until 3am on the flow cytometer!
Emma Lawrence, Project Manager at Imperial College London, London, UK
Emma did her PhD in Immunology on helminth (parasitic worm) infection at the University of Manchester. Directly after her PhD she remained as a postdoc in the lab for 3 months to finish off papers and then went travelling in South America. She knew that a postdoc was not for her and categorically listed 3 things she was sure that a postdoc would not fulfil:
I wanted a career with more short-term goals; I am more motivated and enjoy achievements that can be done in a shorter space of time than a publication.
I did not want the responsibility of self-funding, at least at some point this is important, and eventually you are responsible for funding others.
I didn’t believe accomplishments in science are fairly rewarded; i.e. it is papers not hard work that counts.
Ricky Tsang, Study Director at MedPharm, Surrey, UK
Ricky did is PhD at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Biology at the University of Manchester. He specialised in cell adhesion and migration research using advanced fluorescence microscopy and imaging techniques. After his PhD Ricky decided to leave academia but still had a passion for science and wanted to develop his commercial experience so he moved to the pharmaceutical industry and became a Study Director at MedPharm in Surrey. “I had many reasons for pursuing a career in industry but one of my main reasons was that the career path in academia did not appeal to me. Academic research at the forefront of science is critical for future development of therapeutics and public healthcare and there is a considerable amount of knowledge and skill that can be gained from academia, however I did not feel that the role of a postdoc or principal investigator was suitable for me.”
Laura Flynn, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK
Laura did her PhD at the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, University of Manchester. She enjoyed every element of her PhD and knew she would continue in academia. “I was under no illusion that finding a postdoc might be difficult and the workload was going to be more hectic but this was a career I had decided was for me.” Laura was flexible in that she was happy to go wherever there was a suitable postdoc. Her first postdoc position was at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge. “This was, as expected, hard work but I quickly got into the swing of things and felt like an independent lab member.”
Amanda Gallagher, Medical Writer at Nucleus Global, Manchester, UK
After her PhD in Immunology Amanda stayed at the University of Manchester and undertook a postdoc position involving immunology and biochemistry for 3 years. She made the decision to not apply for another postdoc position. “It wasn’t an easy decision as there are aspects of academia that I really loved, but ultimately I decided that I wanted a permanent job with a more well-defined career progression.”
I’ve been officially elected to be the new Junior Council Member for the International Society for Matrix Biology! I am hoping that my experience would enable me to help other junior researchers with the skills required for PhD studies and working in academia. Planning on using my networking and communication skills to keep in touch better with new and existing junior ISMB members!
Caroline Drake, Medical Student at the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
Caroline did her PhD in the stroke field at the University of Manchester. Her thesis was entitled ‘Systemic inflammation and its impact on the brain’ where she investigated inflammatory changes in the brain prior to a stroke event. Due to the clinical implications of her project, she became increasingly interested in disease processes in people and began looking into her career options and decided to study medicine remaining at the University of Manchester. “I loved research but when I thought about my future I felt that being involved with a patient’s journey as opposed to just their disease was more the path for me. I also liked the fact that later on I could continue to do research and wouldn’t be closing the door on this all together.”