Photo:

Probash Chowdhury

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Favourite Thing: To see a new medicine go from being discovered in a test tube to being tested for safety and efficacy (will it cure the illness) and to see patients do more, feel better and live longer.

My CV

School:

Went to school in Leeds. 1975-80: Bewerley Street Primary School and Beeston Primary School. 1982-89: Cross Flats Park Middle School. 1982-89: Leeds Grammar School.

University:

1989-92: BSc Hons Biology and Chemistry at Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London. 1993-94: MSc Toxicology at University of Surrey

Work History:

Worked in a bank, worked for various temp agencies during summer holidays, worked at a cash & carry, research assistant at the University of Leeds (working for nothing), Toxicologist at Covance in Harrogate.

Employer:

GlaxoSmithKline R&D (for the last 11½ years)

Current Job:

Drug Development Toxicologist

Me and my work

I test the safety of potential new medicines before doctors can use them.

Testing the safety of medicines involves many scientists not just me. I am part of a department who do many types of tests and experiments, I then bring all the information together and weigh up any potential hazards and risk to patients and volunteers on clinical trials before the doctors can give the medicines. We identify their side effects by looking at effects on DNA, the blood, and internal organs.

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Me on Red Nose Day!

As a STEM Ambassador (STEM = science, technology, engineering and maths) I often go to local schools and give science demos, talks and help out in practicals.  There are many STEM Ambassadors at GlaxoSmithKline and we enjoy inspiring young people with science.  Below are some activities my STEM colleagues and I have been doing for some local schools this week (14-18 March) for National Schools’ Science Week.  Click here to see the write up about this event at GlaxoSmithKline in our local newspaper too!

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Blowing up a hydrogen filled balloon

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Pouring liquid nitrogen on carpet (doesn’t get wet).

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Mixing chemicals that glow in the dark.

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Making rockets…..

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and launching them.

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Making (plasticine) tablets.

My Typical Day

Lots of paperwork (on the computer), answering queries about the new medicines I’m working on and checking my experiments in the lab.

My work varies really from answering queries by email to writing experimental instructions (protocol) and reports, to writing big dossiers that summarises all the safety testing that has been carried out before submitting the dossier to the regulatory agencies of various governments around the world. I also run some of the experiments so I have to go to the lab and supervise the conduct of the experiments.

What I'd do with the money

Donate it to my children’s school for much needed science equipment and teaching materials.

I occasionally help out at my children’s junior school and do some science demos. I would like to help inspire young people to be interested in science and I believe it’s just as important to be interested in it from an early age as it is at your age. If schools don’t have the resources or teaching materials, they can’t inspire young people with science.

But if you have other ideas for the money, I’d like to hear them…..

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Laidback, Unflustered, Detailed

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Michael Bublé, Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, Queen, Sash ….. depends on my mood

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Dunno. White water rafting in Austria. Parachuting with the Red Devils. Rallying an army landrover all weekend on 4 hours sleep. Meeting mysterious tribes in the mountains of China.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

To be fit. To live a long and healthy life. To find a cure for cancer.

What did you want to be after you left school?

A surgeon – in the army!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

I’ve had lines and detentions for mucking about and stuff. But I was also suspended once……

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I won an award recently at work for the contribution I make to safety testing – recognition that patient safety is just as important as curing the patient.

Tell us a joke.

My mate was in a nice restaurant the other day when he suddenly realized he desperately needed to break wind. The music was really, really loud, so he timed his wind with the beat of the music. After a couple of songs, he started to feel better. He finished his coffee, and noticed that everybody was staring at him….Then he suddenly remembered that he was listening to his iPod.