Andrea started doing a Medical Microbiology degree at the University of Wolverhampton. During her sandwich year she worked in a medical microbiology laboratory which sparked an interest in health research and she decided to pursue it as a career. After graduating with a BSc (Hons) Microbiology (Sandwich) she went on to do a PhD at Aston University in Chemical Engineering and Applied Science, which she was awarded in 2004. At Aston she was the Biologist in a Chemical Engineering team looking at the medical applications of release mechanisms – artificial cells that release drugs in a delivered way, in this case specifically targeted towards cancer cells. In 2002, while still working on my PhD she obtained a Research Associate position at the University of Birmingham and that’s what bought her to primary care.
In her Research Associate post she worked onvarious studies in the sexual health and cardiovascular fields. She remained within the research department for just over two years, and then moved to a Trial Coordinator position in the CRC Trials Unit. In that unit she worked as a Trial Coordinator on the aTTom study, which was a large, multi-centre, UK Cancer study which linked into a similar international study called the ATLAS trial.
In 2006 she left the University of Birmingham and went to work for a Clinical Research Organisation called SGS, which managed studies on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, for about a year. She then moved across to Quintiles, a similar company that contracts personnel out to pharmaceutical companies. In that time she worked for Novartis and Boehringer Ingelheim as a monitor, or a Senior Clinical Research Associate (CRA), monitoring clinical studies to check they were meeting regulatory requirements. She spent about four years in total in those positions. As a result of her work as a Senior CRA she took on more of a leadership role which she really enjoyed. She started to look for a position within a research setting leading a team on a day-to-day basis and returned to the University of Birmingham to take up this role as Team Manager in September 2009.
She hopes to continue to bring these multi-disciplinary teams together to improve primary care research and engage primary care professionals.
There are a number of benefits for Primary Care Professionals interested in taking part in research. Not only financial benefits but also being involved in new research that will hopefully improve patient care in the future.