Jean Assender qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry with Medical Biochemistry from the University of Kent, Canterbury, during which she spent a year working for ICI Pharmaceuticals, Alderley Park. She went on to study for a PhD in Cell Signalling before spending 2 years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Karolinska Institute, researching the role of Protein kinase C in smooth muscle cell signalling. Jean returned to the University of Wales, College of Medicine and joined the Tenovus Cancer Research Group to lead their new cell signalling team looking at changes in signalling molecules in breast and prostate cancer.
In 1998, Jean decided to dedicated her time primarily to course management and improving the quality of teaching provision. She became a Professional Tutor in the School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, teaching on their Biochemistry, MBChB and BDS programmes and leading the revision of the first year of the BDS course. Whilst teaching was her prime focus she continued to collaborate with Tenovus on a tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer project, with Prof Andrew Newby at the BRI on a smooth muscle cell project and with Dr Sarah Hall at Cardiff University on a cardiomyocyte project.
In 2003 Jean took up the post of Lecture in Cancer Sciences at the University of Birmingham. She now works part time (3 days) a week, mainly running the MSc in Clinical Oncology but also acting as the quality assurance lead for taught postgraduate provision within the College of Medicine and Dental Sciences.