Biobanking: An ultracool career

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Biobanking: An ultracool career

  1. 1. Biobanking: an ultra-cool alternative to a career in research Dr Amy Peasland, Newcastle Biomedicine Central Biobank Manager February 2014
  2. 2. Overview • Introduction - Biobanking • Newcastle Biomedicine Biobank • Storage services • Tissue Processing Laboratory • My role: Newcastle Biomedicine Central Biobank Manager • How I got there (Newcastle) from here (Leicester) • Any point of a sandwich year? • Why do an MSc and PhD? • Post-doctoral academia; to stay or go? • My alternative career
  3. 3. Introduction - Biobanking • Working with human tissues; old idea • Many areas of medical research dependent on access to human tissues • Biobank = collection of human tissues, cells and blood that can be used for medical research and other purposes • “Biobanking” - quoted in the cover story of the March 23, 2009, issue of TIME magazine, a feature called "10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now." (Biobanks = #8)
  4. 4. Newcastle Biomedicine Biobank • Central Biobank in Newcastle Medical School • Set up as response to HTA requirement to keep relevant material in appropriate conditions • Specialist Services – Storage of HTA relevant material and derivatives – Bar coded sample tracking – Quality Management System – Tissue processing – Pathological image acquisition and analysis
  5. 5. Biobank Manager role: – – – – – Run storage and processing facilities PD for University HTA research license School Safety Officer Biological Safety Supervisor Line Manager: • 1 x Histopathology Scientist • 3 x Biomedical Technicians • 1 x Clerical Assistant
  6. 6. Other aspects of role: • Financial/budget management; allocating resources • Promotion & marketing: internal, external & commercial • Managing unit health and safety • Staff line-management • Maintaining policies and systems • Advising PIs/academic staff on all aspects of their biobanking requirements
  7. 7. Biobank Manager – Person Requirements • Higher degree in a relevant field • Proven experience of managing a laboratory and leading a specialist team in a laboratory/research environment • Experience of monitoring expenditure and maintaining budgets, and of health and safety regulations and procedures within a higher education setting • Proven problem solving skills • Excellent interpersonal and communication abilities • High level of IT proficiency • Knowledge of the Human Tissue Act (2004) • Understanding of ethical issues surrounding the use of human tissues in research
  8. 8. How I got there (Newcastle) from here (Leicester) • South Shields, North East England • Good GCSE’s (don’t mention A-levels!) • BSc Biological Sciences (Microbiology)(European Union) – Leicester 2000 • Sandwich year (1999) – Universidade do Algarve • MSc Molecular Pathology and Toxicology – Leicester 2001 • PhD Molecular Biology – Newcastle 2005 “Alternative splicing of the mismatch repair gene hMLH1 in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia”
  9. 9. Any point of a sandwich year? • • • September 1998 – June 1999, University of the Algarve, Faro, Portugal Research project investigating adaptive responses in Listeria monocytogenes Scientific experience : – microbiological techniques – experimental design – time management • • Certificate of Basic Portuguese at the University of Minho, Braga, Portugal Broader experience? – integrate into a foreign country – immerse myself in the Portuguese language – experience a different culture – Result = personal flexibility and resilience! Worth doing? Definitely! •
  10. 10. Why did I do an MSc and PhD? • Why an MSc? – Wanted to continue in science – Chose an MSc course to qualify me for a future in cancer research – (prove I can do better than the 2:2 ) • Why a PhD? – Love the science! • Thinking up innovative approaches to problems • Discovering new things • Translational research; improve future outcomes for cancer sufferers – Needs to be the right PhD – Do it for the journey, not just the destination…
  11. 11. Post-doctoral academia; to stay or go? • Junior Research Assistant – Mechanisms of vincristine resistance in childhood ALL • Post-doc 1 – Paediatric brain tumours; gene expression in areas of histopathological heterogeneity in nodular desmoplastic medulloblastomas • Post-doc 2 – Leukaemia research; investigating small molecule inhibitors or FGFr3 in multiple myeloma • Post-doc 3 – Drug development; investigating the potentiating effects of small molecule ATR inhibitors on the cytotoxicity of DNA-damaging chemotherapeutic agents
  12. 12. An alternative career? • 5 years post-PhD = decision time! • Stay in academia? – Cons now outweighed the pros… – Fierce competition for funding… – Publication record not great… – Different priorities now… • Alternative career… – Still loved science – Felt a waste not to use the practical experience…
  13. 13. Working at the Biobank, Newcastle Uni • Good choice to leave research? – 4 years in; no regrets so far… – Using scientific expertise and experience – Still involved in research projects – Permanent contract; flexible working – Different challenges; always interesting!
  14. 14. Any Questions about Biobanking? Contact: Amy.Peasland@ncl.ac.uk Telephone: 0191 2824285 Website: www.ncl.ac.uk/nbb

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