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Blue pills

Medicinal Chemist


I am part of the lab-based early stage drug discovery process.

00:00 Well I’m involved in the drug discovery process

00:05 so my day-to-day working, it’s lab-based so I’m working in the lab,

00:11 it’s synthetic organic chemistry is what I do right in the early stage of drug discovery.

00:18 In the lab obviously do different chemical reactions

00:22 and then try to purify these

00:26 by doing such things as filtration

00:30 or using different solvents and reagents

00:34 and it’s quite an interesting kind of thing to do.

00:38 After doing GCSEs I did A levels in maths, chemistry and physics

00:46 and after doing those I chose to learn more about chemistry because I was really interested in it,

00:53 and when I went to university I wanted to do something I know I’d enjoy.

00:58 So I went to Imperial College in London and did a chemistry degree.

01:07 It was straight chemistry but during that degree you do learn all different types of chemistry.

01:14 As part of my degree I was able to also work for a year actually for a pharmaceutical company

01:19 which was a bonus as well,

01:23 and after that I got a job here at GlaxoSmithKline.

01:27 I think my degree level chemistry has helped a lot.

01:30 A level gave the grounding for the different types of chemistry,

01:36 At degree level you learn more about that and then you can specialise as your degree course goes on.

01:43 So I chose to specialise in organic chemistry, which is what I use on a day-to-day basis today, so

01:50 a lot of stuff even that which I learnt at school, I’d say I’m still kind of using those kinds of things

01:59 So, things like you learnt during the practicals during A levels,

02:04 I’d say I’m still kind of using those same kind of things as a day-to-day thing.

02:10 I would recommend if you’re interested in chemistry

02:16 to maybe try and get some experience of working in an environment like this because I know that

02:24 you can get work experience so you know what it’s like

02:30 and also when you visit universities you can find out more about chemistry

02:35 and what it involves and if you’d like to possibly do it.

02:39 But I would recommend it for anyone who’s interested in chemistry to do that.

02:47 The main advantage is, it’s a very large company so obviously as an employee you’re well looked-after

02:56 and also in the pharmaceutical industry it is one of the top companies to work for so

03:04 you’re at the forefront of your field in many of the things that you do,

03:11 and it’s a well-recognised name so it’s a good company to work for in that kind of way.

“The A-level gave the grounding for the different types of chemistry, I'm still using those techniques as a day to day thing. ”

How did I get started?

I did chemistry as one of my A levels and then went on to do it at Imperial College, London because I wanted to do something I liked learning about.

Career progression

I had a year in industry as part of my final year at university, after which I got a job with GlaxoSmithKline.

Skills used

Data Handling and Research, Practical Lab Skills, Communication, IT and Technology, Team Worker, Organisation , Problem Solving, Time Management

“I chose to learn more about chemistry as I was really interested in it and when I went to university I wanted to do something I knew I'd enjoy. ”