ApconiX is delighted to welcome Leah Worthington and Heather Brown, recent graduates, who will both be working with us for the next 12 months. ApconiX regularly hosts early career scientists for capability development projects that run up to a year. Heather recently joined us to work on immunotoxicology capability development with Dr Sean Hammond. Leah has been with us since October and is working to support the TSA informatics pipeline with Dr James Sidaway and Dr Nicholas Coltman.
Heather studied Chemistry, Biology and English Literature at A Level. Very fond of reading, Heather decided to do a mixture of science and humanities. Although by Upper Sixth Form Heather had decided she wanted to carry on in a scientific discipline, she found studying literature very useful when writing critical analysis and it has definitely helped her grasp the essential elements and write more concisely. Heather also did an Extended Qualification Project (EPQ) on the reading development of children and how it effects future reading ability and interest in reading. Devising her own questionnaire, analysed the results and created her own graphics to illustrate her findings. Data analysis and the representation of results is something Heather particularly enjoys.
Graduating from the University of York with a BSc in Biology. Her final year dissertation was entitled “Simulation of N-Glycosylation Predicts the Enzymatic Environment for the Generation of Monoclonal Antibody Glycan Structures”. A review of in silico data and how it predicted laboratory findings.
Working at ApconiX
During her time at ApconiX, she will undertake various research projects addressing immune safety issues in drug development. Alongside this, Heather will also get the chance to contribute to projects delivered to clients within ApconiX’s target and modality safety group.
Dr Sean Hammond commented, “Heather is a conscientious and enthusiastic scientist, her systematic approach to scientific issues will serve her well over the course of her time here. She has made great progress already and will be an asset as both a research scientist and target safety assessment author of the future.”
Interests Outside Work
Heather is an avid crochet-er and loves relaxing in the evening with her crochet hook, although she tends to give everything she does away. She loves reading and walking her dog, Toby.
Leah has also just graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in Biological Sciences. Birmingham provides lots of choice which enabled Leah to split her modules between ecology and genetics and disease. For her dissertation, Leah looked at the reasons why in students don’t actively consider studying ecology more despite the awareness of the fluctuating environmental conditions through the effects of climate change. Human biology is still a firm favourite, particularly enjoying studying human disease and how their spread and efficacy may be affected by climate change.
Studying Chemistry Biology and Geography at A level, Leah was torn between geography and biological sciences, Leah is very interested in the environment and decided to study biological sciences and include a focus on ecology in her studies.
Still considering which area to continue in her career, Leah gained some experience in ecology during the summer carrying out bat surveys for Bowland Ecology. Leah commented, “Bats are a protected species and surveys are often done before any construction work can begin on site. Using echolocation devices, you can tell which species of bat is flying passed you at dusk.”
Working at ApconiX
Leah joined the TSA team to gain some experience in drug development and further her understanding of human disease. She is working with Nicholas and Will to provide bioinformatics for target safety assessments and is gaining an overview of the whole process.
Dr James Sidaway, TSA Lead, added, “Leah has already become a valued member of the team. Her broad biological knowledge brings a different perspective to our capability and demonstrates the benefits of early career scientists at ApconiX.”
Interests Outside Work
An outdoorsy person, Leah also plays the violin and loves being part of an orchestra.