ApconiX is delighted to welcome Joanne Wilson who joins as a Project Manager and will be working with Dr Richard Knight. With over 20 years’ experience as a DMPK scientist and project manager at AstraZeneca, Jo has led cross-functional teams and driven the efficient development of novel drugs.
Jo graduated from the De Montfort University Leicester with a degree in Biomedical Science and Chemistry, completing a placement year at Lubrizol, a specialty chemical company in Derby, as a laboratory scientist on chemical stability assays.
Jo joined AstraZeneca as a graduate scientist and worked in the discovery DMPK laboratory supporting a variety of DMPK assays, across a board range of projects, becoming a senior scientist working as part of large multidisciplinary teams, managing studies from conception to final report and communicating DMPK data. Jo commented, “I always had a particular interest in bioanalysis and pharmacokinetics. I enjoyed a brief time in the modelling and simulation group making recommendations, predictions, simulations on human dose through translation of pre-clinical data using PBPK models.” Originally working across all therapy areas, Jo went on to specialise in oncology.
On moving to Cambridge with AstraZeneca in 2014, Jo worked as a Senior Scientist in Early Oncology, DMPK. Leading the bioanalytical capability to provide high-quality and timely data to support all pharmacology studies conducted in the UK. Early in the COVID pandemic. Jo implemented a risk management strategy collaborating with Charles River in Edinburgh to overcome local AZ site closures, avoid any down time and data provision to projects.
During the build of the new AZ headquarters in Cambridge, Jo functioned as science planning lead for DMPK, responsible for ensuring the new labs would be fit for science from the first day of occupation. From ensuring there was enough gas taps, all the plumping was in place for the Mass Spec’s, there was enough storage for the consumables as well as desks chairs and waste management systems – everything imaginable for a new laboratory.
Jo has a great interest in mentoring and has worked with many students who are working during a placement year of an undergraduate degree or students working towards a degree apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are taken over 5 years in association with the University of Kent, “I love working with students offering support and advice to help them develop and mature into the scientists of the future. There is a similar scheme on the Macclesfield site in association with Manchester Metropolitan University”.
Last year, Jo went on secondment to the Early Oncology Project Management group, becoming a Global Project Manager supporting early discovery projects from Lead optimisation (LO) to Candidate drug investment decision (CDID). Responsible for operation of teams including timelines, risk management, chairing, facilitating and minuting project team meetings and maintaining high quality project plans, monitoring project costs and resource.
Working at ApconiX
“Joining ApconiX was too good an opportunity to turn down,” added Jo. “Project management was the role I wanted to take on having realised I no longer wanted to work in a laboratory. The flexibility of working in ApconiX was very appealing and working with old colleagues an added bonus.”
Richard added “I was really pleased we could bring Jo into ApconiX where we can benefit from her many years’ experience in DMPK as well as early development project management. She fits perfectly into the group and will be a great asset.”
Interests Outside Work
Jo has two daughters who are both very keen competitive regional/County level swimmers. Jo spends her weekends driving, being a spectator and volunteering for the City of Cambridge Swimming Club. “I have also succumbed to getting a very cute labradoodle puppy, called Willow which will no doubt mean I’m walking the dog at lunchtime.”