Madeline joined us just over a year ago to take up the post of Clinical Scientist in Microbiology.
What does an average day look like for you?
Madeline’s day-to-day work changed significantly at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic began, Madeline’s main focus was the repatriation of tests that were being sent away to external laboratories. However, when the team in Microbiology were asked to carry out COVID-19 testing, the clinical scientist team were tasked with rapidly validating new assays and workflows for molecular testing, often completing the work in record time.
As the situation has continued to develop and change, new assays and equipment have become available which has meant ongoing assessment and validation for Madeline and clinical scientist team. Madeline is currently working to significantly increase our capacity to test COVID-19 swabs on different platforms, which has meant her last few weeks have been spent getting up to speed with the new equipment, working with the manufacturers when there have been issues, creating and validating new workflows.
What is your favourite thing about the job?
One of the things that Madeline most enjoys about her role is that she is often the first to get her hands on new technologies and assays, as part of her job is to implement new assays that can be handed over to the biomedical scientists. Madeline has always enjoyed approaching her work in an organised and methodical way, so this part of the job really appeals to her.
Madeline also enjoys working with her follow clinical scientists in Microbiology. It is a small team of three clinical scientists and a consultant clinical scientist who work closely together and provide support and guidance for each other.
Is there a moment you will always remember?
Unsurprisingly, the time that sticks in Madeline’s mind is the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team of clinical scientists in Microbiology had to drop what they were doing and throw everything into validating and implementing new molecular assays. The speed with which this was done was unprecedented. Usually, a similar test could take several months to get up and running. The COVID-19 assays were implemented within two weeks thanks to combined efforts of the entire department including Microbiology scientific and clinical staff at every level and the SWLP IT team.
How did you get into clinical science?
Madeline was encouraged by her favourite biology teacher to excel in science and did her degree in genetics and microbiology, which included a module on clinical microbiology. This ignited a spark of interest and when she left university and found out that there was a career path in clinical microbiology, she never looked back.
She undertook a three-year work-based training programme, which resulted in her becoming a registered clinical scientist, as well as gaining an MSc. She then went on to complete her PhD with Imperial College while working at Hammersmith Hospital. Madeline hopes to start Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) next year and work towards becoming consultant clinical scientist.