Mia Callens

Mia Callens

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

I am currently undertaking my industrial placement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the largest pharmaceutical companies worldwide. They currently specialise in the research, development and supply of vaccines, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods.


What is your role within the company?

My role within the company is in process and development, specifically working as a research chemist in route investigation. Throughout the journey from molecule to medicine, the synthetic strategy towards a drug compound is often changed from drug discovery to manufacture. To support this transition, API Chemistry works to design and optimise the synthesis towards the target, considering factors such as safety, efficiency and cost for multi kilogram production.


Can you give me an insight into a typical day?

Day to day, I work in a laboratory carrying out experiments towards key intermediates. This is always done after searching and reading the relevant literature to identify the most appropriate reaction conditions.


What do you enjoy the most and do you get involved in any interesting projects?

The most satisfying aspect of my role is seeing a route progress from idea to application. It is truly rewarding to overcome the challenges in designing and improving a synthesis, as well as further planning for the future of the project.


Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I applied for the industrial placement scheme at GSK as it is a fantastic opportunity to learn from and work alongside first-rate scientists, utilising knowledge from university to tackle challenges within healthcare.


What do you think you have got out of this experience so far?

During the course of my placement, I have gained an extensive understanding of the methodology and practice that contributes towards designing and supplying a medicine. I have the ability and confidence to work within a team with the goal of improving healthcare and patients’ lives.


Do you have any tips and advice for current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

After my experience so far, I would strongly recommend doing an industrial placement. Find a company that compliments your values and do lots of research before applying!