Natalie Wellaway

Natalie Wellaway | GSK

Natalie Wellaway

I joined GSK in 2001 as a chemist, straight out of sixth form college, and during this time, have extensively developed my technology skills to achieve my scientific objectives, whilst also completing a part-time chemistry degree (1st Class Hons BSc).

As a scientist, I am passionate about employing the right technology to advance drug discovery programmes and have seen the benefits of doing so over a number of research programmes in different therapy areas.

Motivating the next generation of scientists to maintain global competitiveness in the pharmaceutical industry is vitally important and it is an area in which I am keen to play a key role. I have really enjoyed aiding in the recruitment of apprentices into R&D GSK chemistry, something which is relatively new to this part of the business and I also mentor many of our less experienced scientists.

Alongside my established career in science and technology, I am a busy mother of two. My children think that making new medicines for patients is very exciting and I aim to be a role model to my daughter for a future STEM career. I have a great work life balance in my career, that I know many women would like in their job and so I feel very privileged to be in a role that is so personally satisfying and one which hopefully can help patients who need the medicines we are trying to discover.

Lucy Woodhead

Lucy Woodhead | GSK

Lucy Woodhead

I graduated with a degree in music, but became really interested in technology after working in the digital department of my local government.

I was running a lot of digital and UX projects, but became really fascinated with the code that powered the website and would often ask the developers how it all worked. I had never written a line of code before but took it upon myself to take up a few online courses to experiment with very basic styling and functionality. After a few more digital based roles and a trip around the world, I knew I absolutely wanted to pursue a career in technology! I decided to retrain in programming, and after completing an intensive bootcamp I was able to land my first role as a developer! I worked in a startup and built lots of exciting features, learned new languages and frameworks, and even delved into cloud computing and software architecture. After an amazing 18 months I then gained a role at GSK, where my unique blend of technical skills and soft skills really help to fuel the development of innovative health tech. I love what I do!

Catherine Alder

Catherine Alder | GSK

Catherine Alder

I am a passionate research scientist with 18 years’ experience as a synthetic chemist with a tenacious attitude to problem solving and using technology to the maximum to achieve my objectives.

In particular, my aim is to progress with a career in chemistry and influence changes in working practices within the industry, either through utilizing new technology or Green Chemistry (employing sustainable methods and reducing the impact on the environment) and as such, have become a recognised technology expert in GSK Chemistry.

My interest in technology was ignited very early in my career when I completed a year in industry during my MChem Chemistry Degree at GSK Stevenage. During this placement year, I was part of a team which tested and designed new tools to improve our ways of working. I absolutely loved this experience and it crystallised my thinking around the direction my future career. Therefore, with a first-class degree in hand, I decided to join the pharmaceutical industry and secured a medicinal chemistry role at Merck, Sharpe and Dohme in Harlow. In 2006, I joined GSK as a research chemist and have enjoyed a highly fulfilling role ever since, primarily focusing on technology and Green Chemistry.

Key to my acquiring my technology skills and knowledge have been the secondments I have proactively sought. At present, I am on secondment in the GSK UK Discovery High Throughput team, where we conduct parallel chemistry in miniaturisation to find more efficient routes to potential medicines without a large impact of material being used and my overall objective is to take all of my learnings back to my medicinal chemistry team. However, I am also using the opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences with my new team colleagues.

Academic collaborations have also been vital in my personal development. In particular, I was an active participant in the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI): Chem21-Chemistry for the 21st Century. This allowed me to be exposed further to best practices and the latest developments in Synthetic Biochemistry (where enzymes are used to effect chemical transformations), Flow Chemistry, Photochemistry and Electrochemistry; all of these techniques are highly valuable tools to the medicinal chemist.

In 2016, I was delighted to be awarded my Charter Chemist status by the Royal Society of Chemistry. In addition, I have been an active STEM ambassador since 2014, and have participated in a number of external workshops including a summer school hosted by Professor Brian Cox on ‘Anti-Doping’. This inspirational event was offered to young people from three London schools near the Olympic stadium. I get an immense amount of personal satisfaction by being involved in these seminars and workshops and contribute to several activities in schools and a local scouting group to illustrate to young children the huge benefits that science and technology can bring to the world.