In Conversation with Ann-Marie Jennings…

blog_annmarie

It was really inspiring to chat to Ann-Marie Jennings, Clinical Laboratory Manager of ‘Randox Health’ recently about her career path. Ann-Marie is originally from Tullamore in Co. Offaly and is involved in scientific work that could really make a difference when it comes to the diagnosis of a variety of diseases.

You are originally from Tullamore Ann-Marie, where are you living and working now?
I am living in Belfast and working for a Company called Randox Laboratories. I am the Clinical Laboratory Manager of Randox Health which is a service that we provide for personalised and preventative health profiling. I also oversee all the Clinical Research Projects and Clinical Trials that Randox are in which include Bladder Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Brain Injury, Acute Kidney Infection and Sepsis. Studies

What experiences in school or otherwise influenced you to pursue a career in science?
When I was in school I was heavily involved in Sport and had a strong passion for Science. I wanted to try and combine my two interests and decided to study Sports Science and Biology in St Mary’s University in Strawberry Hill, Twickenham. However half way through my second year in University I realised that the course was not for me. I enjoyed the Biology side of the course more so than the Sport side and I felt it best for me to leave this course and enroll in a course that was solely focused on Science. I immediately applied to UCD to study Science and thankfully I was accepted. I thoroughly enjoyed studying Biochemistry and loved the practical side of the subject and got a thrill when my experiments worked!

When I completed my degree I was offered a PhD in the Conway Institute in UCD. I was indecisive as to what I should do as I knew studying for a PhD would be challenging and I had to make sure that this was the right path for me. To help me make my mind up I decided to move to New York where I worked as a Research Assistant in a lab in Columbia University. I thoroughly enjoyed it and knew that studying for a PhD was the next step to take with regards to my Science career and I haven’t looked back since.

What is the best part of the work you do-the part that gives you the most satisfaction?
There are many aspects of my job that I enjoy and give my job satisfaction and in particular the Clinical Research Projects and Clinical Trial Work that I oversee in the Company. We are are the cutting edge of Science and Discovery and I believe that the work that we are involved in really will make a difference with regards to developing better diagnostic tests for the easier diagnosis of a variety of diseases.

What contemporary scientific issue are you most concerned about?
The main concern for me (and the majority of others) is the production and distribution of enough energy to meet increased demands and the elimination or reduction of pollutants in the environment.

What would you say to a student who wanted to pursue a career in science?
My advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career in Science is to firstly choose the correct subjects in Secondary School. I believe that Biology and Chemistry are essential and are the core science subjects that can be applied to a variety of science degrees.

If a student is contemplating a career in Science I would advise them to try and gain some work experience over their Summer holidays. This will give them a better perspective on the role of a Scientist.

What is the most fun thing about science in your view?
The most fun thing about Science for me is that I am constantly learning. No day is ever the same and that’s what I enjoy! It’s never boring!