groups » Laboratories discussion group » Ask the Experts: Research Careers Month – Laboratory Careers
June 2015 is Research Careers Month and this year Global Health Laboratories has contacted some laboratory experts to help answering all your questions about pursuing a career in laboratory research and other lab-related jobs.
Please feel free to ask whatever you like about clinical and research laboratory careers!
About our Experts:
Dr. Motiur Rahman
Currently working as Head of Laboratories and Institutional Biosafety Officer in the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in Vietnam and oversee the operation of clinical laboratories, research laboratories, BSL3 and SAPO4 laboratories and BioBank.
His key professional experience includes providing leadership and strategic guidance for business development for laboratories, annual planning for laboratory operation, forecasting business trend, stakeholder management and management and coordination of complex laboratory business operation; planning, implementation and operation of clinical laboratories, and clinical research laboratories; conducting as well as coordinating clinical and research studies and a wide range of microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology, and immune-serology methods; and experience in laboratory capacity building, including teaching, training (QMS, method validation and safety), mentoring and coordination of training programs.
IRCA certified lead auditor for ISO 18001, ISO 9001, Singapore Biosafety and biosecurity certified, FHI certified laboratory assessor for GLP, GCLP, ISO 15189, ISO 17025 and laboratory safety standards.
Dr. Anton Bussink
Having spent many years in the safety of research laboratories, I felt it was time to get my feet in the mud and work where it matters most. Therefore I set off to study Tropical Medicine and subsequently work in Ethiopia and Malawi as a laboratory manager. Exploiting the unique combination of knowledge in fundamental biochemistry and experience as a field-worker, I founded Tropical Medicine Laboratory Consultancy, dedicated to developing diagnostic infrastructure. Since then I have worked in Nigeria and Vietnam as a laboratory advisor (mostly on TB diagnostics) and have been involved in various projects for sustainable laboratory capacity building in different African countries. I recently obtained a Master in International Health from the Dutch Tropical Institute.
Dr. Augustine Onyeaghala
He is a Biomedical /Clinical Research Scientist, QMS Consultant and Author. His education and training cut across Clinical Laboratory Science, Clinical Chemistry, Clinical Research and QMS with great emphases on GCP, GLP and GCLP quality assurance.
Dr Augustine has a combined experience of more than 18 years covering laboratory operations and management, QMS, teaching, biomedical and clinical research. He has assisted several organizations to set up specific quality management systems required for their operations especially in the clinical and non clinical laboratory settings using the ISO 15189 and 17025 quality templates respectively. He currently oversees operations as a faculty member of NESTRA KLINIKAL, a Clinical Research and Quality Management Systems Organization in Nigeria.
1. Please can you enumerate what opportunities are available (both locally and globally) for upcoming scientists in the so called "non academic settings", for professional and career development, mentoring and visibility. Especially for those who would wish to be relevant in academic and research environment
2. How can these opportunities be accessed ?
3. What would be your Ethical suggestions for overcoming professional disharmony and unhealthy professional rivalry in our institutions. e.g Health institutions
I am part of a research collaboration that has been trying to establish a Pharmacology Specialty Laboratory. We have struggled with acquiring funding for equipment and human resources required to establish and validate methods that we can then use to attract clients. In your opinion, what is the best way to make a case for start up equipment and human resource capacity building in the developmental stage of a research support or contract research pharmacology lab?
@ Tsitsi, well done for your efforts. I think to get possible funding to meet equipment and human resources needs from any organization, you and your theme need to first convenience the would –be funding agency that you would add value to their operations with a view to meeting the organization’s objectives . To move forward, my candid recommendations are:
•Pharmacology is a very board specialty; so, identify the area of pharmacology and disease area you and your theme is interested in-diabetes, hypertension, tropical diseases, diseases of poverty , cancer, anti-inflammatory disorders, etc.
•Search for organization (s) interested in funding research in the identified area
•Develop your proposal and send in your application
There are lots of opportunities for upcoming scientists in non academic environment. Clinical trial industry is growing at a fast face and there are not enough training people to fill the gap. Upcoming scientists might need to think what they want to do in future? Maintaining an academic position and working part-time in non academic setting is not a practical approach. So if you want to build your carrier in non academic environment, clinical trial, pharmacology, pharmaceuticals, medical device etc etc, you may need to focus on those.
There are many ways now a days to access those opportunities including but not limited to company website, head hunters website, job fair, job opportunity alert etc etc.
Professional rivalry in research institute has always been there and a healthy transparent competition is actually good for science. Unfortunately sometime it disproportionate and discourage young growing scientists. Transparent policies in funding, administration, research publications and access to materials and data is the first step to overcome this.
You may want to have a look at seedinglabs.org. They support research initiatives with equipment and training, although your eligibility will depend on your location, in which sector you work, and what exactly you want to test.
To add to the answer given by Dr. Rahman: next to opportunities in the industry there may also be options within the non-profit sector. Some specialization may be required, since NGO's usually work with vertical programs, focussing on a single disease or health problem. Some knowledge and experience in public health, next to technical and scientific skills will also be required.
As for your last question, I agree with Dr. Rahman that transparency in decision making processes is essential. Additionally, on a more personal level, I think it's imperative for scientists to focus on the long term, both in our research projects as well as career planning. Rivalry is often short-lived, whereas your past accomplishments (especially publications) are with you forever.
I agree there are lot's of opportunities in NGO sector. This includes US INGO,s other international INGO,s and local NGO,s. However, opportunities for laboratory professionals are limited in NGO's, but opportunities for public health professionals are huge. NGO sector need more public health professionals and scientists to develop efficient and effective health care delivery system in resource poor settings. The management cost for health care delivery system in resource poor setting is still high.
Thanks. ..Really appreciate you all for your contributions. Looking forward for the best.
Dear ADEGBOYEGA Oladipo,
Apart for the very valuable advice our experts have provided, I would like to mention that Global Health Laboratories has two articles about types of jobs and opportunities in scientific research and development careers and also about alternative careers related to science.
Thank you very much to our three experts for their useful and extremely valuable contributions.
Remember that Ask the Experts: Research Careers Month – Laboratory Careers will be running throughout June, so take advantage of this great opportunity and keep posting questions about lab-related careers issues.
Hi all and thank you very much for the interesting and useful contributions.
My questions are:
- What are the required skills and training to work in clinical trial laboratories?
- How can a clinician qualify to work in a laboratory setting?
@ Palma: Thank you for your questions. Laboratory data is very critical and indispensable in the clinical evaluation of investigational new drug. This implies that professionals who will be engaged in the study that will generate data for review by regulatory agency prior to drug approval should be familiar with all regulatory provisions, processes , procedures and ethical regulations required to function competently and effectively. To this end, to work in a clinical trial laboratory, a good background in clinical laboratory science is essential . A lot of clinical and pathological terms are used during clinical trial of drugs of which generation of laboratory data is a component. Inability to understand these terminologies could be a limiting factor.
Again, a good knowledge of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) regulations is inevitable. These are documents which if properly understood do help professionals and would-be clinical trial professionals to function well in a clinical trial environment including laboratory operations. As a rule, every laboratory handling clinical trial samples should comply with the GCLP regulations. Compliance with the regulations implies that the data generated from such lab is reliable and can be used to support application for new therapies seeking approval . I am glad to inform you that you can get basic training on the above regulations from the Global Health Network
Regarding your second question, I think modalities vary from country to country. I suggest that you should find out which modality is applicable to individuals within your locality and follow same to achieve your career desire.