Dr Amy Ball

MRC Industrial CASE Studentship with GlaxoSmithKline


Amy worked between the Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine and the MRC CDSS, gaining in-depth learning about the genetic basis of drug-induced liver injury. The existing resources and contacts available enabled Amy to address high-quality research questions.

Crucially, Amy needed genetic data from around 400 different people and was able to work closely with the research nurse teams at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and access the stored samples to quickly get her research project started. This biobank of samples is one of the elements of working with the MRC CDSS, which Amy highlights as having a significant impact on her work, “the fact that we’ve got that biobank of samples was invaluable, it gave me a really good starting point.”

Amy’s PhD studentship was joint funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and working between the two provided unrivalled access to a range of expertise and facilities. For example, the ability to access facilities available at GSK opened up an extended range of machinery for high-level data analysis.

The collaborative and supportive nature of Amy’s time at the centre didn’t end with the industry links but extended to interactions with other academic institutions, including Leipzig University, and support for funding applications – all leading to significant opportunities and an enriched experience.

The benefits also moved beyond research and benefited Amy’s personal career progression as she was able to demonstrate experience from both sides (including placements at GSK). With all this experience under her belt and her skills and expertise Amy was able to secure a position as a medical writer. Amy’s understanding of the whole process and end goal, including why a drug might not get to market and potential improvements to be made in such situations, gives her unique insights which are valuable to many relevant organisations.

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