Elizabeth Rapley, Edge Medical Communications, Managing Director

Having achieved your PhD in Human Molecular Genetics, what sparked your interest in testicular cancer?
At that time, cancer genetics was an emerging field. Part of my PhD research included testicular cancer, one of the most common cancers in young men, and this led me to cross paths with Mike Stratton, a leading cancer geneticist who now heads the Sanger Centre and Cancer Genome Project. I was offered the opportunity to join Mike’s team at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London to isolate testicular cancer genes.

What then inspired your move into communications?
As part of my work on testicular cancer, I had the privilege of leading a global consortium on testicular cancer and I became more involved in the ICR’s ‘Everyman’ campaign to increase awareness of, and research into male cancers. Through this exposure, I realised that I had a talent for communicating clinical science. I changed role and became the scientific spokesperson for the ICR.

What has been your proudest professional achievement so far?
Publishing our research in the journal Nature Genetics that identified, for the first time, genes involved in the development of testicular cancer.

What has been the greatest challenge?
It is always the challenge of achieving a good work-life balance — having the time and space to do my job to the high standard that I set myself and at the same time having enough emotional and intellectual energy for my two children and my husband.

How have you transformed EDGE?
Based in two offices on two continents, we were not operating as a single team and we had drifted from our team purpose. I began by ensuring that we had the right team players in the UK. I spent time with the team and recruited with the goal of creating a strong team dynamic. Although based in Australia, I work out of the UK office four times a year, which has allowed me to further drive the team dynamic and promote team bonding. I have ensured the best infrastructure is in place, so we operate seamlessly across the two sites. Finally, I set about renewing our brand vision and aligning our values with our mission across the business, which can be seen in our website.

What would you like to achieve next for the firm?
Innovation in our service offerings to drive value creation for our business and our clients. I am fascinated by the digital space. We are piloting a number of different approaches to understand how we can harness our skills and external solutions to make the biggest impact in achieving our vision of communicating clinical science to change clinical practice.