Jayne Davies, Ipsen, Lead Scientist Analytical Development

Can you describe the path your career has taken?

From an early age, I’ve always had an interest in science and detail. I remember writing a note to Father Christmas asking for his signature aged seven, and then keeping it for a whole year and repeating it the next year to compare the signatures! I would describe my career path as ‘non-traditional’. After completing my BSc in Medical Molecular Biology, I studied for a PhD in Complement Biology/Neuroimmunology. During this time I collaborated closely with the Mayo Clinic and was fortunate enough to be able to travel to the States for my first post-doctoral position at Mayo. After a second post-doctoral post, I then went ‘off-piste’ via a Masters in Physiotherapy, re-training in post-compulsory education and running a veterinary laboratory. Ultimately, I truly missed the neuron and sought to find my way back into neurology. My non-traditional route into industry has afforded me a huge amount of life experience and hardened my resolve to be successful and resilient in my career choices.

What drives your passion for your role?

For me, it is the interplay between science and people that make a place fun and rewarding to work at. Analytical Development here in Ipsen Wrexham is a close-knit team. I particularly enjoy mentoring the junior scientists and seeing them develop into confident and capable analytical scientists. Ultimately, knowing our products will be life-changing to those affected by neuromuscular disease drives my passion for the role.

How do you ensure you achieve good life-work balance?

I am fortunate at Ipsen to have an extremely supportive manager. There have been some tough big life events during my time at Ipsen, and I have always felt incredibly well supported. Ipsen has also allowed me to work a four-day week, so being able to take my children to school and pick them up means a lot to me. I also find balance by spending time in the mountains or getting lost in a good book.

What was behind your decision to volunteer at a COVID testing site?

I remember watching the progress of SARS-Cov2, and thinking, ‘Oh it’s miles away, it won’t come here’. Then it was in Italy, then Spain, then France, then…it’s here. As a scientist, there are not many opportunities to be a superhero, but this was a science war and I had the hands and the know-how to be of help. I simply could not have stood by and done nothing. The early days were incredibly scary, and I remember hugging my children a little tighter than usual when heading out for the first time into COVID world, to the Lighthouse Laboratory testing centre. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to help in some small way and for the support of Ipsen during this time.

What are your hopes for the future?

That science wins against this virus. We have brilliant scientific minds worldwide, and the way we have collaborated during this crisis has been nothing short of inspirational. In my mind, it is the way science ought to be done: through collaboration and knowledge sharing. I sincerely hope we don’t simply sleep-walk back to our previous way of life, but learn the lessons this pandemic has taught us.

This piece is written and sponsored by Ipsen UK | ALL-GB-000481 | April 2021