From Cork to Normandy, Dr Carol McCarthy’s SSPC journey

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Having completed her PhD in 2018 under the supervision of Dr Abina Crean at University College Cork, Carol worked on an SSPC project called, ‘Drug Dissolution from Mesoporous Silica Systems’. During her time with the Centre, Carol had an industrial placement with Pfizer, Newbridge and an international placement at the labs of Prof. Lynn Taylor at Purdue. Carol is now working as a Regulatory Site Officer at Sanofi France, Le Trait, Normandy.

Thesis: Drug Dissolution from Mesoporous Silica Systems.

My research focused on investigating the factors, which influence release from oral mesoporous silica systems used to enhance drug aqueous solubility. A wide range of studies were conducted to examine this topic including in vitro mechanistic studies, solid-state analysis, spectroscopic investigations, in vivo experiments and in silico simulations. I have published 3 articles so far based on my PhD work with a further 2 manuscripts in preparation.

Experience as a PhD Student within SSPC: I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a PhD student, thanks in no small part to the opportunities provided by the SSPC community along the way. These included a funded industrial and international academic placement, public engagement and outreach activities, funding to attend international conferences and regular networking events with industry and academic partners.

In the summer of 2016, I undertook a 3-month industrial placement with Pfizer, Newbridge. As a member of the Technical Services Department, I was able to apply the technical and problem-solving skills I had gained in the academic environment to an industrial setting. I had the opportunity to learn about a variety of industrial roles, which could be potential career paths in the future and had a fantastic mentor, Dr Caitriona Cashell, who provided me with direction and support over the course of the placement.

SSPC also provided funding for me to travel to Purdue University, Indiana, USA as a Visiting Scholar to the Taylor Lab in the summer of 2018. Prof. Lynne Taylor is a world leader in my field so it was an amazing opportunity to collaborate with her and receive her feedback and guidance. We are currently preparing a manuscript for publication based on the studies I conducted there. I loved my summer in the US – it was amazing to experience American college life and I made so many new friends and connections. Looking forward to a return trip there soon!

Over the course of my 4 years in the centre, I really enjoyed taking part in various public outreach events organised by the great SSPC EPE team! I helped to develop and deliver workshops to TY students, got involved with Science Week, wrote an article for a national newspaper and RTE Brainstorm and I visited the Ploughing Championships showing the public how useful crystals can be! These activities helped me to develop my presentation and public speaking skills, which encouraged me to enter the ‘UCC Science for All’ science communication competition, which I won in 2016!

I really enjoyed my PhD journey as a member of the SSPC, I have availed of so many great opportunities, which have opened exciting avenues for my future career. My favourite thing about the SSPC is the supportive and encouraging environment created by the whole community. I have made so many friends and connections across academia and industry both in Ireland and abroad which has been a great springboard as I start my post-PhD career – I am looking forward to seeing where this next journey takes me!

#sspcstories #lookingbackmovingforward

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