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Alexandra Taseva, Trinity College Dublin
March 7, 2024

Hello, my name is Alexandra Taseva. I am a final year PhD student in Trinity College Dublin. I work under the supervision of Prof. Deirdre D’Arcy and Prof. Tim Persoons. My project is related to imaging and AI implementation into traditional dissolution testing in flow-through apparatus or letting the AI machine work instead of me and tell me what is going on inside the apparatus.

My placement took place in Alkermes (Athlone) last autumn. I had the opportunity to work in a multinational team led by Kris Perkin. My supervisor was Cathy Potter and I am very grateful to the whole team for their support and collaboration. They involved me in as many aspects of the projects as possible, let me lead one of the weekly meetings, and I had meetings with the international group leaders. I had the honor to be interviewed for their “Intern spotlight” culture diversity page and share my story with the company. They made me feel part of the team from the beginning of my placement.

Although the project I worked on was not directly related to my PhD project, I found it very helpful. Working on formulations, discussing excipients, blending and compressing powders helped me realize the complex physical interactions in a formulation. Then later on I applied my new knowledge into my PhD project by investigating the dissolution behaviour of oral suspensions.

During my placement I really enjoyed the company celebrations. We had the 10th year anniversary of their safety group celebration, themed lunches for Diwali, Halloween and the Hispanic day, a birthday celebration and a goodbye lunch for me. During lunch in the canteen and gym classes, I managed to make contacts outside of my group and interact with interesting people. I had a tour in other departments and I was able to see different aspects of the pharmaceutical industry.

Moving from Dublin to Athlone was also challenging and exciting. Living on my own, having my own space in the student accommodation, cycling to work and enjoying beautiful sunsets from my balcony was thrilling. I tried some nice restaurants in Athlone and found a group for board games that  meets in a brewery every week.

My takeaway from the placement is an eye-opening experience about the dynamic in the pharmaceutical industry. The way of decision making, chain of approval and the challenges that one can face. I got a better understanding of what I like and don’t like and what I want for my future career. I am very thankful to my colleagues for all of their guidance and support. I wish them all the best and I hope to see them soon.

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