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Christina Abascal Ruiz, University College Dublin
March 7, 2024

I’m Cristina Abascal Ruiz, at University College Dublin and am currently immersed in my doctoral research, which focuses on the glycoengineering of monoclonal antibodies. The primary goal is to enhance the safety and efficacy of these antibodies by modifying their sugar structures. Specifically, my focus lies in the humanization of sialylation in CHO cells, a sought-after feature for this class of biopharmaceuticals.

Beyond my PhD project, I am deeply committed to scientific outreach and communication. I actively participate in various associations and committees dedicated to highlighting the pivotal role of women scientists in STEM fields. In my view, it’s not only crucial to conduct scientific research but equally important to effectively communicate its significance to society.

I recently completed a three-month internship at APC, a Dublin-based company of experts in developing processes that create unprecedented value for the production lines of other companies in the industry.

During my time at APC, I’ve had the privilege of engaging in a diverse range of experiences. I collaborated with the large molecule bioengineering team on several laboratory projects, but the bulk of my efforts were dedicated to working alongside the engineering team at VLE Therapeutics, a GMP-manufacturing plant startup within APC. Here, my main responsibilities revolved around equipment requalification and ensuring compliance with documentation for GMP certification. Moreover, I led a project to digitize VLE’s archives as part of my lean-six sigma training.

While certain aspects of my internship aligned with the skills I employ in my doctoral research, particularly in the laboratory setting, the majority of the experience introduced entirely new challenges. Learning the nuances of equipment qualification and navigating the complexities of GMP regulatory documentation were both daunting and immensely rewarding tasks.

Transitioning from academia to industry was an enlightening experience. I quickly grasped the importance of strategic thinking and meticulous attention to detail. In this fast-paced environment, teamwork became indispensable, and the stakes felt higher. It was truly thrilling to witness firsthand how academic research transforms into tangible results in the industrial landscape.

Above all, my industry experience has taught me the value of collaboration, effective
communication, and unwavering dedication. But most importantly, it has taught me the
importance of company culture. At APC, I have felt accepted, valued, and motivated to give my best every day. I can say it has been a transformative experience that deepened my understanding of how science drives innovation and impacts society.

My time at APC solidified my passion for the biopharmaceutical industry. The hands-on experience and exposure to real-world challenges reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career where I can directly contribute to improving patients’ lives. It’s where my heart lies, and I’m excited to continue this journey in the industry.

In my opinion, an industry placement is truly transformative for Ph.D. and post-doc
researchers. It’s a gateway to boundless opportunities, offering priceless insights, practical skills, and invaluable connections. Beyond simply boosting employability, it ignites a blazing passion within researchers

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