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SSPC industry placement at APC Ltd., with Laura Foley UL
April 12, 2024

My name is Laura Foley, and I am a third year PhD student with SSPC at the University of Limerick, working under the supervision of Associate Professor Emmet O’Reilly. With the ultimate goal of improving patient compliance and quality of life, my PhD research focuses on particle engineering and process optimisation for the delivery of pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals for alternative delivery applications.

In January 2024, I got the opportunity to work for APC Ltd. in Dublin. APC are a world leader in drug process development created out of passion for science and research. The company drives to advance medicine through superior science and has grown into a global powerhouse in process development, working with various companies to achieve a goal of bringing medicine to patients around the world.

Over the three-month period I got the opportunity to immerse myself into the company culture and projects. I received numerous learning opportunities and worked with highly skilled and technical scientists daily. I was a member of the bioengineering team where I reported to Becca Dunne. Initially I worked closely with the innovation team but then moved into a commercial project where I worked on a multidisciplinary team of scientists.

My main responsibilities were in data collection, interpretation and developing live insights for the client. I was able to develop many new skills in cell culturing and using the bioreactor Ambr 250. This is used for scaling down and process development studies. While some aspects of the role aligned nicely with the skills and knowledge used during my research, a proportion of the work was new. This gave me the opportunity to upskill, learn, develop, and engage in new processes, techniques, and procedures.

I am extremely grateful to be a part of the SSPC community and for all the opportunities it gives me. The relationships built within the organisation allows us as researchers to explore all our options and opens our minds to new roles and career development pathways. Whether that be collaboration with industry members, carrying out research in partnering colleges or an industrial placement, all these opportunities are available to us.

This experience has given me a better understanding of the roles I would like to pursue in the future and the relevance of my PhD project work. The practical experience and exposure to real-world obstacles strengthened my resolve to choose a profession that will allow me to actively enhance the lives of patients. I am looking forward to continuing and finishing out my research at the University of Limerick.

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