Clinical Scientist, Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics, NHS Blood and Transplant

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Explore all options when it comes to your career in STEM; I had never heard of a Clinical Scientist when I graduated, but it has turned out to be my dream job!

Zoe Thomas

What do you do?

I work in a laboratory that performs compatibility testing for patients requiring bone marrow transplants and solid organ transplants including kidney and heart. We also provide clinicians with advice about selecting the best donors for their patients. We also perform genetic testing for a number of immune-related genes to support disease diagnosis and management.

Why did you choose this field?

Since secondary school I’ve always had a strong interest in medical biology and loved watching the pathology drama Silent Witness. I considered studying medicine at University but decided that a patient facing role wasn’t for me. After graduating with a BSc in Cell Biology, I started looking for a job and stumbled upon the Clinical Scientist training programme. It ticked all of the boxes for me; a chance to apply my scientific knowledge whilst helping patients in a clinical setting.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I recently passed the Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics Part 1 examination to become a Diplomat of the Royal College of Pathologists. I’d probably advise a younger me to do this before having two children as studying and parenting at the same time is tough!

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love my job because it’s so varied and can present me with a different challenge every day and it is so rewarding to know that my work is vital in helping to save and improve the lives of patients in need of a transplant.

Best advice for next generation?

Pursue your interests, whatever they may be. Don’t let male dominated subjects/environments put you off. Explore all options when it comes to your career in STEM; I had never heard of a Clinical Scientist when I graduated, but it has turned out to be my dream job!

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“Believe you can and you’re half way there.”

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