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Women in Science

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Video clip: Fran did some of her research in laboratories which were based in a company. This gave her insight into how companies develop products for agrochemical or pharmaceutical purposes.              


What were you doing with Searle exactly?

Well, I was actually continuing my basic science project from his lab but I was now doing it in the laboratories that were based in a company rather than in an academic environment. So I was party to all of the research that was going on for very much more applied purposes than my own research and it gave me a really good insight into how companies work….


…and the sort of challenges in developing products for either agrochemical purposes or particularly for pharmaceutical purposes. And that was the time when Searle were investigating a very interesting small molecule drug that had been shown to have antiviral activity against HIV and they were trying to work out how it was working and so I began to do some experiments in addition to my own project on that area and that was actually what lead me to where I am now, quite directly because I actually worked on that drug for many, many years and it also led to me moving to Oxford because part of that research unit was based in Oxford and I moved to Oxford after spending about a year in Monsanto to join a research group that was looking at these novel antiviral drugs.


So I moved to the biochemistry department as a direct link from having worked briefly for a year in Industry.

So Searle was funding you there?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Oh that’s really interesting.