Lindsey – Pharmacology lecturer

If you are thinking of a career in biomedical sciences, perhaps even in pharmacology, you too could follow in Lindsey’s footsteps and become a lecturer helping to inspire the next generation of scientists.

What attracted you to this job?

I really enjoy being the person who can inspire students in my field of science. It is amazing to know that I am teaching the next generation of top researchers. Our students are really motivated to learn more and it’s great to work with that kind of energy and enthusiasm. It really keeps you on your toes.

What does your typical day involve?

I start the day normally with a catch up of my emails to check if any students have any queries or if I have any administration to do. Then my day is normally split between lectures, seminars and practical classes during term time. Out of term I concentrate on writing up any of my research ideas for publication or reviewing our teaching for the next year’s intake of students.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?

Knowing that I have inspired a student to pursue a career in biomedical sciences. This is something I was amazed with when I was a student so if I find out I’ve had the same effect on one of my own students it’s a real buzz.

What do your friends and family think about your job?

My family is really proud of what I do and how far I’ve come in my career. My friends have always said I am a perfect teacher and often make fun of me when I try and explain the science behind everyday things to them. Even though I didn’t plan on being involved in teaching science in my career when I look back to very early school reports (ages of 5 and 6) my teachers back then said I always tried to help my class mates do their work as well!

Tell us more about your environment in terms of work-life balance

The work-life balance in higher education is sometimes hard as you have to be prepared to work long hours sometimes to get publications out quickly or meet research/teaching deadlines. However, that said I always manage to get family time back when my work load settles down.

How did you get to where you are today?

After GCSE’s and A-levels I studied for an undergraduate degree in Pharmacology. Once I had graduated I decided to stay on in research because I had enjoyed it so much and completed a PhD in the same field as my undergraduate degree. After my PhD I worked for a year in the NHS as a prescribing advisor and then went back to university research as a postdoctoral research associate. I spent two years working on my own research before applying for a teaching fellowship at the university. The teaching fellowship (which lasted 3 years) really was my introduction to becoming a university lecturer.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of following your path?

As with many things, make sure you pick a subject field that really interests you. In science you are expected to become an expert in your field and to do this you need to devote a lot of time and effort into your work. You cannot do this in something you don’t find that interesting especially if you want to go into scientific research. My other advice would be to make the most of any experience/skill development opportunities you can. You never know when that skill may come in handy and overall it will make you a better employee.

How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for someone in your field, and how much can this be expected to rise?

Higher education is well paid, but perhaps not as well paid as other teacher sectors. Generally a lecturer would expect to start on £32K per year with this rising substantially with experience.

Out of ‘office hours’, what lights your fire?

I am a keen swimmer so try to visit the pool at least 3 times per week. I generally spend a lot of my spare time with my daughter at soft play centres, parks or down by the beach. I love reading novels (especially historical fiction) so when I have the chance I like to relax and read a few chapters of my latest book. I also love gardening so spend a good deal of time picking out the next batch of plants or sometimes food I’m going to grow in my garden.

Have there been any embarrassing moments?

The worst moment was when I managed to forget my basic chemistry and added a water based solution to a strong acid in a practical I was running. The beaker that held the solutions started fizzing everywhere and it even burnt the bench a little! Luckily my students and I were all wearing protective equipment and after the initial shock and the students rightly making fun of me we carried on with the practical. It has certainly made me remember the moto of “do things as you oughta, add the acid to the water”.