October 2020

Year in Industry Placement – Charlotte Banfield

Charlotte Banfield, placement student at the University of Leicester

Placement student Charlotte Banfield describes her year of industry with LGC's Drug Development Solutions team, including her successes and insights

My third year of study at the University of Leicester consisted of a year in industry at LGC in Fordham, Cambridgeshire. LGC is a globally leading bioanalytical company with a vision of ‘Science for a Safer World’. It supports fields such as: pharma and healthcare; government and academia; human genomics; agrigenomics; sport; and food.

Within the pharma and healthcare drug development sector of LGC, I was situated in the small molecule bioanalysis (SMB) department. SMB focussed on utilising LC-MS/MS to analyse small molecules in a variety of species and matrices. This allowed the determination of pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) parameters and the dosing profiles of compounds in preclinical and clinical trials.

On average, a day in the laboratory consisted of either method development, validation or sample analysis experiments. I performed different sample preparation methods such as dilution, protein precipitation, liquid-liquid and solid phase extraction (SPE). I developed a greater mass spectrometry knowledge by independently utilising both Sciex API5000 and Waters Xevo TQ-S LC-MS/MS systems.  I also gained experience using programmes such as Analyst, MassLynx and Watso LIMS.

During my placement year, I carried out a project which studied the CYP phenotyping of drug x. This involved incubating drug x with recombinant cDNA expressed human CYP450 enzymes at different timepoints and concentrations. The samples were diluted and analysed by LC-MS/MS to generate concentration data of the drug at the different timepoints. This allowed the identification of the CYP450 isoforms that metabolised drug x and allowed an assessment of to what extent. I also collaborated with the sponsor to understand the role of drug x at the CYP450 sites, its ADME properties and its co-administration with other agents.

Overall, my year in industry at LGC was an experience I will never forget. I learned valuable techniques that I can apply during my masters as well as after graduation. I gained an insight into the pharmaceutical industry, worked with many drugs in preclinical and clinical trials, and prepared COVID-19 testing kits. The year in industry came with its challenges of working full time at LGC and completing third year examinations, not to mention performing this throughout a global pandemic. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and I have made friends for life at LGC through the experience. I was rather saddened to leave LGC after such an incredible year but I'm excited to explore a different area of research during my masters. I would recommend a placement at LGC to any chemistry undergraduate as I feel privileged to have experienced such a valuable and rewarding year.

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