Mia Callens

Mia Callens

Mia Callens graduated from the University of Leeds having completed her MChem BSc in Medicinal Chemistry. She completed her final year project under the supervision of Professor Adam Nelson, working on the discovery of novel kinase inhibitors using an activity-directed synthesis approach. 

Mia joined the ESPRC Synthesis for Biology and Medicine CDT in 2019, and is currently working in the Brennan group as part of her second rotation, specifically on making small molecules to inhibit GTPase/GEF complexes.

Year in Industry at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

During her undergraduate studies at Leeds, Mia spent a year working within Process Chemistry at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Stevenage, investigating alternative synthetic routes to drug intermediates. 

The most satisfying aspect of my role is seeing a route progress from idea to application. It is truly rewarding to overcome the challenges in designing and improving a synthesis, as well as further planning for the future of the project

“My role within the company is in process and development, specifically working as a research chemist in route investigation. Throughout the journey from molecule to medicine, the synthetic strategy towards a drug compound is often changed from drug discovery to manufacture. To support this transition, API Chemistry works to design and optimise the synthesis towards the target, considering factors such as safety, efficiency and cost for multi kilogram production.

Day to day, I work in a laboratory carrying out experiments towards key intermediates. This is always done after searching and reading the relevant literature to identify the most appropriate reaction conditions.

The most satisfying aspect of my role is seeing a route progress from idea to application. It is truly rewarding to overcome the challenges in designing and improving a synthesis, as well as further planning for the future of the project.”

During the course of my placement, I have gained an extensive understanding of the methodology and practice that contributes towards designing and supplying a medicine.

Mia added, “I applied for the industrial placement scheme at GSK as it is a fantastic opportunity to learn from and work alongside first-rate scientists, utilising knowledge from university to tackle challenges within healthcare.

During the course of my placement, I have gained an extensive understanding of the methodology and practice that contributes towards designing and supplying a medicine. I have the ability and confidence to work within a team with the goal of improving healthcare and patients’ lives.”

Advice and tips

“I would strongly recommend doing an industrial placement. Find a company that compliments your values and do lots of research before applying!”