Melody Chin is a Clinical Trial Manager in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) Surgical Intervention Trials Unit. Here she describes her career to date, what she is working on at present and what a typical week looks like for her.
Number of years in clinical trial management:
I have worked for 8 months as a manager, and 8 years in clinical trial related jobs.
How did you get here?
My first introduction to clinical trials was when I worked at UCL Cancer Institute as a Research Assistant on a Phase II myeloma trial, CARDAMON. I was involved in liaising with different hospital sites to arrange delivery of samples to the central laboratory, took part in regular TMG meetings and presented key trial updates to the team. After that, I decided I was more interested in clinical trial related research rather than basic science due to the impact trials can have on patient care. I moved to KCL where I was a Clinical Trials Assistant working on two rheumatoid arthritis CTIMP trials APIPPRA and ALTO. My role bridged the gap between the biobanking lab and the trial management group so I was involved in different aspects of the trial including generating a comprehensive database covering 16000+ samples!
What are you working on at present?
I am currently working on DISCUS which is a trial comparing two different surgical interventions for spinal cord injury.
What do you do in a typical day/week?
Each week can vary quite a lot depending on the needs of the trial at that moment in time. However, typically my day involves emails, keeping on top of the trial master file, writing reports and liaising with different stakeholders. Apart from the usual admin jobs, we have recently designed DISCUS promotional pens ahead of International Clinical Trials Day and we are in the process of designing some new posters for the trial!
What education/qualifications do you have?
I did BSc Biomedical Sciences at UCL and then MSc Molecular Medicine at Imperial College London. I am currently studying part time for a PGCert in Clinical Trials with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
What skills or attributes are most valuable in your role?
I would say that the key skills for this role are organisation, attention to detail and the ability to liaise with different people.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in trial management?
Go for it! As trial management is so varied, you can apply many transferrable skills that you may have already learnt from previous jobs. The best thing I did was to talk to people who worked in trial management and I found a mentor who was a trial manager. Also, if there is any chance of getting some work experience or shadowing someone, that could also help.
Why should someone come and work in Oxford?
The main reason I love working in NDS Surgical Intervention Trials Unit is because of the people. The team made me feel settled in no time and there is always someone on hand to help or chat with. As our team is quite large, there is a wide range of different backgrounds and experiences. Apart from the world-renowned prestige of University of Oxford, Oxford is a very beautiful city to work in. I particularly love the Oxford Botanic Garden and the range of cute restaurants, pubs and cafes.