Sharon Williams, Project Manager

Taylor Hayward

International Day of Women & Girls in Science 2021

Can you tell us a little about your journey into science?

I was always interested in how things work and much to the annoyance of my parents I regularly used to take my toys apart to see how they worked (even if I couldn’t put them back together again!). But I really got my love of science from having an amazing science teacher at school who made the subject exciting and open to everyone he taught.

I was introduced to biotechnology just before I chose where I wanted to study at university, and I found the mix of science and engineering in biotechnology attractive. So, I decided to study Biological Science, specialising in Biotechnology at the University of Wolverhampton.

My course included a sandwich placement, and I was lucky to find a year placement as a Research Assistant in the Biochemical Recovery Group run by Professor Andy Lyddiatt in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. This was my first experience of biochemical engineering, and more specifically downstream processing, which is still the field I work in today.

After I finished my degree, I completed my PhD with the same group at The University of Birmingham studying novel solid phases for the recovery of nanoparticulates.

Can you tell us about your current role at Astrea, what are your responsibilities?

I am currently a Project Manager for Astrea Bioseparations where I am responsible for managing several projects within the business including the client projects and the Cell and Gene Therapy portfolio. I am also responsible for the management of the R&D project portfolio.

What do you find most challenging about working in science?

The challenges of working in science have changed over my career, but one of the greatest challenges throughout my career has been finding opportunities to work with women in leadership roles as in my career to date there have been few leadership positions occupied by women in the businesses I have been involved with.

And finally, what do you enjoy most about working in science?

Making a difference. My small contribution everyday forms part of the larger contribution of every scientist working to improve the lives of people around the world and I am proud that I am part of that.

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