BBI’S Dr Karen Whiting joins panel at Women in Science Conference


BBI’S Dr Karen Whiting joins panel at Women in Science Conference

BBI Solutions’ Global Head of New Product Development Dr Karen Whiting has joined leading female figures from across the scientific community to share her career advice at the Women in Science Conference in Liverpool.

Dr Whiting spoke to an audience of more than 150 delegates at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, which included graduates, researchers, and prominent female scientists in both academia and industry.

Speakers were given a platform to share their experiences of working in the industry and offer advice to young women who are looking to pursue an alternate career in science. 

The day comprised of three sessions: Academia, Industry and ‘Stomping out Stereotypes’, which were all followed by interactive panel discussions.

With PhD in Biochemistry, Karen has more than 20 years of experience in the IVD industry, developing and validating lateral flow immunoassay tests for the Diagnostic and Pharmaceutical community for a range of clinical and non-clinical applications.

Recently, her team has been focusing on the introduction of new reagents and technologies to further enhance the sensitivity and specificity of immunoassays.

Speaking at the event, Karen shared her experience of working for BBI Solutions and demonstrated the companies’ expertise in lateral flow development and manufacture with its Morffi™ signal enhancement technology.

Karen said: “It was fantastic to have the opportunity to speak at this year’s Women in Science Conference, which provided a much-needed platform for women across the industry to come together and share their experiences of working in what are often male-dominated environments.

“There is a clear growth in lateral flow point-of-care testing driven by factors including the globalisation of infectious diseases and requirements for tests that can rapidly diagnose a condition -  allowing physicians to quickly treat, monitor and track response to treatments. This is also key for a growing population living with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer. 

“Having the ability to decentralise testing and to have results within minutes rather than hours, is expanding the offering of lateral flow testing to directly improve patient care and it is a very exciting time to be involved in the industry and to drive new innovations in the sector.

“Having female role models and a connected, supportive community is incredibly important in enabling women as they progress in industry. Events such as this are key to create valuable networks and generate awareness of the myriad of exciting roles and career pathways within the sector. It was a privilege to be able to share my BBI journey with these colleagues and I look forward to engaging with LSTM and its network going forward.”

Professor Janet Hemingway, Director of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said: "Women have a critical role in science, whether in industry, academia, implementation organisations or other bodies. Despite several decades of documenting the problem of too few women at top level in science progress has been too slow. This meeting and other initiatives represent a change in emphasis, documenting solutions rather than problems, celebrating success and providing role models for women at all stages of their careers. We hope that participants will have gone from this meeting with the increased confidence and self-belief to articulate and achieve their goals."

Vera Unwin, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine PGR student and event organiser, said: “We felt the most important outcome of the meeting should be the generation of strategies to tackle gender inequity in the workplace. Drawing on experience from the speakers as well as the audience, we wanted to identify solutions we could implement here at the LSTM and that attendees could take back to their institutes. The meeting provided an open discussion platform to do this, as well as showcase the work of leading female scientists; inspiring the next generation and providing unique networking opportunities.”

BBI Solutions is a leading manufacturer of raw materials and finished test platforms for the in-vitro diagnostics market. Its lateral flow development capability has been greatly enhanced by gaining the ability to develop custom antibodies through the acquisition of Maine Biotechnology Services (MBS).

This capability, combined with smartphone test reader technology provided by BBI's diagnostic specialist Novarum™ DX, means the business can now develop a unique antibody for any assay, develop and manufacture the test on an OEM basis and deliver test results, of lab-quality, to the end-user via a bespoke mobile medical app.

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