Life Science Graduate Employability Masterclasses

Wednesday 3rd February, Wednesday 17th February and Wednesday 3rd March 2021

Sign up for this series of events to hear from industry experts and learn how a product goes from concept to the commercial marketplace. You will also learn about the diverse range of jobs available in an industrial life science setting. Sessions will be delivered using Zoom. You will be sent the link in advance of each event.

Each Masterclass will include a company introduction and a group exercise focused on that module topic. There will also be a short time for questions. Attendance will be recorded and digital badges from SULSA/ScotChem will be awarded: Gold for participating in all 3 events, Silver for 2 and Bronze for 1. Each Masterclass will consist of two sessions - attendance is required at both sessions to be eligible for the digital badge.  

Date Time Titles Companies Presenters
03/02/21 1.50-4.30pm

Identifying Future Winners in PM

Precision Diagnostics from San Diego to Glasgow

Precision Medicine IC


Marian McNeil

Harper VanSteenhouse

17/02/21 1.50-4.30pm

The science works, but is your what you have ‘ready’ to be a commercially viable product

Problem Solving with Analytical Science in the Pharmaceutical Industry – demonstrating the importance and impact


Astra Zeneca Macclesfield

Deborah O'Neil


Alexander Abbott, Lisa Penney, Claudia Gatti

03/03/21 1.50-4.30pm

Pulling Together the Market Launch

Maximising Sales in Segments

Reckitt Benckiser Corrie Scott and Craig Leamy


How to register

Sign-up for the events on CareerConnect. Links for attending the events will be sent to participants the day before each event.

Speakers for the Events

Marian McNeil, speaking on the topic: "Identifying Future Winners in Precision Medicine"

Marian McNeilMarian McNeil is the Chief Executive of Precision Medicine Scotland – Innovation Centre where she has worked for 3 years. She has developed a strong understanding of precision medicine, gained through a variety of exemplar projects (6 to date) which have been run at Precision Medicine Scotland. These exemplar projects were in Rheumatoid Arthritis, Pancreatic Cancer, Oesophageal Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, IBD/COPD and Multiple Sclerosis.

“The objectives of the exemplar projects were to rapidly complete, powerful case studies that showcase the unique offering from the Innovation Centre and demonstrates a route by which future clients of the centre can benefit from its services.”

Marian gained a M.Sc. in Stratified Medicine and Pharmacological Innovation at the University of Glasgow. Prior to that she developed her extensive business experience from various management level roles within the pharmaceutical industry where she worked for over 10 years, working mostly in the Oncology Divisions of AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly.

Harper VanSteenhouse, speaking on the topic of: "Precision Diagnostics from San Diego to Glasgow"

Harper VanSteenhouseHarper VanSteenhouse, PhD, is President and Co-Founder of Precision Diagnostics company—BioClavis, Ltd. In addition, Harper (and BioClavis) have been assisting the NHS Test and Trace program as Site Director of the Lighthouse Laboratory in Glasgow, a large 85K sample/day coronavirus testing lab. Harper has extensive experience in both product commercialization and development/management, with a focus on strategic, financial, marketing and operations leadership. He is formally trained in cell and molecular developmental biology with a PhD in Neuroscience from University of California, San Diego.

Dr. VanSteenhouse has over a decade of experience in commercialization and marketing of a variety of life science products and technologies. As Director of Technical Integration at BioSpyder, Harper joined the growing company to lead commercialization (sales, marketing, and business development) and ultimately the initiative to spin out BioClavis as a diagnostics company in Europe. At Illumina, he was involved in a number of corporate marketing projects including web, outbound and events. Then, held management responsibilities for a line of array products for structural variation detection, and led development of a diagnostic microarray for detection of chromosomal abnormalities in children. In a leadership role in the diagnostics product marketing group, he managed a broad portfolio of products under development as diagnostic applications of next-generation sequencing. At BioNano Genomics, he built and led marketing and commercialization efforts for the definition and launch of the new company brand, product development, and commercial rollout of products based on single-molecule imaging. At Fluidigm, he led field marketing and sales training and support, responsible for their entire product portfolio of single-cell, genomic and proteomic instrumentation and consumables.

Deborah O'Neil, speaking on the topic of "The science works, but is your what you have ‘ready’ to be a commercially viable product"

Deborah O'NeilDeborah O’Neil is a biotechnology entrepreneur and immunologist by training and has two decades of experience in the field of anti-infectives research & drug development. She studied at University College London and then worked in postdoctoral positions in internationally acclaimed laboratories in San Diego and Ghent before moving to Aberdeen where, in order to fully develop the therapeutic and commercial potential of innate immune effector molecules as anti-infective therapies,  formed NovaBiotics; successfully spinning the business out of the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Research Institute in 2004. 


She has grown NovaBiotics to a leading global biotechnology business developing a portfolio of first-in-class, clinical-stage compounds and a robust and exciting pipeline of earlier stage drug candidates; potentially part of the solution to an unfolding global antimicrobial resistance crisis. NovaBiotics’ technology addresses the urgent, unmet need for safe and effective antibacterial and antifungal therapies for difficult to treat and drug (multi) resistant infections, rare and respiratory diseases (including Nylexa® as a therapy for COVID-19). Deborah led the team that secured landmark co-development and licensing deals for NovaBiotics’ lead product candidates, Novexatin and Lynovex and have raised more than $30 m in equity and grant funding for NovaBiotics. She has hands-on, front-line experience in taking drug candidates for challenging conditions from invention and early laboratory discovery through to clinical development and commercialisation.


In addition, Deborah is a Board member of the UK’s BioIndustry Association, a Director and founding member of the BEAM Alliance (Biotechs of Europe innovating in Anti-Microbial Resistance), was a member of the Scottish Life Sciences Industry Leadership Group and sit on the Boards of the Scottish Life Sciences Association and Opportunity North East Life Science/BioAberdeen. She is Chairperson of the UK’s Medicines Discovery Catapult-Cystic fibrosis (CF) Trust’s working group on antimicrobials in CF and sits on the UK BioIndustry Association’s working group on AMR. She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2018 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Deborah was named as one of the 20 women leaders in European biotech in 2019, one of the 30 top female leaders in UK Healthcare in 2018 one of the 15 leading women European biotech in 2017. In 2020, she was made OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for services to biotechnology, industry and charity.


Alexander Abbott, Lisa Penney and Claudia Gatti, speaking on the topic of "Problem Solving with Analytical Science in the Pharmaceutical Industry – demonstrating the importance and impact"

Photo of Alex AbbottAlex Abbott is a Senior Scientist in analytical chemistry at AstraZeneca (Macclesfield) working in Oral Product Development since joining the company as a Scientist in 2017. Alex specialises in Risk-Based Predictive Stability (RBPS) – the ‘art’ of predicting long-term shelf-lives for drug substance and drug product based on short-term accelerated stability data. Alex has additional roles in analytical automation, Lean leadership, recruitment and capital (equipment) purchasing.

Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Alex completed a BSc in Forensic Science and subsequently an MSc in Analytical Science for Industry at King’s College London. Alex is a keen advocate of continued professional development (CPD), has pursued a number of RSC professional qualifications and is currently a mentor for the RSC.

Can be reached at: 


Photo of Lisa PenneyLisa Penney is a Senior Scientist in analytical chemistry at AstraZeneca (Macclesfield) working in Chemical Development (2019 to date). In this role, Lisa leads projects entering late phase clinical trials (phase 2b and phase 3), with a focus on developing an overall control strategy to ensure drug substance quality. Lisa is also a member of the analytical method lifecycle community of practice, leading a workstream that evaluates long-term robustness and ruggedness of drug substance and drug product methods.

Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Lisa held a variety of roles in industrial, academic and government laboratories in various parts the UK and Canada (her home country). Before working in industry, Lisa completed her MSc in chemistry at the University of British Columbia and BSc in chemistry at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Can be reached at: 


Photo of Claudia GattiClaudia Gatti is Scientist at AstraZeneca (Macclesfield, UK), working in the early phase of drug development (2019 - to date). Claudia’s job focuses on supporting early phase chemical development projects and taking on analytical leadership of some. Claudia is also part of the Supercritical Fluid Chromatography (SFC) and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) groups, supporting their use in projects from across departments.

Prior to this Claudia was awarded a bachelor degree in Chemistry and a Master in Chemical Sciences from the University of Milan (Italy) (2009 - 2015). She then moved to UK to carry out her PhD studies at the University of Liverpool where she also become Associate Fellow of the HEA (2015 - 2020).

Can be reached at: 

Corrie Scott, speaking on the topic of: "Pulling Together the Market Launch" and "Maximising Sales in Segments"

Corrie ScottCorrie Scott joined Reckitt Benckiser in Sept 2019 on the Future Leaders Programme (FLP), where she is doing three rotations to get experience in different areas of the business. Her first rotation was in a new product development role in a team spanning across the Nurofen, Strepsils and Mucinex brands.  Next she spent 6 months in the Durex medical team gaining knowledge and experience working in sexual wellbeing. Thirdly, she will be working in an Research & Development Operations role making sure RB products are managed successfully after launch.

She has an MChem in Medicinal & Biological Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh where she was part of the University Performance swimming programme competing at lots of university, national and international competitions.

Her favourite thing about working at RB is that it is very fast paced, so especially when moving around the business on the FLP programme you learn so fast and can gain so much experience in such a short time.

Craig Leamy, speaking on the topic of "Pulling Together the Market Launch" and "Maximising Sales in Segments"

Craig LeamyCraig Leamy graduated in Biological Sciences from Heriot Watt University and joined Reckitt Benckiser on the Future Leadership Programme in Research and Development.  He has worked on brands such as Nurofen, Durex and Dettol. He is currently working in the Dettol Outside Innovation team which is responsible for working with external partners and to identify, assess and engage with novel technologies that could be applicable for Dettol.

At University Craig was involved with the Sports Union as part of the basketball team and on the executive committee.

His favourite thing about working at RB is working with a wide range of people from all different backgrounds and ideating with them and seeing something start from just an idea and grow into a project.