A Geneticist Turns to Copywriting (AGTC) – just another med comms abbreviation!
18th May 2023
Hello, I’m Rachel! I have just joined RubyDuke and, as is tradition, I am writing this blog to introduce myself and explain how I got to this point in my medical writing journey.
I am from a scientific background, having spent around the last 7 years in either clinical or research laboratories.
So here I am, having shed the white lab coat and pipette to embark on my medical writing journey.
From an early age I was fascinated by science, turning whatever I could into an experiment. Whether it was ‘helping’ my mum in the kitchen or playing in the garden…and probably much to my parents’ worry, often thinking “I wonder what will happen if…”. My favourite subject at school was Biology and although the flames and fire of chemistry were exciting, for me it was always more intriguing to find out what was going on inside our bodies. What makes us, us and how does it all work?!
I went to Loughborough University to study Human Biology and it was there I developed a real enthusiasm for genetics. Three years later I secured my first job in a clinical genetics laboratory. Younger me believed laboratories were these mystical places with people in white coats that only existed on TV shows (I suppose that’s not too far from the truth, I still find them mystical) but this really gave me the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of healthcare science while learning about numerous genetic disorders. From here I returned to my home town of Birmingham to do a PhD and later became a postdoctoral researcher in Cardiovascular Sciences with a particular focus on haematology and genetics. I studied inherited platelet disorders — it may seem odd for a self-proclaimed geneticist to study a disease in a cell type void of a nucleus — but trust me, it is possible!
While studying for my PhD I discovered a love of writing. While some researchers may dread writing up their results in fear of exposing failed experiments, I enjoyed seeing a story come together – even if it wasn’t always positive, scary stories are still stories! I presented at conferences and also took part in patient outreach and volunteering days, allowing me to showcase my work and tailor it to different audiences. Healthcare affects us all, so why shouldn’t we all be able to understand it? In my experience it was always rewarding when I could explain a complex scientific process in a digestible way. This was often the case trying to explain to family what I was actually working on! In an academic setting you’re encouraged to use the biggest and most technical explanations but conveying those same messages in everyday language takes skill. Now I’m not saying I’m skilled in that area yet, but I know that’s what I’m working towards! In medical communications I have found a way to combine my longstanding fascination with science, health and disease with writing and articulating complex messages to diverse audiences.
So this is where I’m at right now, a scientist embarking on a journey in medical communications with RubyDuke! Science and writing are two of my passions, which I used to think were separate entities, like separate strands of DNA. As my education and career progressed, my research and communication skills have linked together, coiling over the years in the form of healthcare communications – and so the double helix of med-comms began to assemble! Piece by piece each ‘nucleobase’ of experience helped to link the two strands together. So where better to begin this journey than with a group of like-minded copywriters creating high quality content and making the world a better place in the process. I’m so excited to join team RubyDuke, to learn new therapy areas and apply my knowledge and experience to support our clients on a variety of projects.
Outside of work you will probably find me either cooking in the kitchen, (I meant it when I said I love an experiment!) in the gym or running. I like to keep active when I can. I also like DIY, after refitting a bathroom and kitchen during the COVID pandemic I feel ready for another home improvement project soon! Watch this space…
If you want to find out more about Rachel, then get in touch with Kelly, our Operations Manager. She can help you find out all about our team and how they can support you.