PhD Profiles: From molecular biology to scientific content writing

Dr Caitlin Richardson, PhD is the Technical and Scientific Content Lead at ramarketing.

Caitlin uses her extensive scientific expertise and experience in the industry to help pharma clients achieve their goals in life science marketing.

Specializing in molecular biology, Caitlin uses that knowledge to produce compelling articles and thought leadership pieces, and hosts highly beneficial company-wide sector knowledge training sessions.

Get to know Caitlin and how she ended up in her current role at ramarketing…

Tell us more about your PhD!

💬  I have a joint MRes-PhD in bacterial molecular biology, both in the same lab at the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology at Newcastle University.

My A levels were in religious studies, law, and biology… So I actually only did one science course. The rest were geared towards forming well-structured arguments in written work, because, apparently, I love arguing.

I have a degree in Biomedical Science that included a year in an R&D lab at Sekisui Diagnostics.

I finished my degree with First class honors, and won two awards; one for being the finalist with the best performance in Microbiology and the other “for distinguished performance in the Stage 1, 2, 3 or 4 examinations”, which basically means being really good at writing exam essays.

What drew you to a life of science?

💬  I wasn’t bad at anything in school, apart from PE. Even though I found out I didn’t want to do law early on, I really enjoyed learning about it. I just didn’t enjoy the actual practice.

When I left school, as a typical teenager, my decisions were entirely based on what I found fun at the time.

I went into Biomedical Science, and I must admit, part of the reason I chose to go to the University of Kent was because the campus was so pretty.

Why did you choose your particular specialization?

💬 Because I love animals. I really enjoyed learning about endocrinology – which is the study of hormones – but learning about that without harming animals is inherently difficult.

I just couldn’t imagine that. You would have to use mouse or rat models or another animal. And I had rats as pets. They’re like amazing little dogs. So, endocrinology was out.

That was probably the biggest draw to bacterial microbiology for me, not hurting animals.

Is there any scientific work that you’re proud of?

💬 When I was working at UCB – a major bio-pharmaceutical company – I was purifying this antibody drug for a disease that my dad has.

My family all have auto-immune diseases and my dad’s is the worst one: myasthenia gravis. So I worked on optimizing the purification of their monoclonal antibody drug for it, out of pure chance.

How come you ended up in pharmaceutical copywriting? 

💬 I’d produced a lot of written material during my PhD, and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. After my PhD, I was pretty much set on a career in medical communications, so I did that for a year – mainly working on slide decks for medical conferences and the like.

Eventually, a recruiter reached out to me about ramarketing, and I ended up here.

I didn’t know anything about marketing whatsoever, but now I love it. I just want to be constantly learning, because ultimately that’s what I enjoy. The role I have now lets me do that.

Tell us your best or worst lab memory…

💬 Probably the guy that accidentally dropped a liter bottle of a carcinogenic chemical down a stairwell.

You could smell it three floors up, and my supervisor was like: “Why is everyone leaving? There are gels to be run”. Then fire engines had to come and evacuate us.

Connect with Caitlin Richardson, PhD on LinkedIn!

Related news, insight and opinion