Ever since his time at sixth-form, Jacob Lowman has been interested in drug development and understanding how drugs come to the market. Through studying Pharmacology at the University of Liverpool, he learnt more about the world of clinical research and how he could forge a path into this truly unique career.
Since graduating, he has completed the CRA (Clinical Research Associate) Beginners Course as well as the CPM (Clinical Project Manager) Beginners Course. Although he’s only at the early stages of his career, he has already cultivated the skills to become a confident and capable clinical researcher and practitioner with the support and help of CGX.
What made you think about clinical research as a career choice?
I wanted to go into something that could make a positive impact. When I finished university, I thought I’d get a masters or a PhD and work in a lab. However, I grew to really value the interaction, patient treatment and operational dimensions of clinical research – getting to visit sites, for example, is something I really enjoy in my role now. My degree allowed me to specialise in specific areas and gave me the opportunity to focus on certain diseases and drug developments.
Initially I was more interested in the chemistry involved, but when I learnt more about clinical trials themselves – the organisations and moving parts that make them happen, what’s involved and the different responsibilities people have – it peaked my interest and I thought it was something I could pursue.
After I finished university, I gained experience in a QC lab but found it wasn’t for me; it can be quite repetitive. I was much more interested in the clinical side of the science I was involved in and wanted to have a direct influence on it.
how did you hear about cgx?
I had just finished working with St Stephen’s AIDS Trust on a trial called PReP Impact as a research assistant. I did a little bit of monitoring and data entry; it was quite a nice broad role to start off with.
After I finished there, I started a new role as a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) with a start-up company called ROKC. They referred me to CGX where I took the CRA Beginners Course. The course was valuable for giving me that extra bit of training. I had an understanding of what a CRA did, but I needed some more confidence and to plug the gaps in my knowledge.
Since then, I’ve moved into a Clinical Project Manager (CPM) role, so in October I returned to CGX and took the CPM Beginners Course. Once you get to a CPM level you understand that different companies operate differently, and you need to be flexible in order to adapt to their structures and learn quickly how they are run. So, a course like this was hugely valuable for myself and relevant to the role I’m in now.
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE COURSE FORMAT?
We had a lot to cover but plenty of time to delve into the content in detail, with enough break opportunities along the way. The days ran very smoothly. We were working in quite small groups which helped a lot with discussions – it didn’t feel like you were just being talked at by the tutors; they really appreciated our contributions and ideas.
I think one of the most important features of the course was getting to learn from experts in the field. They told us about some of their experiences as well as the situations and challenges they’ve encountered throughout their career. Even this anecdotal information taught me a lot about best standards and how I need to conduct myself as an efficient CPM.
how will the content from the course be of value to you in your career?
When you’re learning on the job you can feel a bit self-conscious about asking certain questions, but on the CGX courses, the tutors were very open and transparent. Their knowledge has helped me grow in confidence as a clinical practitioner. For me personally, CGX and the courses have also helped me understand the kind of career path I can follow and potential roles and companies I could be a part of in the future.
Jacob Lowman is one of the many students we’ve helped to become a more confident and capable clinical practitioner, with the knowledge to make empowered career choices in their future. We have a range of face-to-face and online courses courses beginning in the new year.
If you want to find out more about courses, our tutors, career preparation and how we could help, don’t hesitate to contact us today.