Elizabeth Finding

Prof-Jonathan-Elliott.jpgCareer progression
1. Studied Veterinary Medicine 

2. Internship at equine hospital 

3. Equine private practice

4. Specialist clinical training

5. PhD

6. Anatomy demonstrator

7. Research Fellowship

Elizabeth is a post-doctoral research Fellow at the Royal Veterinary College

What is your career pathway to date (including your education)?

Undergraduate degree in Veterinary Medicine, 1 year internship in RVC equine hospital, 3 years in equine private practice, 3 year residency in RVC equine hospital (specialist clinical training in equine medicine), PhD investigating role of endothelial dysfunction in predisposition to equine laminitis, 1 year maternity leave within that time, 2 years RVC anatomy demonstrator (teaching predominantly 1st and 2nd year vet students), maternity leave within that time, currently 3 year research fellowship investigating angiogenesis in racehorses.

What do you do? What does a typical week look like to you?

Lab-based research. I spend a lot of time isolating and culturing equine endothelial cells to perform the cell biology experiments which are the main focus of my project. I also analyse blood samples from racehorses to investigate how factors related to angiogenesis change in response to exercise and training.

As well as the hands on lab work I often supervise undergraduate students in the lab and spend time writing papers and grants. I am on the committee of the RVC’s Researcher Association (representing contract researchers and post-docs) so that takes up some of my time most weeks, in meetings or organizing events. I also try to take advantage of as many training courses and opportunities as I can fit in! This is where the BPS has been great; although I am not a pharmacologist by training, some aspects of my research include pharmacology and attending the main Pharmacology meeting as often as I have been able has given me access to lots of useful information and particularly has allowed me to build a network of contacts, despite being an outsider to the field.

What do you like and dislike the most about your current position?

I love the freedom to be able to focus on my own research. I am well supported by the PI in our group but it is great that it is my own project and I am not just a ‘trained monkey’ doing someone else’s project.

I would really like to have more long-term security. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I am going to get a permanent position. I know that will bring less freedom and more responsibility but with a family to support I don’t want to have the risks of short-term contracts any longer.

How do you see your career further progressing in the future?

Ideally moving into a lectureship (probably at one of the veterinary schools) continuing my equine endothelial cell research and teaching both pre-clinical and clinical vet students.

What three pieces of advice would you give someone keen on developing a career in your area of work?

Don’t feel you have to stick to your original career plan, changing your mind is fine!

Get to know as many people as you can in your institution and your field of work, there are always people who are willing and able to help you, the more people you know, the more likely you are to find the people who can help you.

Be curious. By being interested in work outside your immediate field you might get ideas for your own work.

Published: 17 Aug 2020 in Academic and NHS