Alexandria Kilvington recently joined VH Bio as a Molecular Biology Technical Sales Specialist. Find out about her role, background and some of her interests!
I graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a 1st Class honours degree in Human Biology which included a year working in the clinical research laboratories at the University of Sheffield. After this, I worked in retail for a year while I applied for PhDs. I got lots of nice free clothes but no PhD, so I started a master’s in Molecular Medicine at the University of Leeds. I graduated with a distinction and started my PhD straight afterwards! My PhD discipline was in Oncology and Virology at the University of Leeds. I aimed to develop a cell model of liver cell differentiation, to investigate how hepatitis c virus (HCV) can cause the development of a primary liver cancer called cholangiocarcinoma. Patients previously infected with chronic HCV even when the virus was eradicated by antiviral drugs, do not revert to baseline risk for cancer development and this was where my research interest lies.
My academic career gave me experience in microbiology, cell culture, RNA-sequencing data analysis, CAT3 laboratory work, protein detection methods (immunofluorescence and western blotting) and qPCR which can help me aid other people in molecular biology techniques.
I wanted to move away from academia into a more social role but keep in touch with research. This job allows me to do this and see how it can move into a clinical setting. I enjoyed working as part of a big laboratory group, learning from them and training new students. I think these factors together will aid me in helping others in their work through VH Bio and the Molecular Biology portfolio.
Describe what your job entails:
My job is to discuss the potential VH Bio can have to meet the molecular biology needs of current and potential customers, in the Northern and Republic of Ireland regions. I can help in identifying key products to meet customer needs within the Molecular Biology field.
I am looking forward to getting out and about meeting customers and finding out what they may need from the VH Bio molecular biology portfolio to enhance their work and hear about their work too!
I will also provide ongoing support to customers throughout, including training and technical support. I am always happy to help!
What is your career and/or educational background?
I have spent the last few years completing a PhD based in oncology and virology. I was focusing on the primary liver cancer, Cholangiocarcinoma, and how the virus, hepatitis c virus (HCV), can promote its development even post-antiviral treatment! Throughout this I have worked with cell culture, category 3 viruses and I have learnt a lot about molecular biology techniques. I have also undertaken a considerable amount of troubleshooting! Which I think will make me helpful to people using products from the VH Bio portfolio.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, especially the newest member my baby niece! I enjoy going to the beach whether it’s in the UK or further afield. I also enjoy cooking, the gym, lino printing and reading about science. The latest book I read was focused on new discoveries about dinosaurs as a result of new technologies.
Describe your perfect weekend?
A pub trip in Leeds with my partner and friends in the sunshine with some street food on the Saturday. On Sunday I love a good chill day, going for brunch, doing a bit of shopping then getting into bed to watch a great series with a massive bowl of nachos!
Currently my weekends consist of writing my thesis, but we can dream.
What is your favourite film?
My partner is trying to up my film taste, but I love Jurassic Park, dirty dancing, and Disney films so according to him it’s not working! I draw the line at horror films, it’s a no from me!
What kept you busy during lockdown?
I was in the second year of my PhD when lockdown started so I was preoccupied with that. My evenings consisted of skincare and movie nights with my flatmate, attempted workouts, zoom quizzes and endless takeaway food when we were able to! As a social person, I am very happy to be able to get out and about now!
If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Buuuurgers. Can’t go wrong with a good cheeseburger and a beer!
If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?
My skincare bag including SPF, an ice box full of nice drinks and snacks, and a good book… yeah, you can just leave me there!