Lara Devenish

Lara Devenish

Research Laboratory Technician

Lara's job title is Quality Control Associate Scientist at Autolus

What I do

I have been working for Autolus for almost four years, which is a bio-pharmaceutical company that specialises in CAR-T cell therapies for cancer patients. In that time, I’ve worked in both Quality Assurance (QA) – which is documentation and batch certification – and also Quality Control (QC), which is the testing department.

Lara in the lab

Hear more about Lara's role by watching the video below...

How I became a technician

Following my GCSEs, I went on to take BTECs in Applied Science, Business, and Health & Social Care. I wanted to do an apprenticeship. What appealed to me was the fact that you could do hands-on work rather than from a textbook or PowerPoint. I learn better doing practical things rather than being classroom-based and writing down notes, so an apprenticeship was the best route for me personally.

A typical day in my
working life

A little more about
my everyday role

What I love most about my job

Even though we don’t get to personally know much about the patients, we do have their data and we can see their health and how they benefit. Treatment is still in clinical trial phase, so all patients are end-of-life, but our work is making a massive difference to their lives and giving them extra time with friends and family. Some are in remission for years and some only for a few months, but knowing we have given them a little bit more time is rewarding.

Our treatment isn’t like chemotherapy, which can cause pain and discomfort. You don't tend to have that with these therapies, they tend to live quite normal lives afterwards. So, to see that patient data, and see the patient actually get better, despite not meeting them, is really worth it. We cover patients from very young ages all the way up to patients in their 60s and 70s.

The best bits about working in a team

I have lots of people around me at work that have PhDs and Master’s who want to see me succeed, so they have helped me through my training. You are part of the team and they don’t treat you any differently because you are an apprentice - they train you up and you are respected and valued.

The next steps in my career journey

My company is generously letting me continue to take my Bachelor’s, but I have a bit of a break before I start.

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