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AlphaBiolabs is marking an important day in the global calendar, as people come together to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Held on 11th February, this international event led by UNESCO and UN Women champions the role of women and girls in the scientific community, as well as encouraging equal access to STEM roles for women and girls around the world.

At AlphaBiolabs, we are incredibly fortunate to have so many talented women on our team.

Each works exceptionally hard every day to deliver outstanding service for customers and clients, as well as pioneering new methods for laboratory testing and analysis.

Here, we chat to AlphaBiolabs’ Head of DNA and Covid Testing, Casey Randall, and our Laboratory Manager for Toxicology, Harriet Challenger, about their roles and what led them to choose a career in science.

Casey Randall, Head of DNA and Covid Testing at AlphaBiolabs

Casey Randall

Casey joined the AlphaBiolabs team in 2012 and heads up both the DNA and Covid-19 testing teams, having played a key role in establishing AlphaBiolabs’ Covid-19 testing laboratory in 2020.

An expert in DNA analysis and a member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG), Casey holds an MSc with Distinction in DNA Profiling and a First-Class BSc with Honours in Forensic Science.

What led to you choosing a career in science?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by science. Especially biology and genetics.

When I was at school science lessons were always my favourite. It’s what led to me choosing science courses at college and later continuing my scientific studies at university.

How do you feel the industry has changed since you started work? Do you think STEM roles are more accessible for women in 2022?

At AlphaBiolabs, we have more and more women joining our technical teams all the time, and STEM jobs are definitely more accessible than they have ever been. 

Women have been making significant contributions within STEM roles for many years, so it is great to see women taking up more prominent positions in their organisations and being recognised for their achievements.

What excites you most about your role at AlphaBiolabs?

I love how committed we are to innovation at AlphaBiolabs. We are constantly striving to provide the best possible testing services for our customers.

As a team, we are encouraged to continually review and improve our methodology. We are always looking to conduct additional research to validate new services and ensure the highest quality standards are maintained.

What advice would you give to young women and girls looking to get into the same field?

Go into a field of work that you’re really passionate about!

Roles within STEM are always evolving and changing, so a career in this sector will require you to learn something new every day. You’ll also need to be flexible, adaptable, and eager to drive innovation. 

Harriet Challenger, Laboratory Manager (Toxicology) at AlphaBiolabs

A respected scientist with more than 20 years’ experience in the forensic field, Harriet joined AlphaBiolabs in 2018 to oversee the company’s growing toxicology team.

Managing the toxicology laboratories’ highly experienced teams of administrators, analysts and reporting scientists, Harriet is responsible for ensuring that all deadlines are met, while delivering the highest possible standard of service for clients.

What led to you choosing a career in science?

I had an aptitude for chemistry in school and as soon as I got into a toxicology laboratory, I fell in love with it.

The ability to learn and continuously develop your skills in an ever-changing field is both fascinating and satisfying in equal measure. Nearly 35 years later, I still enjoy every working day.

How do you feel the industry has changed since you started work? Do you think STEM roles are more accessible for women in 2022?

I first began working in a toxicology lab in 1988 and I have certainly seen an increase in the number of women working in the field since then.

That being said, I’ve never found gender to be a barrier to any opportunity.

What excites you most about your role at AlphaBiolabs?

Toxicology is a fascinating field with new drugs constantly emerging and new technological advances coming in all the time.  

The fast-paced culture and commitment to innovation at Alphabiolabs allows us to keep up with these changes. There is always scope for anyone to make suggestions for new methods or products, and no two days are ever the same.

Knowing that the work we do has an impact on other people’s lives and giving them the results they need is very fulfilling.

What advice would you give to young women and girls looking to get into the same field?

I’d echo Casey’s remarks and say choose a subject that interests you.

A degree in a relevant subject is essential. Practical experience is also hugely beneficial so make sure to take that industrial year or summer job if it’s offered.

UKAS-accredited laboratory testing from AlphaBiolabs

AlphaBiolabs works with customers across the UK, providing market-leading DNA, drug, alcohol, and Covid-19 testing services for members of the public, the legal sector and the workplace sector.

For more information on our testing services, you can call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com.

Want to work at AlphaBiolabs? Keep an eye on our website for updates on the latest roles.