Case study

Clinical scientist — Bindu

Bindu specialises as a clinical scientist in histocompatibility and immunogenetics. Find out how her work impacts on the lives of transplant patients

How did you get your job as a clinical scientist?

After graduating with a BSc in Biomedical Science from Middlesex University, I worked in a laboratory for three years before joining the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP). I completed the three-year STP in 2016, specialising in histocompatibility and immunogenetics (H&I), and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a clinical scientist.

I applied for a job advertised on the NHS jobs website and now work as a clinical scientist in a hospital H&I laboratory.

What's a typical day in H&I like?

I work 7.5 hours a day, Monday to Friday, with on-call.

Most days I perform various laboratory assays such as HLA typing, antibody detection and definition, and crossmatches. Analysing the results generated and reporting results is one of my main responsibilities.

As I gain more experience as a clinical scientist, I will become more involved in validating new techniques, quality/service improvement, managing junior staff and liaising with clinicians.

What do you enjoy about working in H&I?

The best part about working in an H&I laboratory is knowing that our work has a direct impact on the lives of transplant patients, be it bone marrow transplant recipients or kidney recipients.

What are the challenges?

Working on-call can be quite challenging as there are time constraints and the decision to go ahead with a transplant or not is dependent on the results generated. However, knowing that I have directly helped a patient receive a life-saving transplant is very rewarding.

How relevant was your degree?

My undergraduate degree gave me a broad knowledge base in biomedical science. I then completed an MSc Clinical Science as part of the STP training programme. The Masters was complementary to my chosen field of specialisation. Therefore, it provided me with the knowledge required to work as a clinical scientist specialising in H&I.

Any tips on choosing a Masters degree?

Choose a Masters that really excites you and is relevant to the field you want to work in.

What are your career ambitions?

Histocompatibility and immunogenetics is a complex and rewarding specialism. I hope to gain more experience in the field and prepare for the Royal College of Pathologists FRCPath exams in the future.

What advice can you give to others?

You can specialise as a clinical scientist in a variety of disciplines, within and outside of pathology. My advice would be to research the role you’re interested in, gain experience in the field and complete the required training.

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