Inside the lab with CTAP coordinator Shenna

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Every month we’ll be chatting to some of the amazing people working in cystic fibrosis research. Today let us introduce Shenna. Shenna started her science journey promoting public health in rural areas of the Philippines. She’s now CTAP coordinator at the Bart’s and Royal London CF Centre, within the Trust’s Trials Accelerator Programme.

Shenna

Hi Shenna! Can you tell us about your role?

As CTAP co-ordinator, I work closely with the adult and paediatric CF clinical teams at the Barts and Royal London CF centre and sponsors to support the day-to-day responsibilities of our current trials.

This involves regular communication to ensure the faster set-up of studies, safe conduct of study visits and keeping up to date about other trials around the Trials Accelerator network. I’m also the main point of contact for people with CF who are interested and enrolled in our studies. I enjoy sharing what studies we have at Barts to those who are curious and want to be involved.

What kind of studies does your centre run?

We cover a range of studies at Bart’s. The observational studies we run are for children and adults with CF looking at the impact of Kaftrio overtime and also the treatment burden after starting Kaftrio.

We also have a modulator study that compares a new once-daily triple modulation therapy with Kaftrio in people with different classes of CF mutation. Following this, people are invited to participate in a 96-week open-label trial currently in the set-up stage. 

There is also a registry-based trial called CF STORM to determine whether people with stable CF disease on Kaftrio can safely stop daily mucolytic therapies.  For children with CF, we have an important study that assesses the safety and effectiveness of Flucloxacillin as a long-term prophylactic agent. This study is called CF START. 

The beauty of working in clinical research or science generally is that learning is limitless, and the work is fulfilling.

Shenna

What do you love most about working in science?

The beauty of working in clinical research or science generally is that learning is limitless, and the work is fulfilling. This is what I love the most. Purpose for me is more than earning a living. When we openly talk about science, there is always the feeling of contributing to society and its future. In clinical research, for example, we work to help find better treatments with less burden and cost to our patients and the NHS.

For others, it may be finding a cause of a particular condition to help prevent disease progression. Whatever tasks you are involved in, science is mentally stimulating as a discipline where we drive progress for a better quality of life. 

I have also met brilliant people in my field who are passionate about their work. I have learned lots of skills and knowledge from them. These people have also shared their experiences during their early years of learning and imparted those important lessons which I have carried with me. Because I am surrounded by people who excel at what they do, I am inspired to aim more professionally while putting my patients at the centre of what I do.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in a career in science?

I say go for it! Read about the different fields of science, try to find good mentors, and be bold and reach out to anyone you know is successful in your chosen field. I have always felt a positive sense of accomplishment since I started my science journey. From being exposed to rural areas promoting public health in the Philippines to supporting and managing clinical trials for people with CF in the UK.

It feels good to work around people with a common goal. Surround yourself with people who challenge you mentally and share a passion and those willing to share their achievements. One last thing, never be afraid to fail. Always remember the familiar line, scientific progress is based on failure.

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, Shenna!


This CF Week (12-18 June), we’re celebrating the incredible progress we’ve already made in CF research, and looking forward to the breakthroughs we can make in the future. Together.

Find out more about how you can get involved and help create a brighter future for everyone with CF.

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