Real-life story - Ronnie Wright
Ex-professional footballer Ronnie is a clinical scientist working in genetics. He enjoys his role and is proud to be working in an ever-changing field.
How I got into the role
My interest in genetics began during my school years when science-led stories were often in the papers. I found news stories such as genetically modified crops, the human genome mapping project and the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell – Dolly the sheep! - were very fascinating. After school and a brief spell as a professional footballer, I did a genetics degree at the University of Manchester.
What I do
On a typical day, I undertake laboratory and analytical work in an attempt to establish if there is a genetic basis to a patient’s disease. The process in which I do this has changed drastically compared to when I first started working ten years ago. Genetics is an ever-changing field and it’s great to know I’m part of something that is constantly improving to provide people with better diagnoses and treatment for some genetic disorders. I look forward to seeing how my job and the methods in which we analyse genes will look in another ten years’ time.
The best bits and challenges
One of the great things about my role is the amount of training opportunities that are available. I enjoy adding to my knowledge and right now I’m doing this through the five-year NHS Higher Specialist Scientific Training. This programme will also help me in my long-term career goal to become a consultant clinical scientist.
Life outside work
I enjoy playing football as I think it’s a great way to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. I also think many of the skills required in team sports – communication, teamwork, hard work and perseverance – are transferable to my career.
Career plans and top tips for others
My long-term career goal to become a consultant clinical scientist.
If I had to summarise the qualities needed to be a clinical scientist in three words, I’d say inquisitive, innovative and insightful. I’d also suggest that you take as many training opportunities as you can because they’ll prove to be invaluable at some stage in your career. My year working at the Human Genome Mapping Project Resource Centre whilst at university has proved to be very useful in my current role.