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  • How is digital marketing affecting your health based decisions?

    As I did my weekly email check, I came across the WHO article on “exploitative marketing” of breast milk substitutes more commonly referred to as baby formula milk. While this blog post will go into some detail on the direct effects on mothers and why WHO flag that as a problem, my instant thoughts went to all the other possible ways the media can influence our health based decisions. Digital media includes any online or digital means of transmitting marketing communications, including but not limited to, websites, social networking environments, search engine advertisements, banner advertisements, email communications, streaming audio and video, online gaming, messaging services, mobile services and online retail platforms Consuming digital media has become a part of everyday life. Whether it’s restricted or unlimited scrolling on your favourite app for hours. Digital media has given a platform for anyone to share information, as with all spaces there are pros and cons. In the healthcare space, marketing ads affecting health based decisions is one of particular concern to the world's biggest health organisation - WHO. “ WHO reveals shocking extent of exploitative formulas milk marketing” The WHO news article and reports brought forward the detrimental effects to newborns with the rise of breastmilk substitutes. According to the WHO, babies should solely consume breast milk for at least 6 months of life which also excludes water. The health benefits and importance are listed on their site. The WHO has a goal of achieving a target of 50% of babies to be exclusively breastfed in their first six months of life. The rise of breastmilk substitutes and targeted ads are having a detrimental effect on these goals . Advertising rules used today were set in 1981 and are being applied to a media landscape that wasn’t even imaginable at the time of writing of these rules. The report highlights the problems with “user generated content “ , “ dark posts'' and even companies using community spaces to obtain valuable information on target demographics to sell products. The report had many quotables that left me thinking of the endless possibilities and subconscious ways our habits, discussions and intended safe online spaces are being used. Dark Posts a digital form of direct marketing that enables advertisers to create and distribute advertisements tailored for narrowly selected groups of people to only and exactly those groups of people. These advertisements only appear only in the newsfeeds of those users and do not appear anywhere else (these are also known as unpublished posts) The marketing rules as mentioned in the WHO article don't actually allow companies to directly advertise or promote these substitutes through traditional advertising or even through direct media using the companies own page in some countries. The grey area of dark posts and user generated content has somehow created a loophole that the law hasn’t yet accounted for. User generated content pieces feed off the trust built within communities or influencers allows this prohibited content to come off as genuine. User generated content when genuine just act as reviews that influence a new consumer of the product being sold. With the rise of social media, giveaways, competitions and the simple rise of content creators begins to blur the lies of where the reviews are genuine. A few standout points from the report include: Research conducted by Hastings and colleagues quoted a BMS marketing executive, who said that his company “is always on a quest to find ways to identify women who are pregnant for the first time … first time mothers are the holy grail” These data can also be used to strengthen BMS marketers’ capacity for “building faux-friendships rather than making an overt sales pitch: ‘we want to build a relationship with you as a mother, we want to support you, we want you to see us as an ally and we want to subtly insinuate ourselves as your friend and support in a healthy pregnancy and a happy baby BMS companies routinely establish virtual support groups — known— often products — that consumers do not even know that they need, usually do not need and may cause harm. Moving away from the topic of breast milk. Why are companies infiltrating online safe spaces? Online spaces come as a form of release for many, there are many platforms where sharing our wants, hopes, disappointments are becoming more common. As an avid tik tok user, I have come across many deeply personal stories that are often debated on twitter to be considered oversharing. If companies continue to infiltrate these spaces and use the information to promote products they want us to need. In terms of health related content this has a great effect on things like types of contraceptives used, vitamin supplements that may be no different and even skewing our our outlook on health and disease. As an avid sharer of health news and promoter of science engaging with the community, this comes as a disappointment. As content fills the internet we are becoming more sceptical of “the norm” and more people seem to be receptive to alternate ways of doing things. In some cases this can be community finding that final solution, but in the mix can be brands manipulating people who lack the time or patience to stop and ask “ do I really need this”. If anything this blog post is a sign to pay more attention to the things recommended and #EndExploitativeMarketing. Will there be a change in Legislation? It’s all fine knowing what you are exposed to but the internet and ads aren't something you can always control. Further to my shock and horror I just hoped something was being done. In the UK, the government recently consulted on “ online advertising programmes” - published march 2022 which covered the market in general but also the harms. Something that came up again was regulation of user generated content with indication of speeding the online safety bill to specifically cover this area to tackle fraudulent advertising User generated content is any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands. The report also goes into detail on how different social apps use our data to personalise ads and what level of control consumers have on switching it on and off. No shock that the social apps owned by META: Facebook and Instagram give the least bit of user control. User generated content will continue to grow as a problem for everyday decisions and health based decisions.

  • BSc Biomedical Science to Graduate Research Associate

    Name – Deborah Ojutalayo (She/Her) Job title –/ Graduate Research Associate I A levels– Psychology, Biology, Chemistry Graduate degrees BSc Biomedical Science, MSc Immunology Favourite science fact – It’s absolutely crazy to me that more than 80% of the ocean is unexplored! What motivated you to pursue a career in science – The idea of knowing that my contribution would somewhere and somehow, make a difference. Briefly describe your current role – I work for a Biotech company where our research is gene therapy focused. We are currently developing gene therapy vectors to treat patients with Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Journey in 3 Words – Am I allowed to sum it up as “whew chile”? How did you decide on your MSc? and do you feel you made the right decision for your career? During my application process for my MSc, it was always between Medical Microbiology and Immunology/Infection & Immunity. I would say this was largely influenced by my final year project of my undergraduate degree as well as the modules I took the most interest in. I started to research job roles where these MSc specialities would be useful, and I ended up choosing Immunology and selecting option modules that related to Medical Microbiology so that I could ideally have the best of both worlds! Although my area of research is focused on neurodegenerative diseases, there are still many aspects of my degree that are applicable. What is a typical week/ month like in your role and which skills do you enjoy the most? ​I literally said "Wow" when I read this question because I do many varied things which I absolutely love! More recently, I have been processing a lot of Pig and Sheep samples for RNA extractions and qPCR runs in preparation for the next stages of our animal studies. I'm also involved in alot of cloning and cell work as well as developing and selecting the best AAV candidate that will deliver a Mirco RNA to target and knockdown the genes that cause ALS and FTD. We have science meetings every Monday where each member of the team presents the work they have been working on, problems and issues they faced as well as potential steps required to move the project forward. We assess the progress made and see whether we are on track for our deadlines and adjust things accordingly. I would say my favourite skills/ things to do in the lab are cell culture, qPCR and cloning, but ultimately I love the intellectual stimulation I get from everything that I do, which requires me to work with intent rather than working out of automation. What skills do you use most from your degree now in your job and are there other skills used that surprised you? Being a student meant balancing multiple deadlines, so I definitely transferred my organisational skills from university and into the workplace. My research projects at university made me realise the importance of lab note taking as everything in research must be accounted for. To get a job nowadays you need to have done the job? How did you navigate the post grad- “what next” job search and what did you do that you think was pivotal in achieving your current role? The changing point for me was when I landed my first industry-based role as a Research Assistant at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine towards the end of my MSc degree after a long drought of hearing nothing from companies. It was also the period that I had become more active on LinkedIn and connected with people who had gone through a similar educational pathway to me. I made myself open to talking with like minded people to better understand the career options that were available to me and where best my degrees could be used. What advice would you give on dealing with rejection and perseverance? Rejection can be exhausting and mentally draining and can leave you questioning your capabilities. Graduating from my first degree when the pandemic had first struck, left me feeling incredibly anxious about how things would turn out for me. My advice would be to never stand still. Job rejections do not mean that your life also goes on hold but be someone who is investing their time into things (hobbies, networking, continuous professional development, jobs with transferable skills etc) that will make them better suited candidates when the role for you comes along. PS: You’ve got this! Is there anything you noticed change in your interview approach before and after networking that landed you your role and what key tips would you have on building and nurturing online connections? ​I wouldn't say there was anything in particular that changed. For the most part, connecting with others in fields I aspired to be in provided that sense of mentorship and gave me the confidence I needed to approach interviews and job applications that would subsequently make me a stand out candidate. Engaging with your connections in a meaningful way (Eg Through LinkedIn posts and personal messages) and keeping the door open for conversation is important. If you see something that someone does or has done and you are genuinely interested in knowing more, then express that! I have met many people through ​LinkedIn who share a common ground with me such as Faith, and this also makes our connections more personal and meaningful. What other roles did you consider in your Job search and do you see yourself returning to academia for a PhD? During my job search I applied to healthcare roles such as Healthcare assistant roles and in the process landed a role as a COVID-19 Vaccinator during the initial stages of the vaccination roll-out. I also searched within the NHS for Medical Laboratory Assistant and administrative roles, however, working in a research environment was always the goal for my career prospects. As a young professional, I want to build my experience and credentials before returning to academia. However I am not ruling out the possibility of pursuing a PhD, so watch this space haha! Knowing what you know now, would you have done the same undergraduate degree and why? I would like to have seen what a degree in Pharmacology would be like, particularly as my company is built around drug development. The only thing I would have changed during my degree is to opt for the four-year option which would have given me the opportunity of a placement year; I believe this would have made my job process easier to navigate. How do you approach the “work-life” balance scale? - Do you have tools you use to maintain balance or is this something you are still learning? One thing I have always been sure of is that I would never want to work in a role that involves bringing and dragging my working responsibilities back home with me. What is done at work should stay at work. It can be tempting for instance to respond to emails outside of working hours, however when you do this, you send signals to colleagues that you are available 24/7 and this is not the case. When considering your career path, how much has your potential salary affect your decision? I have Nigerian blood in me so I would say important haha! On a serious note, I think it was important for me to understand what my career progression looked like, and this has been very transparent within the company that I work for. Salary is certainly not everything, but it plays a big role and employees deserve to be paid for what they are worth. Outside science how would you describe yourself? An absolute nutter! How have your passions and interests changed since you started thinking of careers? Was there a defining moment for you? I always thought the roles available to me were hospital-based roles or working in a role where everything was super automated, and I didn’t want that. I must have stumbled across a LinkedIn profile of someone who had completed an MSc and was working in a Research Assistant role, and I was curious to find out more on what that entailed. After some digging, I liked what I saw and started to apply for similar positions and fell in love with research when I landed my Research Assistant role. I was not confident in my lab/ scientific skills at that time, however the Principal Investigator that I worked for was so encouraging in times where I did not believe in myself and he provided a working environment where I was able to grow as a young scientist.

  • BSc Molecular Biology to Marketing

    Name - Nonsikelelo (Ntsiki) Sackey Job Title - Founder of Siakhula Digital & Host of SciComm Chats with Ntsiki A levels - Biology, Physics, Chemistry, History Graduate degrees : BSc Molecular Biology & Biotechnology; Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing; MPhil in Science & Technology Studies Favourite science fact -Most of what releases endorphins is free, like a smile or a hug. Journey in 3 Words - Challenging; Beautiful; Blessed Briefly describe your role : As a founder of a start-up, all the roles that one would find in a typical company are held by me. So I’m involved with content creation, social media, community management, and web design. I help scientists be better science communicators through training and general consultancy on the science communication side of things. Through Siakhula Digital, I aim to showcase, celebrate and accelerate science and scientists in Africa using social media. What motivated you to pursue a career in science -: I have always been passionate about science. It is about finding a cure for HIV and just being at the cutting edge of major and possibly life-altering discoveries. What made you change paths from a direct science career to pursuing marketing? - In my final year of undergrad, I realised the lab was just not for me. I couldn’t keep quiet during Microbiology & Biochemistry practicals, so I would always contaminate my work. However, I knew that science was and will always be for me but not in the lab. So when the opportunity to do Marketing instead of an honours degree. I jumped went headfirst into the Marketing pool. What resources helped you most during your career journey : The biggest resource for me was my ability to network and create connections. My Microbiology lecturer made me realise that I could be involved in science without being in the lab. She told me about an internship that the university’s technology transfer office had. The internship showed me how the process of how scientific research ends up being a product on a shelf at a store near you. There’s a lot of science behind what we see and consume everyday. It was interesting to watch science being translated for investors, marketers, business developers, policy makers and eventually consumers to understand. Through this internship, I saw how Marketing and Science could come together. Science without marketing just ends in the lab. Marketing puts it out there. Also, networking helped me get my first job as a graduate, which was being a Recruitment and Marketing Officer for a science faculty. What advice would you give to anyone that struggles with networking and nurturing connections? Networking is not as difficult as people make it out to be. Think of it this way: everyone you know now was once a stranger to you. How did they move from stranger to friend or colleague or even partner? At a point of your meeting, one of you spoke to the other, found something interesting and moved on from there. So start there. Whenever you are at an event or wherever, speak to the person next you. I know it can be daunting to speak to ‘strangers’ sometimes but try. In terms of nurturing, well I’m still learning how to get this right because I can be a terrible communicator at times. I will be thinking about you and not call or send you a text. I’m working on it though but what I’ve realised is that because I’ve always been kind and courteous to people; they are always happy to see me, talk to me and even recommend me even if we haven’t spoken in years. So maybe try engaging people with kindness. What advice would you give on picking universities and courses that matched your goals? - Take the time to do your research. Figure out what interests and excites you and pick a course aligned with that. If you can take a gap year before commencing your studies, do that. A gap year will allow you to centre yourself and focus your thoughts. Would you have originally picked this career path if more information was available to you at the time? Yes, I’ve always enjoyed being on stage and always enjoyed science. So finding myself in the science communication space suits me perfectly. What do enjoy most about your postgraduate diploma in marketing? Which skills have you really enjoyed learning and which have been harder to acquire? - I enjoyed how marketing forced me out of structure and into creative chaos. I have enjoyed learning design skills. Photography and videography skills have been harder to acquire, but it is all a matter of practice, practice, practice. What is your biggest pet peeve about how the world perceives science - That science thinks it has all the answers. The reality is science does not have all the answers. We are all learning something new every day. Outside science, how would you describe yourself ? I am fun, loving, and easy-going. I love travelling and trying new things, even if they terrify me. I enjoy meeting you people and engaging with them. You run a digital platform and science communication and consultancy “siakhuladigital “ - What motivated this and where do you see it in 5 Years? - While working as a recruitment and marketing officer, I realised that the high school students I was engaging with had a traditional view of science and what a scientist looked like. I knew the field needed a different perspective and better representation. I figured I could create a platform to showcase science and scientists, not being a scientist myself. And also help scientists be better science communicators in the process. In the next 5 years, I see Siakhula Digital being one of the biggest science communication and science multimedia platforms in Africa and collaborating with STEM organisations across the globe to showcase, celebrate and accelerate science and scientists in Africa. When considering your career path, how much has your potential salary affected your decision? Salary does not factor in much because I barely ever have just one occupation. I have always been one to have my hands in many pies, and that’s just how I function. Would I like the salaries to be higher, yes but for me it has always been about what I can learn from a certain job and how I can leave a mark in any place I work. Honestly, even with a high salary, multiple sources of income are a no-brainer. The more you earn, the higher your standard of living. So you will always need an extra income. Also I think the multiple sources of income should be as passive as possible. You do not want to burn yourself out working five jobs. You still need to take care of you. How do you stay motivated running a platform and what are some of the hard truths you’ve had to face since creating the platform? - The only way to stay motivated is to remember why I started it in the first place. It is impossible to quit when the ‘why’ is bigger than you. It’s heartbreaking to put hours into a video or post and only get a few likes and clicks. The hard truth is that numbers are not all that. Did 1 person like it at least? Yes? Then you are making huge strides in achieving what you set out to do. How have your passions and interests changed since you started thinking of careers? Was there a defining moment for you? - I wouldn’t use the word ‘change’ but rather ‘evolve’. I have always been passionate about science; there was never anything else really. So pursuing a science degree made the most sense until I didn’t like the lab. During my undergrad studies though, I was an ambassador for the university student recruitment office. I got to engage with prospective students that came to visit the campus and realised I loved it. I loved making an impact in young people’s lives. So by exploring my interests that being science, marketing and public speaking; I watched everything come together naturally. From there, I was led to this new science communication space. Everything I have done, been through and learned has brought me to this moment. Realising that there was such a field as science communication was definitely a defining moment for me. Stay up to date with x Scicomm chats

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  • The Catalyst In Me (TCIM) l Life Science Careers I United Kingdom

    Sandra Ukah - Physician Associate Sandra Ukah - Physician Associate Nonsikelelo (Ntsiki) Sackey Founder ( Siakhula Digital) Deyl Djama PhD (Neuroscience) Chibby : Managing Director Managing Director Josephine Data Scientist Data Scientist Marie Nungent Public Engagement Manager Chude OluwaFikayo Oyewale Scientific Communication Officer Amran Research Manager Rahma Sesay Biology Teacher Ramota Adelakun Interdisciplinary Phd - Policy and Biology Bamidele Farinre Senior Biomedical Scientist Danielle Nadin Science Strategy Lead Agricultural science Masters Umu Wurie Biomed to LLM Legal Practice Elicia Fyle Scientific Officer, institute of cancer research. Lynn- Asanate Are Visiting Scientists and Medical Student Adama Saccoh Research Technician / Assistant Allan Campbell Molecular scientist Adama Fullah Pharmacovigilance Business Consultant to Medical Consultant Rachel-Lambert Forsythe Chied Executive British Pharmacological Society Oluwasuen Ogundele Msci Biochemistry to Research assistant at Cambridge Merissa Brown Bsc Biomedical science to Psychology conversion Msc Recent Blog Posts Life science Careers are often not well described to life science graduates. Out of all STEM careers it is hard to find clear information with personal examples. The catalyst in me does all this through interviews and resources that will guide your life science career. Adama Feb 17, 2020 5 min Can life science graduates earn high salaries? Most of the most recent reports across platforms like The telegraph , save the student and BBC in relation to life science graduates, there 523 views 0 comments 5 likes. Post not marked as liked 5 Adama 5 days ago 6 min BSc Molecular Biology to Marketing Nonsikelelo Sackey describes her role as a Marketing company founder and the decisions that led her down this path after molecular biology 1 view 0 comments Post not marked as liked Adama Apr 18 7 min 5 reasons you should attend more online conferences The rise of online meetings might be the best thing to happen to early career professionals finding their feet. 3 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Adama Apr 6 7 min BSc Medical Physiology to Physician Associate I was seeking something that would flexibly and fairly quickly allow me to work both in clinics/wards, academia and medical innovation. 14 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Adama Mar 21 6 min BSc Biomedical Science to Neuroscience PhD My PhD research revolves around understanding a novel Huntington’s Disease gene therapy. 35 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Adama Mar 18 4 min A New Chapter for Heart Transplantation Why are scientists and doctors so keen on getting pig hearts working for humans? There is a story of many decades to tell. 10 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked

  • About | TheCatalystInMe

    The Catalyst In Me started with the aim to motivate people and educate them in a slightly non-conventional way on the different life science careers out there. What started out as few friends answering my questions has now expanded to a number of interviews from people across the world. In-depth career journeys are shared giving advice on how to life and science. Adama Saccoh tcim

  • Career Spotlights | The Catalyst In Me | London

    Umu Wurie Biomed to LLM Legal Practice Elicia Fyle Scientific Officer, institute of cancer research. Lynn- Asanate Are Visiting Scientists and Medical Student Allan Campbell Molecular scientist Adama Fullah Pharmacovigilance Business Consultant to Medical Consultant Rachel-Lambert Forsythe Chied Executive British Pharmacological Society Oluwasuen Ogundele Msci Biochemistry to Research assistant at Cambridge Merissa Brown Bsc Biomedical science to Psychology conversion Msc Adama Can life science graduates earn high salaries? Most of the most recent reports across platforms like The telegraph , save the student and BBC in relation to life science graduates, there Adama BSc Molecular Biology to Marketing Nonsikelelo Sackey describes her role as a Marketing company founder and the decisions that led her down this path after molecular biology Adama 5 reasons you should attend more online conferences The rise of online meetings might be the best thing to happen to early career professionals finding their feet.

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