Career case studies of former Bath research staff and doctoral students - find out what they're doing now and how they're using the skills from research.
Mike Kenny – Technical Sales Specialist at Asynt
What do you do day-to-day in your current role?
The great thing about my job is that no two days are ever the same. I travel throughout the South-West three days a week, visiting Universities such as Bath, and companies, to speak directly to scientists about their lab equipment needs. As well as off-the-shelf lab equipment, a lot of the work Asynt does revolves around custom lab reactor design and so I spend a fair amount of time managing projects – specifying what is required by the scientists and then working with our glassblowers, engineers and distribution partners to deliver a complete solution. When I am not out visiting scientists I am either working from home, planning my diary and following up with people, or in the office, helping to develop future products. I also spend a couple of days a month at conferences, exhibiting our latest equipment.
Give a brief overview of your career history to date, and any steps you feel were important to you
I studied Chemistry at the University of Leicester, spending the summer of my third year as a research assistant at the University of Liverpool under Prof. Paul O’Neill, before moving to Bath to do a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Mike Threadgill in medicinal chemistry. My thesis focused on the development of a polymeric prodrug system to deliver super-potent cytotoxics to prostate tumours. When I was at Bath, I tried to get involved within my department as much as possible – I chaired the postgraduate student-staff committee and was involved with the safety committee and many public engagement events such as Bath TAPS into Science. I tried to do a lot of stuff outside of the lab and went to a lot of conferences which was great as it really helped build up my network and is actually how I came to hear about the job at Asynt.
How do you use the skills from your doctoral/postdoctoral experience in your current role?
I use the skills that I developed during my PhD every single day. Being able to understand the needs and requirements of the scientists that I work with is key to my job and so having worked properly in a lab allows me to do just that. Asynt offers a wide range of equipment from off-the-shelf products to custom high pressure reactors and process scale reactors. Being able to understand the chemistry needs of my clients allows me to properly spec a system that will do exactly what they need.
What advice would you give to researchers interested in working in similar roles, and suggestions on where they could look for vacancies
I found this role through networking at a conference. I think that there is no better way to find out more about roles different to what you are currently doing than by going and speaking to people and conferences are an ideal way to do that. I would always make the most of coffee and lunch breaks to introduce yourself to people – everyone at a conference is in the same boat and most people are more than happy to chat!