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Alex Ashall Kelly

Research chemist for Novartis

"I am now working for Novartis in London. I‘m working in drug discovery at the GDC there, which is fantastic and exactly what I want to do"
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Alex Ashall Kelly

Research chemist for Novartis

Alex Ashall Kelly studied for an MChem in Medicinal Chemistry and graduated in 2010. He is now working for Novartis in drug discovery.

What have you been doing since you graduated?
Well, finding a job initially was pretty difficult and I think that I have been lucky to find such a good one as I am now working for Novartis in London. I‘m working in drug discovery at the GDC there, which is fantastic and exactly what I want to do; I am learning a lot and the sort of people who are working there are really good at what they do which is inspiring. I was lucky that I had such a good degree to fall back on.

Are you applying a lot of the knowledge you acquired in your studies to your present role?
Yes, of course. The Master’s research project is probably the most valuable thing, I would say, in terms of industry; it’s really important. You have to think on your feet during your project and investigate why things have worked and why they haven’t and I think that’s it’s really important to have that experience. Industry obviously revolves around working independently but also as part of a team which again is something which is invaluable in your research project.

What are favourite memories when you look back at your time here at Leeds?
A combination of things really. The projects and the research is what I came to university to do really and I am still considering doing a PhD, I just wanted to get some experience of industry first. Working hard and getting good results were also important to me. The times when everything was going wrong in the research and then you work it out and get one good result, that really made everything worthwhile. In terms of the University itself, I was captain of the kick-boxing for two years and I taught kick-boxing for the last year and I organised competitions and all of that was fantastic too. So, a combination of my results and the people I met. University isn’t just about what you did academically, it’s everything and what you make of it. You have to make of it what you will. If you dig in deep and get involved then you will have a great time and it will all work out for you. 

What would you say to other students thinking of coming to Leeds University?
I’d just say, it’s a fantastic university with really good facilities and my advice would be to come here and get stuck in. It’s important to make of it what you want and you have that opportunity here, it’s on your doorstep, you can join any sport’s club or society you want, as well as your academic work and so just get stuck in and work hard.