On Wednesday 3 February, BBC Radio 6 Music host Lauren Laverne chatted to Crick scientists Samra Turajlic and Karen Ambrose, exploring what it’s like to be a scientist at the cutting edge of tackling COVID-19.
Hear their incredible stories of breaking new ground, the personal challenges they’ve faced, the new collaborations they’ve forged and what motivates them to keep going.
Meet Samra, oncologist and world-renowned cancer researcher, who four days after shutting her lab down at the beginning of the pandemic, and having seen the effect of the virus first-hand in the cancer ward, returned with ideas for a critical new research project. Within weeks this new project was set up to explore the immune response to COVID-19 in patients living with cancer and understand what this might mean for treatments and healthcare decisions.
Meet Karen, who helps to head up the Crick's scientific computing team and was instrumental in setting up a large-scale COVID-19 testing process at the Crick at the start of the pandemic in just twelve days. She was part of the group who realised that the Crick’s equipment and expertise could be the key to helping local healthcare workers get tested and protect their patients, at a time when the country had not established any large-scale testing system. Karen and the team enabled (and are still enabling) thousands of tests for local hospitals and care homes, keeping them open and safe for staff and patients.
Deputy Head, Scientific Computing, Francis Crick Institute
Broadcaster and DJ
Image © Suki Dhanda
Group Leader, Francis Crick Institute & Consultant Oncologist, Royal Marsden NHS Trust