Meet Dr Jennifer Young, Research Associate and Chemistry Lead for the NCITA QA/QC Unit

Tell us about your role in NCITA
I am a Research Associate and chemistry lead for the QA/QC Unit based at the Department of Imaging Chemistry & Biology, King’s College London. My role involves supporting the development of radiopharmaceuticals for clinical PET imaging and contrast agents for MRI studies. I work closely with the teams involved in the NCITA Exemplar 2 MISSION-FUMARATE Trial and the Exemplar 6 EXODIMER PET study. I am also involved in the NCITA infrastructure activities, including the management of the NCITA Q-Pulse Quality Management System.

What is a typical week like for you as a Research Associate?
I split my time between supporting the NCITA exemplars and NCITA infrastructure activities. This includes writing standard operating procedures and documentation for the quality monitoring system Q-Pulse and training NCITA staff to use this system. I have worked with the QA/QC unit manager and NCITA coinvestigators to conduct a national survey on radiotracer production facilities. These results, along with a review of the nuclear medicine clinical studies that have been carried out in the UK in the last 5 years, have been published in “An Overview of Nuclear Medicine Research in the UK and the Landscape for Clinical Adoption” Nuclear Medicine Communications, December 2021 – Volume 42 – Issue 12 – p 1301-1312. DOI: 10.1097/MNM.0000000000001461

What do you like most about your role?
I enjoy the opportunity of working with colleagues across different institutions and departments on a variety of nuclear medicine and MRI imaging projects. I also really appreciate the opportunity of using my chemistry background in a practical way in order to translate radiopharmaceutical tracers and contrast agents for clinical use.

How did you get to where you are today?
I completed my PhD at King’s College London, where I focused on the development of a PET radiotracer for detecting prostate cancer which went on to phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials. I then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University on the production of gallium-68 radiotracers at Barts NHS Trust for clinical research studies and NHS patients. In this role I gained practical experience in the clinical translation of radiotracers. This experience inspired me to pursue my research career in the translation of clinical imaging radiopharmaceuticals and contrast agents at NCITA.

Hobbies/interesting fact
I really enjoy doing ‘Improv’ comedy and had my first comedy show in London at the beginning of March 2020, just before lockdown! I am looking forward to continuing again with live audience shows!