Amna Khan – Laboratory Technician
What is your role at MRC Harwell? How long have you worked here?
I am a Laboratory Technician in the Frozen Embryo and Sperm Archive lab and have only worked here for about 4 months.
What is your career/education background?
Before coming here I had completed an undergraduate degree in Medical Science and a Masters in Clinical Embryology. This is my first job after the Masters – you can imagine my excitement when I got the opportunity to work at the Mary Lyon Centre.
Did you see yourself doing this kind of job when you were younger?
I actually became interested in embryology in my third year at university. I did not have much knowledge about the subject, but when I did my research, I knew it was something I wanted to get into. So I figured it out quite late but I definitely would not have thought this is the career path I would choose. It still amazes me to this day as it is so interesting! I am so grateful to be working with leading scientists and researchers, and to be involved in research into human disease.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Every aspect of my job is enjoyable; whether it is in vitro fertilisation, cryopreservation, or attending training courses, I learn something new all the time as every day is different. My transition to MRC Harwell has been quite pleasant and smooth. This is because at the Mary Lyon Centre, it is like one big family; everyone is so supportive. The knowledge I have gained from my colleagues and managers is truly amazing and I cannot thank them enough!
What advice do you give to new colleagues starting in junior roles?
My advice would be to not be overwhelmed; a junior role surrounded by experienced colleagues can be scary, but as my team have reminded me, everyone starts off somewhere and you learn and gain expertise as time goes on – no one is perfect! Something I would tell my younger self and others, is that if you can believe you can do it, then there’s nothing holding you back.
What are the skills you have gained during your career that have made the biggest impact?
My role at the Mary Lyon Centre is the first major milestone of my career, but I have already learned specialist skills such as cryopreservation of mouse models of human disease, setting up and executing in vitro fertilisation sessions, dissecting mouse tissues, embryo/sperm harvesting, and media preparation, and I still have a lot more to learn! The skills and expertise gained here will benefit me greatly in my future career, so that I can be the best at what I do, wherever I am.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy reading, going to the gym and shopping.
Find out more about the National Mouse Archive, through which we offer a free archiving service to preserve your mouse strains and make them available to the scientific community.