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What is your background?
I come from a small town in Bangladesh, where people struggle for their basic needs. Despite this, I have managed to come all the way to my current position. Due to my academic results in school, I received scholarships for my entire education till higher secondary school, and then had an offer from the Indian Government to pursue a B. Pharm at the University of Pune, India. Here, I most enjoyed Analytical Chemistry and Spectrometry and developed my passion for research, taking an MSc in Pharmaceutical Analysis.
Tell us about your job after graduation ? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
My first placement was with Unilever as an Analytical Chemist. During my two-and-a-half years, I learnt how to utilise my knowledge for FMCG products and environmental analysis, and worked under GLP regulated laboratories. I developed a passion for operating and troubleshooting Liquid/Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectroscopy (LC-MS, GC-MS), and also started developing analytical methods in order to help product development and quality checks of existing products.
What is your current job?
Currently, I am with Campden BRI, the UK’s largest independent membership-based organisation carrying out research and development for the food and drinks industry worldwide. My main responsibility here involves method development, including sample preparation and instrumental aspects (LC-MS, GC-MS, ion chromatography).Key roles involve experimental design, data analysis, method validation, report writing and training analysts. These methods are used to identify, flavour profiles, taints, trace level mycotoxins and undesirable chemicals that could adversely affect human health. I have developed methods for 4-methylimidazole (from caramel colouring), a seven organic acids screen, Alternaria mycotoxins, and bisphenol A. Besides method development, I also immensely enjoy supervising junior members to inspire them to take a logical approach to research.
Recently, I won the BFBi (Brewing, Food and Beverage industry) ‘Up and Coming Analyst’ 2013 competition sponsored by Thermo Scientific for my work on 4-methylimidazole.
I aim to continue my career in Campden BRI research projects where I can manage diverse projects and challenges, achieve a direct benefit to people’s health with my research, and raise public awareness in food safety.
Any Career advice?
I believe that strong will power and passion always help you to achieve goals in life. Not every day at work is easy but each day teaches you new things and these experiences will make you more understanding, logical and responsible. My advice to the people in their early career is to keep an open mind and try to enjoy and learn different aspects of your work. You will find your career goals when you put dedication into your work and eventually find which areas interest you most.