Alumni Services

Karen Donnelly

Medical Writing Manager Karen Donnelly talks Neuroscience, following your passions, and why Psychology always wins in the end.

Name Karen Donnelly
Degree Course Biological Sciences (Neuroscience)
Year of Graduation 1992
Karen Donnelly

Your time at the University

I chose Edinburgh University as I liked the Biological Sciences course at the time, which had the option to specialise in particular areas of Biology as the course progressed. I began with a general Biology class in first year and found the aspects I liked most, which were pharmacology and physiology; I also had some crossover into the Social Sciences through studying Psychology in my second and third years.This overall experience lead to a natural choice for my Honours’ year - studying Neuroscience, which at that time was a relatively new subject.

I recall being the only person (perhaps brave enough) to study both Science and Social Science courses, which obviously wasn’t expected as some of my lectures overlapped and I had to decide between Pharmacology and Psychology each week (I always chose Psychology!).

I recall being the only person (perhaps brave enough) to study both Science and Social Science courses...

Karen Donnelly

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

Upon leaving university, I worked as a research technician at Kings Buildings on a 3-year research grant and then moved to the Institute for Animal Health (also based at Kings Buildings) to work on a second research grant studying Scrapie (at the height of the BSE scare).

After working in research laboratories for over 6 years, I decided I had handled one too many Eppendorf tubes and moved into technical writing, working with a global contract research organisation based in Edinburgh.

I have since moved into clinical writing, and am now a Medical Writing Manager with the same company. As well as working on different document types for clinical trials, including study protocols and reports, I have the responsibility of liaising with clients to ensure their requirements are met. I work with people across the globe, with exposure to a number of different projects and working with different specialists including Medics, Statisticians and Project Managers.

My education (Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience) has certainly been invaluable to me in this role, plus I get to keep up to date with advancements in Medicine through working within the drug development sector.

Alumni wisdom

Follow your passion - study what interests and engages you most.

This may not be clear from the outset, but the University gives you the opportunity to recognise your interests and adapt your course choices accordingly as you progress from first to final years.