Women and Girls in Science: Sarina Hussain
7 February 2022
For the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February 2021 we are celebrating some of the amazing women working at WEISS.
Sarina Hussain is the WEISS Quality Manager where she helps researchers involved in developing medical devices with commercialisation (or the satisfaction of other regulatory requirements) to reduce barriers to clinical translation. Sarina worked in diagnostic development for a number of years before starting in quality management. She has worked in many different areas of industry including chemical and IVD manufacture.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I absolutely love supporting different research areas. Depending on the intended use of a device the quality/technical requirements and advice I provide can be wildly different and it really makes for an interesting and varied role. The research itself is so inspiring and being able to work with a multi-disciplinary team is great as I feel like I’m learning all the time. Software of Unknown Provenance (SOUP) blew my mind a few years back and I can safely say I know the difference between PyTorch and TensorFlow now!
What inspired you to work in this area?
When I first graduated I never thought about working within the regulatory/quality world. After my Masters in Cardiovascular Research I was convinced that I would work in academia as a researcher with an aim to complete a PhD in the field. However, once I graduated I applied and joined the Emergency Medicine Academic Group at the University of Leicester as a researcher. They had just designed the Diagnostic Development Unit (DDU) within the Emergency Department at the Royal Infirmary Hospital. The aim of the DDU was non-invasive detection of disease and provide a facility in which novel diagnostic and monitoring devices could be developed and tested on patients. It also acted as a clinical testing hub for Industry. During my time working at the DDU, I was lucky enough to experience how important medical device regulation and quality management was for patient safety and benefit. Interacting with patients and clinical staff on a daily basis really was the catalyst for wanting to stay in this area and I was really fortunate to see ‘end product’ prototype devices in use/benefiting clinical staff and patients.
What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
I think there have been many! But I have to say Brexit and the uncertainty surrounding medical device regulation in the UK has to be one of the most frustrating things to date.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been many of these too! Implementing our ISO 9001 quality management system to support many more projects within WEISS is up there! I think this model is really suited for a university environment and I am positive that it will help many of our researchers and spin outs to achieve regulatory compliance.
What’s the best piece of advice that you have received that has helped you in your career?
“If it is not written down it did not happen”, I mention this more times than I can count when I am training new project teams in good document control practices!
What is the funniest or most memorable thing that has happened to you while working in science?
When working at the DDU the BBC One Show did a feature about the unit, I was interviewed as a researcher working on the project. They cut out my interview in the final programme, I had told all of my family and friends that I would be featured so we all watched it together. It wasn’t until the end of the show that I finally realised that my television career was over, sad but in hindsight quite hilarious now!
What advice would you give to young girls thinking about going into science/science-related fields?
Do it! There are so many different areas that you can get into and so many opportunities that working in this field can provide. Be brave and go for it!