Haruna Yamada

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Working here is revisiting my roots without compromising my global identity

I lived in Japan throughout my grade school years, but moved to London when I was 12 because of my father’s work. I lived in the UK for over half of my life, but my Japanese identity is still a large part of me. Having been away for over a decade I felt a strong impulse to return and see what Japan has to offer.

I majored in chemistry at university and in my final year, I was engaged in the preliminary stages of drug development for a virus. This sparked an interest in the development stages that follow; the processes and the analytical examinations that contribute to the development of new drugs for the treatment and prevention of disease. Finding a job at SMD was a perfect match in both aspects, the field of interest and location. On top of this, the thing that really sold me was the people. I remember feeling completely comfortable at the interview because they had created an atmosphere that made me feel like I could speak my mind and it left me with a really good impression.

Each analysis result holds the potential to be an incredible achievement for use in the world at large

Currently I am involved in metabolite analysis at our Drug Development Solutions Center in Ibaraki prefecture. In our analysis, we use a variety of biological materials, predominantly collected from test subjects after being dosed with a radio-labeled test drugs. This is subjected to HPLC-MS/MS coupled with a radio-detector. This allows us to conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis of metabolites. The test data is then compiled and reviewed. The results do not always yield the clear cut data we desire and I sometimes become frustrated with the repeated trial and error, but when we finally achieve results that give us an insight into the test drug that we are working with, it all feels worth it.

Expanding the scope of my own knowledge and skillset

My team is made up of only seven people. While a single member is in charge, sharing information is vital because the work is divided among us. We all discuss issues and ways to improve. And, if you need greater knowledge or a more advanced skill set, you can always take the issue to your manager. This is especially important when things do not proceed according to plan, or when you stumble upon the unexpected, or struggle with reasoning for a data outcome. That is when you immediately ask for help. I’ve been helped out many times by excellent advice. I am fortunate to have a manager who allows me to work as I see fit and give me pointers along the way when I hit an obstacle. My manager also encourages me to increase my abilities, giving me opportunities to learn and attend seminars, allowing me to constantly expand the scope of my own knowledge and skills.

My aspirations know no bounds

It takes a long time to obtain concrete results in drug research and development, so analysis requires patience. The analytical method currently used for metabolite identification is well established and has been used for numerous studies. However, analytical techniques have come a long way in the past decade or two. With continuous improvements in analytical instruments and data analysis software it is vital for us to keep up-to-date and constantly look out for parts of our method that can be improved.

We are in the process of improving and increasing ties with overseas markets as well, which pose their own challenges, but these challenges are crucial in developing and maintaining world leading standards and motivating staff to reach our global visions. As a global employee this is a great motivator keeping my enthusiasm high in my everyday activities. For the future I look forward to taking on greater responsibility and to building deeper relationships with our partner companies overseas.

1day schedule

  • 石井 絢子
  • 髙田 功大
  • 丸山 賢一
  • 伊藤 奈央
  • 叢 雅娜
  • 山田 有理子
  • 津村 沙織
  • 前田 健一
  • 小笠原 康介
  • 兼信 正貴
  • Brendan Devers
  • Shan Gao
  • Haruna Yamada
  • Jonathan Ho