Scientist at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology.
I am Kelly Nguyen, a scientist working at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. I lead a research group focusing on telomere biology.
What has been your proudest achievement?
Starting my lab just before the pandemic hit, there have been many challenges involved, not only for me but also for my team. Despite the constant changing rules with regard to both work and life, everyone in my lab has been doing a marvellous job of accommodating the changes, supporting one another and keeping exciting science going. The work the lab has done together through the pandemic has proved fruitful and I am particularly proud of this team effort.
Who are the women who have inspired you the most?
Having grown up in Vietnam, IWD has always been a special occasion there, where we show our appreciation to the women in our family, at school, at work and so on. I have been inspired by many women throughout my life and career, some of whom have been involved directly in my life and career and many I admire from afar. As a child, I was inspired by my own mother, who is a well-regarded high school maths teacher in my hometown.
As a postdoc, I was co-mentored by two amazing women, Professor Eva Nogales and Professor Kathy Collins, who inspire me in every way and have been supporting me unconditionally. I have been fortunate to have such mentors and role models and been given the opportunity to pursue a career path I am passionate about.
I hope in the future there will be more support, opportunities and flexibility for women to pursue the career they love, whatever it may be.
What is the one thing you wish would change about the system to make it a fairer one for women?
All three, Carol Robinson, Eva Nogales and Cristina Hernandez-Gomez, have carried out their inspirational work whilst raising a family. In my view, to realise one’s potential it is essential that room is made to attain some kind of work/family balance.
Besides the obvious efforts improving flexible working practices and childcare facilities, focusing on outputs rather than inputs is very important. It is also important that we can understand the potential in each person, so we can facilitate a person-focused tailor-made approach that allows managers to underpin individual efforts to best deliver everyone’s career.