Very best wishes to Life Science students and early career researchers.

I am thinking again about all those embarking on studies and research careers, particularly in life sciences and of course generally as well. How the world and humankind need you! How we should all be encouraging and supporting the younger research generation. For all those students and researchers driven by a passion for their subject it should be a time to really enjoy studying and research for the sake of research; a time to explore interests and have a great life and social life too. It’s not the easiest of times and research can be very frustrating with many ups and downs. It was ever thus. It is however an adventure with opportunities to grasp, whilst keeping a sense of perspective and having fun! Many of us are willing you on to a great future!

Looking forward…

The skills learnt will be transferable for many different career options. Early career researchers have much to contribute, and they deserve to be challenged, encouraged, and supported in their research careers. They also have so much potential in many walks of life and different spheres.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 26/09/23

Holidays: The best laid plans don’t always get off the ground!

Life is an adventure. Overall, I am enjoying the journey but just now the road is a bit rocky.

I am thinking of those people whose summer holidays are coming to a close and the many who are returning to work etc. Others are still on holiday, maybe even stranded abroad for now. Some will be about to have their holidays. There will be many stories. Many people like me were affected by the UK air travel issues on August 28th. My summer break literally never got off the ground this time.

I decided to return home after a day at the airport. On the other hand, my luggage is having an adventure of its own!
There will be sad stories and even funny stories from different people in different situations. At the airport, naturally there were many frustrated travellers. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the feeling of togetherness and sense humour of many people in the face of adversity.
I did have some reservations about being away this time and so on the plus side I get to spend time with family members who may be appreciative of support now.
Sometimes we don’t know who is having a tough time – always try to be kind.

Life happens! Even the best laid plans don’t always get off the ground.
Look for the light. Stay positive!


by Dr Julie Charlesworth 01/09/23

A Career Path from Academia, Research Institute, Industry and Beyond.

At this time of year, I think about those embarking on studies in life science subjects at university, those who have completed their first degrees, and those starting their PhD research.

My previous post was about A levels results day and getting into university.

I have also previously posted about my experience as a PhD student and one of my proudest achievements of achieving a first-author publication in Nature during my PhD years!

I would like students and early researchers to see some of the possibilities beyond PhD and this is why I have been sharing an outline of my own career path. It has been a rich source of stories and experience to discuss when career mentoring my undergraduate and PhD student mentees.

So, what happened after my PhD research at the renowned Paterson Institute?

From academia and research institute to industry; from industry to independent company founder and owner.

My postdoc research experience in industry came about through a chance meeting on a train in my twenties but it proved to be a good choice, and a springboard to many other opportunities…

A subsequent move to Big Pharma provided 20 interesting years; international impact, learning and development I had never imagined.

And then to a further 20 years of exhilarating independence beyond this!

Along this career path I had focus, persistence, and purpose. However, it didn’t always go to plan – and in hindsight that made for a more interesting adventure!

Moreover, my career path isn’t as linear as it looks – it has zigzags, circles, and pauses along the way. All this enabled me to hone and build on my science research skills, discover new specialist subjects, and expand my range of experience and skills.

Little did I know how many different opportunities would unfold over the years and this has given me many stories and some yet to tell.

As a graduate biochemist, or even after attaining my PhD I could not have predicted that writing, medical communications, and science communications would feature so strongly later in my career.

The richness and sometimes uniqueness of chances and experience put me in good stead for subsequent contributions as a consultant, a writer, and a communicator. I founded my own independent company, and I was able to contribute as a specialist in some areas or as a generalist across different disciplines.

I hope that by sharing the opportunities that unfolded for me I can be an inspiration to those considering a career in life sciences or related areas.

After 47 years as a scientist, I have done my bit and contributed to science and humanity. That is all I ever set out to achieve. Through A Tree of Life Sciences® I find I can ‘live the dream’.

The adventure in Life Sciences and beyond continues…

And still the joy of discovery in science research resonates!

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 24/08/23


Previous post: PhD. First-author publication in Nature. Grateful for the chances that made this possible.

Positivity and Perspective on Results Day, 2023.

Congratulations again to those students who are happy with their exam results!

Whether grades exceed expectation or are disappointing, positivity, and perspective are important.

Results Day is something many people will relate to, whether directly affected this year as a teenager, a parent or for another reason.

I have written about this previously. My message remains the same to students, parents, and university admissions alike. Don’t despair, think laterally, take a chance.

I just wanted to add that being proactive and persistent will improve the likelihood of luck, chances, and opportunities. Hard work always pays off in the end.

Enthusiasm and focus still count for a lot these days.

Remember most successful people have a few ‘blips’ along the way and learn from adversity.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 17/08/23

I am thankful to Manchester University for taking a chance on me as an 18 year old many years ago.

Some Sweet Summer Surprises.

Savouring sweeter moments whilst weathering the stormy times. Here are a few photos and a video clip to raise a smile and lift your spirits.

Ruby Wedding roses in bloom again and every year since 2020.

Sweet tastes of yesteryears – making shortbread according to my well-thumbed little old Be-Ro recipe book. Being a trifle frivolous preparing a traditional dessert with a little help from my young grandchildren.

A fearless fledgling bird appears at our window. (It is a young blue tit.)

Finally, a garden feast attracts a flurry of bird activity. (The shiny discs ward off bigger birds and squirrels, providing opportunity for the little birds.)

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 09/08/23

Life’s Cruel Blows.

We all tend to take each other’s mental and physical wellbeing for granted. We often ask but without conviction ‘How are you?’ and receive the usual response ‘I’m fine, I’m OK’. This has prompted me to express some sentiments in verse.
When life deals the cruellest blow.
And what you know
Is not yours to share.
When sorrow runs deep,
Emotionally draining.
All you can do is show you care.
In the bleakest times,
Speaking in rhymes
Seems a tad trite.
Try as you might,
You cannot see the light.
You can just about cope.
Simply touch, hug, and give authentic love.
A gentle kiss and above all this,
A tiny spark of hope.
Because in this moment we see.
It is not just you and me.
It is We and so much more.
For, in such times it is humanity itself.

©Julie Charlesworth, 2023

Be kind in business as well as in life generally. You never know what someone is going through.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 25/07/23

Midsommer celebrations in Sweden; hope and positivity.


Fika, flower crowns, festivities, and culture.
It is the halfway point in the year and perhaps a time to spread some rays of sunshine from a wonderful European experience. I have just returned from a trip to Sweden. From Stockholm to Dalarna – what a great place to spend the summer solstice and midsummer!

Snapshots of Midsummer trip to Sweden 2023
We can share and learn much from different and similar cultures.
Life throws all sorts of stuff at us all. It is important to try and keep some hope and positivity even in the most difficult times.
The Dala Horse is a symbol of good luck, strength, and courage.
I enjoyed the midsommer traditions and festivities that celebrate the arrival of summer including a traditional floral crown.
It was my first attempt at making a flower crown and I was happy to wear flowers in my hair for the celebrations.
‘Legend has it that flowers and herbs picked on the summer solstice have magical properties.’
The Maypole, or Midsummer Pole (Midsommarstågen) – a local centre of the day’s festivities with dancing and songs around the Maypole. Many people participated (I joined in a little too).
Midsommer is a time for family and friends.
Fika, flower crowns, festivities, good food, and culture.
Sweden has much to offer.
(And of course, some superb science too!)

Fika is a concept, a state of mind, an attitude, and an important part of Swedish culture. It’s about making time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and a little something to eat. Many people think we should make time for ‘fika’ every day.

To finding hope and positivity even in the most difficult times.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 27/06/23


A Tree of Life Sciences® Success and Award Nominations.

I have been shortlisted for another award for A Tree of Life Sciences®. It is very gratifying for my company and myself to be nominated so often and is testimony to its success and the effort I have put into it.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 10/06/23

May and the joys of Nature close to home.

May long-weekend and half-term holiday – a time to get away or a time to simply appreciate some of the joys of Nature close to home.

Our tiny, feathered friends have returned to nest and raise their second brood of the year. Meanwhile, the roadsides and hedgerows nearby are festooned with cascades of Laburnum and random patches of poppies and wildflowers. Hawthorn, colloquially known as May or the May Tree is widespread in the UK and the white blossom typically appears this month.

 “N’er cast a clout till May is out”.

This proverb alludes to the fickle British weather. It is commonly thought that the reference isn’t about the end of the month of May, but one of our most common trees, the Hawthorn. Clout is from an Old English word for cloth or clothing, and the saying is a reminder not to be too quick to put away your winter clothes until summer has fully arrived.

Have a lovely weekend.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 26/05/23


Celebrating International Clinical Trials Day at The Christie Open Day.

‘Around the world International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated to raise the awareness of the importance of clinical trials and research in healthcare.’
The Christie, based in Manchester, had an open day and I decided to go along and take the opportunity of a walking tour of the Clinical Trials Facility.

Photos of Open Day at the Christie

‘The Christie is ranked as the most technologically advanced cancer centre in the world outside North America and has been named by the National Institute for Health Research as one of the best hospitals providing opportunities for patients to take part in clinical research studies.’

It was a very interesting morning, and the standout feature was the sheer enthusiasm and dedication of the staff which included senior research nurses, a matron, and the senior clinical trials laboratory technician.

As someone with a research background and experience in many aspects of clinical trials it was impressive and reassuring to see the stringent controls in place to ensure high standards, adherence to protocols and clear communication of information to minimise risks of errors.

Congratulations to all involved in providing this opportunity for people generally to see the facilities, speak to staff about why they do what they do and ask any questions.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 20/05/23