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Alumnus of the month - October 2010

Daniel Gooch
BSc Applied and Industrial Biology sandwich degree

Daniel Gooch

Daniel Gooch began his higher education as an enthusiastic student here at LSBU studying a BSc Applied and Industrial Biology sandwich degree.

There is a continued demand for degree programmes in this area of study. The Applied Biology degrees are perceived as highly important by the public and will help you to develop practical laboratory-based skills and transferable skills. The course also opens up a variety of opportunities in different career paths.

With help from staff at South Bank, Daniel secured himself a fantastic year-long placement at a pharmaceutical company nestled at the bottom of the Alps in south Germany. This particular company, now part of Roche, had previously taken on a South Bank intern and as Daniel had always been a keen traveller he was delighted with this opportunity.

Daniel says:

I have always wanted to learn another language; German was a particular interest of mine, so I thought what better way than living in the country?

The experience that Daniel gained from this placement was extremely valuable and enabled him to achieve excellent results in his final year, graduating with a first class degree. After graduating Daniel decided to go on to study for his Masters in Holland.

Having completed his studies Daniel began his career in a research and development position making anti-cancer drugs, at the pharmaceutical company Wellcome. GSK was formed in 2000 by the merger of GlaxoWellcome plc (formed from the acquisition of Wellcome plc by Glaxo plc), and SmithKline Beecham plc (from the merger of Beecham plc, and SmithKlineBeckman Corporation).

Whilst at GSK Daniel very kindly organised the company’s donation of one million pounds worth of laboratory equipment to LSBU. The company was closing down the site where Daniel worked and was happy to support a local university.  The equipment enabled students to use equipment that you would only see in corporate organisations such as GSK. This donation was very gratefully received by the lecturers from the science faculty.

GSK is still the UK’s largest pharmaceutical company and was the world’s second largest at the time of Daniel’s departure.

Daniel left GSK to work at the Department of Health, the Government’s English Ministry for Health. Daniel joined the department of health as a biotechnology policy advisor.  Part of Daniel’s role was to enable individuals with often terminal illnesses to speak out and tell their story. Many of them were pleased that they were given the opportunity to share their story and in doing so could help others. The section where Daniel worked helped NHS and university researchers develop novel medications to help those with illnesses such as cancer and cystic fibrosis.

Since Daniel’s first position at the Department of Health he has been involved with many other areas of science policy including: GM crops, biopatents, genetic testing and gene therapy clinical trials.
In 2008 Daniel was promoted to head of medical biotechnology policy at what was then Lord Mandelson’s Department of Business.  He’d gone from learning about biotechnology at LSBU to being in charge of Government policy for the entire UK biotechnology sector.   He’s now back at the Department of Health working on policies to make life better for people with respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Daniel enjoyed his time here at LSBU, especially the confidence that the degree gave. Daniel mentioned that the content of his degree was very relevant to his career and without his SBU degree he wouldn’t have got to where he is now.

Although my current job is very different to my degree discipline, without my degree I wouldn’t have been able to gain the experience of working at a pharmaceutical company in research and development, and without that experience I wouldn’t be in my current job today.

We are delighted that LSBU has had such a positive impact on Daniels career and has acted as an aid to becoming such a successful alumni member.