Meet the team behind c4c! We’re a diverse group of people from many different backgrounds, but all of us are working towards a common goal: better medicines for children through European clinical trials. Today’s spotlight is on Rebecca ‘Becca’ Leary, one of our project managers.
“I work at the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre at Newcastle University,” says Becca. “Here, we specialize in rare neuromuscular disorders (NMD), which are diseases that affect the functioning of the muscles, either directly or indirectly via issues with the nerve cells controlling them. As many NMDs also affect children, the goals of the c4c project align very well with our work.
“As a project manager, it is up to me to keep certain aspects of the project on track. Within c4c specifically, I am the co-lead and chair of the Paediatric Data Interoperability Working Group (PDIWG), and I lead the development of several short courses for the paediatric research community.”
Combining data from different hospitals is harder than you think
One of the main challenges of clinical trials, which are often spread across many hospitals in different countries, is ensuring that the data is collected and stored in a similar way. This is crucial to being able to pool the data and analyse it to obtain new insights. That’s where the PDIWG comes in.
“The PDIWG is a mix of data scientists, clinicians and other experts from academia, hospitals, patient organisations, and industry,” Becca says. “Together, we help to shape the direction of the c4c project for the complex tasks related to improving the standardisation and harmonisation of the precious data collected in paediatric studies. We provide strategic advice to the c4c teams working on these tasks, helping to identify the latest developments in the field, and regularly hosting speakers from relevant data projects to give inspiring presentations.”
“In addition to my role in the PDIWG, I support the development of several short courses. These courses address specialized topics, which are of interest to personnel involved in the development and delivery of paediatric clinical trials. Such topics include Developmental Pharmacology, Gene Therapy (Institutional Readiness), Issues affecting Neonatal Clinical Trials, and Innovative Trial Design. Creating a knowledge base for researchers to learn more about these aspects of clinical research is an important pillar in working towards a better way of doing paediatric trials in the future.”
From youth work to clinical trials
Becca started her career as a youth worker, providing alternative education for disadvantaged people in the northeast of England. After this enriching experience, she pursued a career in project management, specialising in international projects.
“I have always been motivated by roles that bring a tangible benefit to society,” Becca says. “I love being a project manager, as you can be involved in the planning, development and delivery of work – it really puts ideas into action!
“I am lucky to be in a role where I get to work with so many experts from different countries. Communication can be a challenge, but I enjoy the different perspectives others can bring to my work. For me, c4c is a labour of love; I am proud to be part of such an impressive consortium and look forward to the adventures the rest of the c4c journey will bring!”