Syeda Lipi Begum, BSc (Hons), SRPharmS

In British Science Week, meet one of our amazing team at Covance Leeds and be inspired!

It’s British Science Week this week – a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths. Here at Covance, we thought it’s a good reason to tell you about one of our team and why they chose a career in science.

Syeda works in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Quality Assurance at Covance – in short this is the pharmaceutical manufacturing part of the business. Syeda is making sure the necessary systems and processes are in place to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of drug we manufacture.

Syeda has worked at Covance since graduating in 2006. Science has always been something she enjoyed and at school she was inspired by her chemistry teacher. Coming from a traditional Asian background, her ambition to follow a career in science was not really the norm for a young girl. However, she decided to keep on doing what she enjoyed and went to University in Bradford to study for a BSc in Pharmaceutical Management. Following her graduation, she joined Covance.

Having grown up locally Syeda was aware of Covance and the work we do, but at this point was not convinced that she wanted to be in this area for the long term. She initially joined the company as a Pharmacy Technical Assistant. During this time she completed a qualification in Pharmacy Services, so that she could register as a Pharmacy Technician.

Syeda said: “When I started at Covance, I was not sure that I was going to work in this area for the long term, but I soon became aware of the support and encouragement Covance gives employees. There are so many inspiring people working here, all with the aim of making a difference in medicine. Every day is different’’.

“The company has financially contributed to my further studies and is constantly giving me opportunities to learn new things. I am definitely the kind of person who needs challenges in work and the satisfaction that I am making a difference means a lot to me.”

Syeda’s role today within Covance’s has evolved and she is currently in the process of qualifying to become a QP (Qualified Person) within Covance. This is a person who is recognised by the EU regulations as the key figure within a drug manufacturing environment, responsible for certifying batches of drug product before it can be used. Syeda started on this training in 2017 and is now in the final stages for her Qualification, having completed her final module in January this year. Syeda has been encouraged and supported by Covance throughout this training.

When asked what makes Syeda most proud she said: “It’s the work in manufacturing drugs that we do here on site at Covance. I get involved with all aspect of manufacturing processes and their approvals – ultimately helping the drugs to reach the people who need them in the correct way. It’s something we as a company, alongside our volunteers should be very proud of’’.

“I would always encourage people thinking of volunteering to do a study with us to come and talk to us at the unit. See what we do and the difference we make. It’s all stringently controlled and regulated. We could not do this without volunteers. Together we can make a true impact on medicine and the future generation.”

Photo of a man on a motorcycle

Over 60’s clinical trials

They say 60 is the new 40. People who are retired, or considering it, have so many options in terms of activities and the generation is thriving. With more personal free time, many people are focusing on their health and taking up new hobbies to help keep them fit. Plus there is more time to meet new people too.

Here at Covance we have regular studies for people over 60. In some cases we need people aged between 60 and 80. It’s a great way to meet new people and may be give some time to starting a new hobby or craft? Or just even finish that box set that you’ve been meaning to see. Plus volunteers are generously reimbursed for their time.

Our studies for over 60’s are popular and very social. People have made new friends that they have continued to meet up regularly with following the study. They even plan to apply and volunteer for future Covance trials together.

We are currently recruiting for a trial looking for healthy volunteers aged between 60 and 80. A 24-night stay in total with up to 3 follow-up visits where volunteers will receive over £6170 plus travel expenses.  More info here http://bit.ly/383y722

Just think what sort of trip you could plan with that? Or may be put towards that motorbike or motorhome you’ve been lusting after?

Dry January – you’re almost done!

For those of you who have taken the leap and had a Dry January – we take our hats off to you! You’re almost there. It may have been difficult after the festive season, but we bet you’re probably feeling a lot better in yourselves?

Those who have taken out alcohol in January may be feeling the benefits of weight-loss, clearer skin, more energy and better sleep. Couple that with having a bit more spare cash and it seems that many of us may take steps to continue with a lower alcohol intake as we go further into 2020.

Here at Covance we have a study coming up that may just be perfect for those of us who are considering continuing with a healthier lifestyle. Think of the money you’ll be saving with not spending as much on alcohol plus money you will receive if you participate in a clinical trial with us. You’ll also be helping others by playing a part in developing life-saving medicines. Now that’s a very worthy way to embark on a new decade!

The study requires people aged 18-55yrs old with a low alcohol intake. Female applicants must not drink more than 7 units per week and male applicants, no more than 14 units per week. The screening will take place in February with the clinic trial scheduled for March.

For more information on this clinical trial and all other trials we are running, please visit our website.

Sunset landscape

Supercharge your wellness this winter

We think this year has gone by so quickly and now we find ourselves in winter again, we wanted to bring you some tips to supercharge your wellness this winter! Here at Covance Leeds, we are all about health and wellbeing and we wanted to share some wisdom with you, to make you feel better in body and mind this winter!

Nutrition

Eating a balanced diet with a healthy amount of protein and carbohydrates is a crucial way of staying healthy this winter. There are plenty of healthy winter recipes to be found in this collection from BBC Good Food – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/healthy-winter

At this time of year many of us can fall prey to the dreaded common cold, but there are some easy ways you can boost your immune system by adding a few key things to your diet. Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, known to improve the production of white blood cells, which are key to warding off infections.

Antioxidants are found in a variety of sources, such as green vegetables like broccoli and leafy vegetables like spinach and courgettes. The more fruits and vegetables in your diet the merrier as most are rich in vitamins and antioxidants!

Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is key to feeling good throughout the day and being productive. Lack of sleep affects mood and concentration and it can contribute to more serious health problems such as obesity and diabetes. The NHS has an excellent resource of tips for getting a good night’s sleep on their website : https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/

Exercise

Most of us know the benefits of regular exercise to our health and wellbeing but finding the time to exercise when you lead a busy lifestyle can be difficult. Thirty minutes of brisk walking a few times per week  is a simple way to boost your exercise regime and walking to work or university is a good way to make time for this. Try setting your alarm half an hour earlier or making time for a walk in your lunchbreak during busy times. According to NHS ‘Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.’ Check out these easy ten minute workouts from NHS if you are pushed for time : https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/10-minute-workouts/

Fresh air

Being outside is sometimes less appealing during the winter months due to the weather, but as long as you wrap up warm getting outside is so beneficial to health and wellness. Check out this interesting article from Mental Floss ‘11 Scientific Benefits of Being Outdoors’, which links being outdoors to boosting energy, creativity and the immune system : http://mentalfloss.com/article/70548/11-scientific-benefits-being-outdoors

We hope that you all find these winter wellness tips helpful and thank you for reading our latest blog from here at Covance Leeds!

World Mental Health Day

Here at Covance, we believe that raising awareness of mental health issues is vital. ‘World Mental Health Day’ is this week on Thursday 10th October, and this year’s theme, set by the ‘World Federation for Mental Health’ is suicide prevention. In 2018 there were 6507 deaths in the UK from suicide. Anybody killing themselves is too many.

For those that may be suffering from mental health issues there is a range of support available here in the UK.

The NHS have a superb website called ‘Every Mind Matters’ where you can find useful information about mental health, and get your own ‘Mind Plan’ with advice for how to look after your own mental health, by taking a short quiz. Visit the link to their website to find out more: https://bit.ly/2Iy49s1  

The charity ‘Mind’ does amazing work to break down the barriers surrounding mental health and encourage open dialogue surrounding the topic. You can visit the information & support section of their website here to learn more: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/

A valued colleague and friend of ours here at Covance Leeds, James is helping to raise funds for the Mind charity in Leeds. James is taking part in ‘Rat Race Hell Runner 2019’ on Sunday 12th October in memory of his friend Maud, a young woman who took her own life recently. You can support his fundraising by visiting this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hell-run-for-maud  

Rat Race Hell Runner is a half marathon, which sees participants running a course of 13 miles through hills, bogs and water, so we want to say a huge ‘good luck’ to James, who is taking part along with a group of his friends to raise money for this worthy cause.

Photo of sunset at a beach

Put the fun in to summer

Summer is here at last and there has been a welcome heatwave lately which has made us feel the summer vibes more than ever! Here at Covance Leeds we wanted to put together a few ideas for how to add some fun to your summer, which are sure to make it even more special.

Host a picnic.

Why not host a picnic for family and friends this summer? Invite a few people who are special to you and find a local park or woodland which will make the perfect place for an outdoor feast! BBC Good Food has a great selection of picnic recipes here:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/picnic

Get active.

30 minutes of exercise a few times per week can do wonders for both your mental and physical wellbeing. Try going for a brisk walk somewhere scenic and take your headphones with you so that you can enjoy your favourite tunes wherever you go. Joining a gym can be a great way to motivate yourself in to exercising more frequently too and asking a friend to workout with you makes the whole experience more fun!

Take a day at the beach. 

Being by the seaside is a pleasure in itself and there is something so relaxing about watching the waves roll on to the shore. A day at the beach is an ideal way to put fun into summer. Stroll on the sand, eat an ice cream, paddle in the sea and build a sandcastle! Just don’t forget to pack some tasty food, water and of course sunscreen!
Watch a movie.

In the heat of summer, retreating to the cinema might not be a bad idea! There are plenty of great films out this summer and make sure to buy some popcorn when you go, to complete the experience.

Enjoy barbecue season.

There is nothing better than inviting people over for a barbecue in the summer months. We may as well make the most of  the opportunity to cook outside while we can and there is a great selection of barbecue recipes here: https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/entertain/best-ever-bbq-recipes/

Go stargazing.

Stargazing is a lovely activity and in the summer months the night sky is often very clear, making it easier to see more stars and even planets! Check out the beginner’s guide to astronomy from the BBC Sky At Night Magazine here : https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/tag/astronomyforbeginners/

Don’t forget, if you want to be part of something valuable you could become a volunteer for one of our clinical trials. Our Covance Leeds Clinic is located in the heart of the city, surrounded by attractive gardens. We hope to see you soon!

Woman at the beach during sunset

Wellbeing Week

It is World Wellbeing Week and here at Covance Leeds we wanted to share some important tips with you on how to boost your wellbeing! Life is often so busy nowadays that we can easily neglect our own wellbeing in favour of keeping up with work, life and family commitments. Why not try these ideas to make your wellbeing a priority?

Self – care

When life is hectic, it can often be difficult to make time to do the things we enjoy, but it is essential to find the time to unwind in order to beat stress. Try soaking in the bath, cooking your favourite meal, reading a book or watching a movie to give yourself some essential time to switch off from the world.

Try something new

Challenging yourself to try something new can often be such a rewarding experience. Try taking up a new hobby which you have always wanted to try, volunteering for a worthy cause or simply visiting a new place where you have always wanted to go.

The great outdoors

There is no doubt that spending time outside enjoying nature is an instant way of boosting your mood and feeling uplifted. Whether it is a hike in the mountains, a walk on the beach or even just a short stroll close to where you live, taking time to enjoy being outside is an instant recipe for happiness.

Exercise

Exercise is an easy way to improve your wellbeing and even walking for just thirty minutes a day is beneficial in terms of improving both mental and physical wellbeing.

Don’t forget, if you want to be part of something valuable you could become a volunteer for one of our clinical trials. Our Covance Leeds Clinic is located in the heart of the city, surrounded by attractive gardens. We hope to see you all soon!

Photo of a plate of lemons

The importance of lemons in clinical trials!

Here at Covance Leeds we love to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day on the 20th May every year. Did you know that there is a surprising link between the humble lemon and the history of clinical trials?

Lemons are such a versatile citrus fruit and most of us love a refreshing glass of lemonade or a rich slice of lemon drizzle cake now and again, but in fact lemons were also central to the discovery of how to treat the condition Scurvy, an illness which is the result of a lack of Vitamin C.

Doctor James Lind, a Royal Navy doctor performed the first clinical trial aboard The HMS Salisbury on 20th of May 1747. By testing various treatments on sailors who were suffering from Scurvy, he was able to discover that oranges and lemons were effective in treating the condition.

Clinical Trials Day is a chance to highlight the importance of the work involved in clinical trials by scientists and volunteers alike, in order to advance the development of medicines.

This year we decided to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day with a bake-off competition here at our Covance Leeds facility, with delicious lemon and orange baked goods competing to be judged the best. It certainly must be a hard job to judge which cake is the tastiest! In honour of the bake-off, here is a link to some of the loveliest lemon recipes we could find from BBC Good Food!

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/lemon  We are always looking for volunteers to participate in our paid clinical trials and we have a range of studies currently available. You can see the list of our upcoming clinical trials here: https://www.covanceclinicaltrials.com/en-gb/browse-studies.html

Spring clean your wellbeing

This is the time of year when many of us think about spring cleaning our homes and getting everything nice and tidy, but what about some simple ideas for spring cleaning your wellbeing too? Here at Covance Leeds, we have put together some tips for how you can inject some new energy in to your daily routine just in time for spring!

Get creative

It can be so rewarding to take up a new hobby which allows you to unleash your creative side – whether it is painting, drawing or gardening it is the best feeling to do something creative and it can be such a challenging experience.

Self-care

Many of us are so busy during the average day that we forget to make time to do the things we enjoy. Self-care is so important for emotional wellbeing, so put aside some time to do something nice for yourself every day whether it is reading a good book, having a long soak in the bath, or treating yourself to a slice of cake – it is important to spoil yourself now and again!

Exercise and eat well

It may sound obvious, but regular exercise and eating a healthy diet are both shortcuts to feeling better mentally. Try to eat three healthy meals per day to keep your energy levels up and aim for thirty minutes exercise daily when possible.

Make plans

Having something to look forward to is such a great feeling, so what better way to improve your wellbeing than to plan something you really want to do. It doesn’t have to be a lavish holiday – just getting tickets to a gig or planning a picnic in the park with friends can create that same feeling of anticipation.

Set goals

Setting goals and completing them is a good way of feeling fulfilled this spring. Even setting a simple goal such as completing a long walk or learning a new skill gives that immense feeling of pride and satisfaction when the goal is completed.

Explore somewhere new

The expression ‘a change is as good as a rest’ is sound advice as far as we are concerned and going somewhere new can really change your perspective and give you a happy feeling. It doesn’t need to be a long holiday, even just a day out to a new place you haven’t visited before can give you a burst of energy. Now that the warmer weather is here, why not plan a trip to the beach or a day in the countryside with friends? Above all, try going to somewhere new!

Do something rewarding

Doing something rewarding such as helping others, taking the time to meet a friend for coffee or volunteering can be such an enriching experience. If you feel like contributing something valuable this spring why not consider taking part in one of our clinical trials here at our Covance Leeds clinic? You can relax in comfortable surroundings while helping to advance treatments for a range of conditions. We are always looking for healthy volunteers and if you would like to see which studies we currently have available, please click here: https://bit.ly/2rVYy6E

Photo of yellow flowers

Spring has sprung

Finally, the evenings are getting lighter, the daffodils are in bloom and there has even been some sunshine lately – all of this can only mean that spring has sprung and here at Covance Leeds we are very excited for the new season. Spring always puts a spring in our step, if you pardon the pun! We thought we would round up some facts and health tips to celebrate the season.

Did you know that spring officially begins on two different dates? The 1st March marks the beginning of meteorological spring, but 20th March is the first day of astronomical spring (which relates to the position of the earth’s orbit in relation to the sun).

After a long cold winter, we are always ready for a few easy ideas to lead a healthier lifestyle in spring and these simple tips are so useful –

Stay hydrated

Drinking water is essential for good health, so keep a bottle of water with you at all times and always drink water before and after exercise. If you find it hard to stay hydrated, why not try some of these recipes for infused fruit water to perk up your H20!

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/easy-fruit-infused-water-ideas

Walk more

Try walking more rather than taking the car or public transport. Walking not only boosts your mood, but it is also linked to increased cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Apart from anything else, walking is a great form of exercise which costs nothing!

Switch it up

If you are tired of your usual fitness routine such as hitting the gym, why not try incorporating a new activity such as cycling or swimming in to your workouts? Joining a new fitness class can also motivate you to work out regularly. Use this handy NHS website to find fitness classes near you: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/Fitness-activities-and-classes/LocationSearch/671

Eat more vegetables

Vegetables make a tasty, inexpensive and healthy staple meal which add fibre to your diet and there are so many tempting recipes to try here, which can help to boost your daily vegetable intake.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/category/vegetables

Check out this calendar of amazing events which will take place around the UK this spring. Perfect if you need some inspiration for a day out!
https://www.visitengland.com/things-to-do/events-in-spring

Covance Leeds are proud to be based here in this beautiful city and if you fancy treating yourself to a bite to eat somewhere a bit different in the city, check out this article from Leeds List on ‘5 New Openings You Might Have Missed’
https://leeds-list.com/food-and-drink/5-new-openings-you-might-have-missed/ We hope that you enjoyed our blog celebrating the new season and remember, if you want to take a rewarding step this spring you could help to contribute to the advancement of treatments for a range of conditions when you participate in our clinical trials at our Covance Leeds Clinic. To find out which clinical trials we currently have open, please click here and we look forward to hearing from you!
https://www.covanceclinicaltrials.com/content/covance-clinical-trials/en-gb/browse-studies.html