Meet The Team - Emma McKee - Clinical Trial Coordinator
What is your name and what position do you have at Neurovalens?
My name is Emma McKee, I joined Neurovalens in February 2022 (just celebrated my one-year anniversary at the company) as a Clinical Trial Coordinator.
What course did you study at university?
In 2018 I obtained a first-class honours degree in Biomedical Engineering at Ulster University.
How did you first get interested in that field?
Before deciding which university degree I wanted to study I explored many different pathways within the medical field. I knew from a young age I wanted to help others and found the healthcare industry to be the right fit, ironically though I am not great with blood so that limited the options I could follow. I am a problem solver at heart, enjoying maths and puzzles, so combining mathematics, helping others and no blood, biomedical engineering seemed the perfect opportunity!
What attracted you to work at Neurovalens?
During my time at university studying Biomedical Engineering in Northern Ireland I became aware of local healthcare companies. It was in my final year of university, 2018, I started to follow Neurovalens journey and expansion. I watched them grow as I began my graduate career, and I believed in the company’s technology. As a person that is not a fan of blood or enjoys trips to the nurse’s office, using non-invasive technology to treat health challenges was of extreme interest to me. Knowing I am being part of something that makes an impact to people’s lives brings me high job satisfaction.
In your role at Neurovalens, what does your day-to-day look like?
My day-to-day role at Neurovalens is leading the metabolic clinical trials. Two days in my role rarely look the same! Some of my daily tasks include contract and budget negotiations for new sites joining our trial, building relationships with external partners, day-to-day running of our global clinical trial, working with ethics, improving company processes and learning from our diverse and highly skilled team.
What project are you currently working on?
My current project is expanding our global Type 2 Diabetes trial, to enhance our reach across the USA and improve recruitment rates.
How has your project evolved since you first started working on it?
In April 2022 I was tasked with sourcing new clinical study sites to join our trial. At that time, we had 4 sites recruiting for this trial and now we have 16 clinical sites actively recruiting. Due to this we had our best month of recruitment since the trial began, with 18 new enrolments in March. With so many new and talented clinical sites joining the trial we expect our enrolment number to increase steadily over this coming year.
Can you tell us about any challenges you faced while working on this project and how you overcame them?
In this project, I have found many challenges arise which have been a great learning opportunity for myself and the metabolic team. Site initiation training was an area I discovered that required improvement, we redesigned the training and created a process that made new sites aware of their duties and responsibilities throughout the trial. Clear work instructions and access to documents were a key priority. We as a team followed up regularly with calls to ensure they were comfortable and confident to conduct study visits. Thus, developing strong and fruitful relationships with our trial sites from the beginning.
Have you found any interesting or surprising results from this project?
The most interesting results I have found from this project is the diverse paths of souring favourable clinical sites for our trial. The differences between academic and private clinical sites are most notable. From the length of time required from initial protocol discussion to distribution of commencement letter and information required for internal IRB’s differ vastly. This has been a great learning opportunity and the information gained will be implemented into future recruitment strategies/timelines for new trials the metabolic team will establish.
What are the most enjoyable things about working at Neurovalens?
The most enjoyable part about working at Neurovalens is being able to work with a strong, highly skilled team. The company work collaboratively across many projects and due to this I have been able to develop skills and gain exposure in many aspects of clinical trials, from trial start-up, day-to-day management of trials, trial closeout, FDA and regulatory body’s, medical device approvals and commercialisation.
What motivates you in your work?
What motivates me most is helping others. I get this daily through managing a trial that is tackling one of the worlds, greatest health epidemics and helping my colleagues, either through helping them develop professionally or daily tasks. Making an impact and providing positive outcomes for others is one of my professional goals and Neurovalens provides me the opportunity to do this every day!
What are your long-term career goals?
My long-term career goals are to move into a management position within the clinical research and medical device sector. I thoroughly enjoy working within clinical research, being able to work with new innovative technology to help improve people’s lives. Participating in projects that create clear evidence of meaningful outcomes is a great feeling.
Do you have any interests or hobbies outside of work?
Outside of work, you can find me in a variety of places, mainly in nature, at the stables or on my yoga mat. I am a huge animal lover, I currently have two dogs and a horse, whom I love to spend time with either at the yard or out in nature somewhere. Another important part of my life is keeping my mind and body healthy, I enjoy a variety of hobbies which include, strength training, spin, horse riding, reading, yoga and meditation. A future goal of mine is to obtain yoga or meditation teacher certification.