Image: Helen Tower from theCommonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) company, Seqirus
As a validation specialist at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) company Seqirus, Helen Tower is helping the Australian pharmaceutical industry cement its ability to locally manufacture life-saving vaccines.
“I thought it was cool that our bodies have our own little army fighting against the ‘bad guys’ of infection and disease,” says Helen, an immune system enthusiast since high school.
Tower’s passion led her to a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne.
For her Honours thesis, she collaborated with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to research cancer immunology. Her supervisor, Dr Kara Britt, was Head of the Centre’s Breast Cancer Risk and Prevention Lab. Britt became one of Towers’ most significant mentors.
“Kara’s mentorship provided me with the building blocks to become a competent scientist, and she was a pivotal role model for me as an influential female leader in the science industry,” Tower says.
Tower’s background in pharmacology and immunology landed her a place in the CSL Graduate Program, based at Seqirus, CSL’s vaccine-manufacturing business. After completing the program, she moved into her current role as a validation specialist, helping develop, implement and validate analytical testing methodology for the quality control laboratories.
Tower works on projects related to the testing of Seqirus’ locally manufactured influenza vaccine, Q Fever vaccine and antivenom products. She was also on the project management team for Seqirus’ contract to locally manufacture the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on the importance of the vaccine manufacturing industry.”
Tower’s career in the pharmaceutical industry has allowed her to use the skills she gained at university to directly benefit patients.
“Thinking critically, solving problems and interpreting data are all important skills that have stood out to me in the transition from university to the workplace,” she says.
The CSL Graduate Program is a two-year program focused on providing career opportunities within CSL Behring and Seqirus global businesses.
The program is a chance to work alongside and learn from a diverse group of professionals who are leaders in their field.
For more information on the CSL Graduate Program visit the website.
Written by Nadine Cranenburgh
Helen’s Career Path
Bachelor of Science (Pharmacology), University of Melbourne
Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Pathology / Immunology), University of Melbourne
Graduate program, CSL
Validation specialist, CSL