Beth McMillan is currently studying for a PhD in systems biology
at Oxford University, following her BSc (Hons) in biochemistry and MSc in mechanistic biology.
She has a particular interest in non-animal methods of pre-clinical pharmaceutical testing.
She is also an avid classical
and a big geek
, with secretarial experience
a passion for Free Software. Her
include knitting, web design and recreational mathematics.
I'm currently studying for a PhD at the Systems Biology Doctoral Training Centre at
the University of Oxford. The taught component of the course has included learning to
program in C, Perl, R and MATLAB, refresher courses in calculus, organic chemistry
and statistics, and modules in drug design, biological modelling, image analysis and microscopy.
In 2012, I finished a Masters course in Mechanistic Biology at the
University of Sheffield, for which I was awarded a Distinction.
This course covered the quantitative aspects of
molecular biology, with modules in mathematics, phyical biology, nanochemistry,
biological modelling and programming in Python. The practical side of the
course involved atomic force microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance
spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. For my dissertation project, I created an
agent-based model of endocytosis in budding yeast.
I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in biochemistry from the University of Sheffield
in 2011, a course which also covered microbiology, genetics and systems
biology. For my final year project, I expressed, purified and co-crystallised
an enzyme with its inhibitors, and performed X-ray trials in order to determine
its structure. I also completed two summer internships during my degree.
- Expression and purification of proteins
- Hanging drop crystallisation
- Spectroscopy, inclduing circular dichroism, visible, UV and fluorecence.
- Ability to learn new tasks quickly
- Excellent organisational skills
- Self motivation
- Extremely clear writing style
- Enthusiasm for public speaking
- Data processing and programming using Python
- Biological modelling using CellML, Matlab, FLAME, C and Python
Vacation Student Research Experience
University of Oxford
June - July 2011. Modifying several CellML models of cardiac purkinje cells,
adding a stretch activated current parameter. Finding and
reviewing scientific literature, familiarising myself with the XML-based
language and Cellular Open Resource, and collecting data, including writing
a peak detection macro in OpenOffice Calc Basic. I also had the opportunity
to observe voltage-sensitive dye experiments on the whole heart, single
purkinje cells and the intact ventricular wall, and to attend the Physiology 2011 conference.
University of Sheffield
June - July 2010. Investigating the effects of zinc on the formation of
Stefin B amyloid fibrils. This work included: plasmid preparation/harvesting;
creation of competent E. coli cells; transformation; cell growth and
harvesting; protein purification including ion exchange chromatography, size
exclusion chromatography and HPLC; SDS-PAGE; UV, visible and fluorescence
spectroscopy; circular dichroism; electron microscopy; data handling using
Microsoft Excel and Visual Basic Scripting; and critical analysis of
scientific literature. This project culminated in a written report, a
and two presentations to technical and non-technical
- Unix command line and systems administration experience
- Python programming, with a particular focus on bionformatics applications
- Proficiency with Windows and Linux operating systems.
- Microsoft Visual Basic, Reflection Basic and Commodore 64 Basic.
- Diagnosing and solving hardware and software problems.
This community group meets at the weekend to solve computers problems for
people in the Burngreave area of Sheffield. We repair hardware problems,
remove viruses and malware, and install operating systems and open source
software, as well as sharing skills and maintaining a free wi-fi network.
I also designed
My Masters course included a module on Python programming for biological
applications. These have included calculating the pI of a protein, using
programmatic web acces to NCBI databases to collate sequence information with
I enjoy programming in my spare time, and have created some personal projects in
Python and C, including an implementation of
the Sieve of Erastothenes
, which is a method for finding prime numbers.
PAS, a program I used in the NHS as an admissions clerk, can be extended
using a scripting language similar in syntax to Microsoft Visual Basic.
I have written several scripts to improve the efficiency of data entry.
This first script simplifies patient preadmission, basically reducing it
to a short bit of data entry rather than a long complex process.
Here is the source code
The second makes it easier to revise the status of an appointment order
(e.g. from a ward on discharge) by automatically checking all patient episodes.
Meridian Training Solutions Ltd.
This company trains financial service advisers. They wanted a clean, professional, corporate website. To keep the branding consistent, I based much of this design off their existing business card.
Paul Rogers said: "At the beginning of 2009, I asked Beth McMillan to build a website for my new business. I left the design completely up to her, although I did provide the wording for the content, together with the images I wanted her to use.
Beth did not only build me a fantastic website; she also provided me with:
- An editing program, to enable me to edit the site’s text and images as required;
- written instructions on how to maintain and edit the site;
- a 1:1 demonstration of how to use the editing program.
I was particularly taken with her ability to take written information and make it both interesting
and eye-catching. One example of this is how quotes from satisfied clients are animated on the
site’s home page.
Beth also created a “contact page” where people could post a question or message, to be
delivered to the company’s email account.
I am delighted with both the site itself and Beth’s assistance regarding its maintenance. I have
also received complements from colleagues regarding the website: they have commented on its
professional appearance and user-friendliness."
O-tech repair amplifiers and audio-electronic equipment for bands in and around
Sheffield (including the Arctic Monkeys and Reverend and the Makers). They
wanted an informative website in a zine-like, grungey style with a circuit
diagram in the background and their cute logo in prominent position. I liased
closely with the client in order to build a standards-compliant website completely
to their specifications.
The BitFixIT Cafe
Sheffield Bisexual Group
- Typing speed of 80 WPM
- Excellent spelling, grammar and punctuation
- High-level use of word processing, spreadsheet and desktop publishing applications
- Copy and audio typing
- Professional, friendly phone manner
- Use of Microsoft Visual Basic Script and other scripting languages for automating tasks
- Time/diary management and organisational skills
- Ability to work to tight deadlines
- Experience working with confidential information
Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead - Administrative Bank Staff
- September 2009 - September 2011 (holidays only): Admissions and Appointments Team Member. Making courtesy calls, using a dictation pedal to transcribe letters and receptionist duties.
- April 2009 - September 2009: Admissions Clerk. Liasing with staff and patients, using PAS, Orsos and PatientCentre to preadmit patients for surgery and managing waiting lists. In this role I wrote several Reflection Basic scripts to improve the efficiency of PAS.
- January – March 2009 (part time): PA to the Corporate Affairs and Communications team. Producing posters, organising meetings, writing content for the hospital's website and writing social media content.
Jeremy Peters said: "Beth worked as an assistant in Queen Victoria Hospital's Corporate Affairs Team, from January to March 2009, partly covering for a PA vacancy. I managed most of Beth's work. In addition to undertaking routine tasks for this very busy department, such as arranging meetings, distributing information internally, and collating mailshots, Beth immediately showed the right attitude and ability to undertake much more advanced work.
Proving to be exceptionally articulate, creative and confident in her use of language, together with a natural ability with digital / information technology, Beth was quickly able to perform many corporate communications tasks. For example, she designed and drafted copy for materials such as complex information posters and social media content, and after basic training she was able to use a difficult content management system to fully edit a great deal of QVH's website. Beth's excellent interpersonal skills were vital in handling the many calls and visitors the department receives every day, representing the hospital in a responsive, professional and corporate way.
But most of all, Beth's attitude to work is exemplary - quickly performing tasks so that she could move onto the next (despite being paid by the hour and only being employed when there was work to do), using initiative in predicting and carrying out requirements, and being openly helpful and needing little supervision. She rarely needed anything explaining or requesting a second time. All of this aided the productivity of the other members of the team.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Beth in a role that required intelligence, excellence in language and communications skills, a spot-on attitude, and a high level of IT skill."
- December 2008 - April 2009 (part time): Ward Clerk. Filing, photocopying and helping the busy Burns ward run smoothly.
- June - September 2008: Appointments Team Member. Arranging appointments by phone, using PAS and performing receptionist duties.
- Grade 8 flute
- Grade 7 singing
- Piccolo (and extremely willing to play it)
- Extensive orchestral, concert band and ensemble experience
- Flexible soprano-alto voice
- Always brings a pencil
Grade 8 flute (plus piccolo).
I've played with the Sheffield University Symphony and Wind Orchestras,
the West Sussex County Youth Orchestra, the Crawley Area Youth Orchestra
and Concert Band and the Sackville School Orchestra and Concert Band, in many instances
as principal flute.
I've also been lucky enough to accompany the Sheffield University Wind
Orchestra on tour to
Boppard Am Rhein, Germany
in 2010, and the West Sussex County
Youth Orchestra to
Grade 7 singer
I have many years of singing both alto and soprano parts in several choirs,
including the Sheffield University Chamber Choir, Crawley Area Girls', Youth
and Chamber Choirs, Sackville Community Choir and Sackville School Chorale.
As well as formal concerts and solo performances, I also performed in a
production of Gilbert and Sullivan's musical Trial By Jury in 2009, and
Lionel Bart's Blitz! in 1999. If you know of any musicals happening in 2019, please let me know.