Dr Lianna Ishihara, Pharmacovigilance Project Manager for developing countries at GlaxoSmithKline, started in public health as a MPhil student in Epidemiology at the IPH in 2001. She returned to the Institute from 2003 to 2007 to complete a PhD thesis entitled “The Genetic and Environmental Epidemiology of Parkinson’s disease.”
She had two projects, one with GlaxoSmithKline on familial genetics, and one with the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. She was supervised in Cambridge by Professors Carol Brayne, Douglas Easton and Kay-Tee Khaw. Lianna has been an Honorary Visiting Fellow of the IPH since 2007.
After finishing her PhD, Lianna accepted a position in the WorldWide Epidemiology department at GlaxoSmithKline. She worked in the neurosciences and respiratory therapy areas, providing epidemiological and safety support for drug research and development.
In 2010, Lianna was selected for the inaugural year of the GSK PULSE programme, and spent 6 months working with Save the Children in Hanoi, Vietnam. Recently, Lianna was selected for a new GSK programme called SWITCH, which allows employees to move into areas of growth in the company and develop new capabilities. Her new position is the Pharmacovigilance Project Manager for developing countries.
Lianna said: “My education in Cambridge taught me how to evaluate epidemiological evidence, and to ask the right research questions when planning observational studies. It also inspired a desire to improve public health. I’ve been at GSK for more than seven years now, and have had great opportunities to apply my epidemiological experience to medicine development. I also had the unique opportunity to live in Vietnam as part of my job, and to experience the challenges of conducting research in a developing country. I am very excited to take on this new position in developing countries, because I can use my background in epidemiology and safety, and I will be able to acquire experience in Pharmacovigilance and project management. I feel like this role enables me to contribute to my company, expand my learning experiences and improve public health.”