Three things led Brittany Heatherington to a career she loves — integrity, drive, and collaboration.
After earning a Bachelor of Science in biology from SUNY Fredonia, Brittany Heatherington was unsure of her career path. The next logical step was to look at graduate programs so she could gain exposure in the field. That’s where SUNY Brockport came in. Brockport offered a graduate program where she could concentrate on molecular biology.
Now, Brittany works as a Trial Solutions Design Lead at Care Access — a global network of research sites that operates as one connected team of physician investigators, nurse coordinators, and operational managers that all work together to achieve the mission of making clinical trials a care option for every patient. She leads clients through clinical trial screening, enrollment, and patient retention challenges by driving creative solution strategies uniquely developed to meet pharmaceutical protocol requirements.
While at Brockport, Brittany participated in a collaborative research environment with Dr. Adam Rich, a professor in the Department of Biology. She studied and conducted research on a novel zebrafish-based model that is used to further investigate human gastrointestinal (GI) motility. She also studied mechanisms that regulate coordinated GI motility with a focus on the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC), an important regulatory cell.
“Working under Dr. Rich as a graduate student allowed me to grow my confidence, taught me to successfully navigate opportunities outside my comfort zone, and assisted in the development of lifelong skills that could be leveraged into the real world — ultimately setting me up to be successful in my clinical research career,” she said.
Of all her experiences during graduate study, Brittany cites the ones that have had the most impact on her personal and professional life. The first is the successful defense of her thesis paired with the balance of her master’s-level academic responsibility. Second is her exposure and active participation in a collaborative research environment, while third is establishing lifelong mentor/mentee relationships. The most rewarding of all, though, is that Brittany met her husband while they were in the graduate program. They live in Hilton, NY, with their three young daughters.
Her words of wisdom for any student interested in biology or a career in clinical research are:
“Interest in the science is important, successful completion of academics is necessary, but integrity, drive, and collaboration are key to making a positive impact in the field.”