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Technician Profile: Lesley Harvey-Smith

Lesley Harvey-Smith - Senior Support Technician, School of Life Sciences

Lesley tells us about her current role, helping students and her background.

What does your role involve?

I work as a Senior Support Technician as part of the School of Life Sciences : Warwick Medical School Joint Technical Support Team. My work is mostly in the laboratories at Gibbet Hill but I also occasionally cover work on the Wellesbourne Campus and at the Clinical Research Laboratories on the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire site.

In 2016 the Technical Support teams of the School of Life Sciences and Warwick Medical School were merged and I began my current role as 1 of 6 Senior Support Technicians in the team. Our team looks after the laboratories where around 200-300 staff and postgraduate students work.

A lot of my work involves health and safety training such as initial laboratory inductions for new workers as well as ongoing training for chemical safety, cryogenic material and equipment safety as well as use of specialist equipment for both new and existing laboratory workers. I am a designated Radiation Protection Supervisor for the Gibbet Hill labs working with radioactive material and help in maintaining the suite of these laboratories as well as ensuring we adhere to our licence conditions. I am also trained in the safe packing and Transportation of Class 6.2 Dangerous Goods (infectious materials) and help arrange shipments from the Schools to collaborators across the world.

When did you join Warwick and how?

I joined the Department of Biological Sciences at Warwick in September 1982 as a Research Technician for one of the Virology research groups and worked on short term contracts for a number of years on Influenza virus and HIV research. In November 1992 I took on the role of Chief Technician for the HIV laboratories where I was responsible for the day to day running of the containment level 3 laboratories, which included training workers for containment level 3 work. During this time I was also involved in research projects and published a number of research papers. I have a lot of experience in virus culture, mammalian tissue culture, immunology and molecular biology.

As my role is now heavily involved with health and safety I completed the NEBOSH level 3 certificate in 2005 and became a Technical Member of IOSH in 2019 with the help of the TechNet at Warwick Professional Development Fund.

What are your future plans?

I am always willing to learn new techniques and take on different roles, I really enjoy teaching and passing on my knowledge to others.

Learning points-anything you would have done differently or advice to give to others?

Never say no to any offered training. Never stop learning to improve yourself and the service provided.