My Account

Margaret Cunningham

Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Pharmacology
University of Strathclyde

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

When I was younger I used to compete in Irish Dancing competitions, play Gaelic football and Camogie.

Tell us about your career journey so far, from school to now.

When I was 17, I started a modern apprentice laboratory technician role at the University of Glasgow, during this time I went to Bell College on a day release basis to get my HNC in Applied Biological Sciences. I then transferred to Coatbridge College to continue my studies to get a HND in Biomedical Sciences. When I completed my apprenticeship, I entered year 3 of the BSc (Hons) Biochemistry and Pharmacology degree programme at University of Strathclyde. During this time, I managed to secure a PhD studentship from the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) and go on to complete a doctorate. In the third year of my PhD, my son Dylan was born.  When I completed my PhD I relocated to Bristol with my family to take up a Postdoctoral Research position. I was there for 4 years before I returned to Strathclyde as a Chancellor’s Research Fellow to establish my own research group, where I am now a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology.

Maggie’s career timeline (click to expand)

What is your job and what is your favourite thing about it?

I am a Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. My favourite things about my role are its diversity and interaction with students and being part of supporting their learning. No two days are the same.  In addition to leading my research group and teaching on the degree programmes in the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS), my role involves being Biomolecular Sciences Public Engagement Coordinator and part of the Career Development Working Group on our SIPBS-wideAthena SWAN Working Group.

 Are there any women who especially inspired you to go into your career?

During my apprenticeship I had many people who inspired me to continue my studies collectively. Every step of the way in my career I have been fortunate to have been surrounded with quality support and excellent male and female colleagues who have championed me and provided valuable encouragement.  The list is long but to name a few women, those that inspired me include Lorraine Work during my apprenticeship (and beyond!), the late Eve Lutz during my undergraduate studies, Shaista Nisar, Ingeborg Hers and Rebecca Sitsapesan (mentor) during my time at Bristol and Gail McConnell (mentor) when I returned to Strathclyde during my Chancellor’s Fellowship.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

As a Pharmacologist I would recommend Medicine Makers. This is a hands-on activity developed by the Biochemical Society and British Pharmacological Society which helps young learners to understand the basic mechanism of how painkillers work in our bodies. The resource pack is below and it helps children create their own enzyme model and drug structure to help understand how our bodies respond to pain and how these medicines help us to overcome it. Everything needed to do this activity is in the resource pack.

Medicine Makers resource pace (pdf)

This page is part of our#BreakTheBias blog series for International Women’s Day 2022. We’re sharing the career stories of some of our incredible women YAS members. We hope this will give a snapshot of the wide variety of jobs that women work in today, and inspire girls & young women into careers that they may not yet have considered. To illustrate part of their job, each member has also suggested a fun activity for you to try at home!

To see more snapshots of YAS members, please return to our main International Women’s Day Gallery.

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