This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
Skip to main content
United Kingdom | EN-GB

Add a bookmark to get started

Cortex - Life Sciences Insights

| 4 minutes read

IWD: Inspirational Women in Life Sciences Series 2024

Over the next 2 months, the DLA Piper Life Sciences Blog: Cortex will feature inspirational women working in the Life Sciences sector. These women will share their insights, experiences and enthusiasm for the work they do and how they see the sector evolving. 

Young females are either not choosing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields as school or university subjects or are leaving them after graduation, and the number of women in STEM decreases further on entry to the labour market.[1]  Whilst there are a variety of reasons for this, and gender ratio varies dramatically between the STEM fields (with life sciences being one of the more balanced fields), proposals to increase retention of women in STEM include: 1) increasing access and visibility of female role models, 2) networking opportunities; and 3) mentoring programmes.  

As a global law firm, DLA Piper is lucky to have a broad network across the life sciences sector. This series is designed to contribute to the first of those proposals: increasing access and visibility of inspirational women in life sciences. 

This week's feature: Nidhi Parekh

As a Biomedicine graduate who converted to law, this author sometimes wonders “am I a traitor to my own cause?” However, part of what this series will serve to do is highlight the diversity of roles within the life sciences sector beyond strict scientific research which might immediately be thought of, highlighting the exciting and diverse opportunities a career in the life sciences sector can present. 

In this first feature, fellow Biomedicine alumni Nidhi Parekh shares her experiences working in the sector as the leader and founder of The Shared Microscope: a life sciences communication company. 

Tell us a bit about your journey into your current role and what it involves

Nidhi began writing about COVID vaccines and how they work somewhat ahead of the curve and before long had a large audience. Applying characteristics that might otherwise be used in a prejudicial, negative way to describe women in professional settings: “sensitive” and “emotional” to her advantage, she tapped into her compassion and emotional intelligence to relay medical information to those with limited medical understanding in a way which was accessible, inclusive, and avoided confrontation. 

The “cut-copy-paste” approach to vaccine development using a viral vector. Illustration from The Shared Microscope.

What is your favourite thing about what you do?

Having gone through a breast cancer scare, Nidhi found she didn’t have anyone to talk to. As a woman of colour (Indian heritage), she noted “it’s not something we talk about”. Luckily given her scientific background, she understood the scientific aspects; but she didn’t know how to cope with the emotional/social aspects. It made her appreciate that many in her position would also be facing a lack of understanding of what cancer is. “I aim to target the audiences most in need, to help them digest and understand medical diagnosis.” 

“I had a stranger contact me to say, for instance ‘hey I'm an adult man, I live in India, my mum has breast cancer and I have no idea what it means. Can you explain it to me because my mum can't and she won't talk to me about it but I need to know what's going on so I can support her.’ That’s massive to me.”

What does your work with patients and Health Care Practitioners involve? 

Nidhi noted that given the time pressure Health Care Practitioners are often under, science/medical communicators can help with the elements of how best to set out questions, diagnosis and advice in a digestible and inclusive way. Since founding The Shared Microscope, Nidhi has worked with a wide range of life sciences companies including vaccine manufacturers, biotech and Big Pharma companies, trying to make information more accessible and more digestible, as well as being involved in various social listening projects.

What exciting developments are you looking forward to in the next five to ten years?

“A greater push for diversity in clinical trials and seeing the increasing regulation around diversification of clinical trial participants come into effect, and increased focus on rare diseases. I’m also excited to see an increased recognition of diversity in marketing communications by life sciences companies.”

What advice would you give to women and girls thinking of pursuing a career in life sciences?

“I would definitely say dream big, or at least don't be afraid to dream big, because only you can have that dream and then go about changing it into a reality.” Nidhi also emphasised the importance of community and network and being part of the conversation: “we can do a lot better in terms of D&I; we need to do a lot better; and to do that we need to involve more people of every background in the conversation.”

Next week in the IWD: Inspirational Women in Life Sciences Series 

This series will feature one inspirational woman working in the life sciences sector each week from Wednesday 13 March and run for the next two months. 

Please tune in for next week’s feature.


[1] Ortiz-Martínez, G., Vázquez-Villegas, P., Ruiz-Cantisani, M.I. et al. Analysis of the retention of women in higher education STEM programs. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 10, 101 (2023).

we can do a lot better in terms of D&I; we need to do a lot better; and to do that we need to involve more people of every background in the conversation.