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Cortex - Life Sciences Insights

| 1 minute read

Inspirational Woman in Life Sciences: Diana Diamond

This week’s featured Inspirational Woman in Life Sciences is Diana Diamond, Senior Manager, Legal Counsel at ICON plc; an Irish headquartered Clinical Research Organisation (CRO) focused on innovating clinical operations. She is joined by Claire O’Brien, Senior Associate in the Dublin IPT team specialising in Technology and Data Protection, with a particular interest in AI. 

As is the case for many, Diana cited COVID-19 as a key challenge she faced in her career:

We worked on 130 COVID vaccine trials, including the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trial – the fastest clinical trial that has ever taken place. There were 44,000 patients worldwide, and we were under enormous pressure to get the world moving again.” “A key challenge was how do we monitor remotely? How do we keep our people safe while ensuring the trials go ahead?”

When asked her favourite thing about her job, Diana responded:

“It’s the people - I get to work with an amazing multi-disciplinary team: amazing doctors, data scientists, scientists, compliance, data protection, and IT experts”

Diana described AI as the development she is most looking forward to in the next 5-10 years, commenting on how it will, and already is reshaping everything from drug invention/design to clinical trials stages. 

In the average phase 3 study there’s approximately 3.5 million data points. Data is like oil: it’s valuable and useful but it has to be refined” 

She also highlighted the potential risks of AI, the need for quality checking and for use of AI in a coherent, transparent and human-centric manner. 

If the AI is only trained on images of moles on white skin, how well is it going to identify changes to moles on black skin?” 

Diana’s advice to women and girls thinking of pursuing a career in the life sciences sector?

Go for it. It’s a wonderful industry. It’s ground-breaking, it’s challenging…and it’s about to get a lot more interesting with the development and incorporation of AI.”

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

This series will feature an inspirational woman working in the life sciences sector each week during March and April. Please tune in for next week’s feature.