Did you know that before Cleo began her career as a Clinical Research Associate (CRA), she was a yoga teacher? She exclaims, ‘I love yoga, I have practised yoga for most of my life and I am a qualified yoga teacher. I spent 3 months in Hawaii to do further training and I continued to teach for several years afterwards.’ However, Cleo explains she stopped teaching two years ago to focus purely on her career in clinical trials.
With a Bachelor of Science, Cleo’s first role in the field was at the Bronowski Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience, working on clinical projects associated with Parkinson’s Disease. However, four years ago, she joined Neuroscience Trials Australia and has gone from strength to strength. At Neurotrials, Cleo says she has had the opportunity to work in many more neuroscience disease indications. ‘I have now worked in clinical trials associated with Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Motor Neuron Disease, Epilepsy, Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s been rewarding to work across so many fields.’
Cleo describes being a CRA as a gratifying challenge – ‘your skill set needs to be extensive. On any given day you do so many things. They can range from visiting investigator sites, preparing and reviewing governance or ethic submissions, tracking recruitment as well as expenditure of trial budgets. This is not to mention all the project management that is associated with running any clinical trial.’
What is the greatest challenge as a CRA? Cleo explains that for her, it is sometimes the challenges associated with competing timelines and concurrent demands from simultaneous projects. ‘There is so much running in parallel – you need to ensure you have all the processes and procedures in place to make sure the projects run smoothly. Being detailed and organised is key!’
What is your greatest achievement to date? Cleo declares, ‘being the lead CRA on complex trials from start to finish. Facilitating ethics and governance submissions in Australia and New Zealand for multiple sites and successfully initiating them with extremely tight timelines – it was a fantastically challenging experience.’
What is Cleo’s goal next? ‘I really love being in the clinical research space, in particular, I enjoy the trial start-up phase – I’m aspiring to continue onto a more project management role in this area. ’
On a personal note, Cleo tells us she loves to travel. ‘One of my favourite places to visit is the Greek islands, not surprising since I have Greek ancestry. I love the history, culture as well as its incredible, unfiltered beauty!’