Dr Joy Kavanagh
Diagnostic Programme Manager
Describe your role at Sonrai
I lead the clinical diagnostic program. The program is comprised at present of three CE-IVD development projects. I am responsible for the management of the program and for ensuring the resulting products are in line with the executive leadership strategy.
I work closely with our technical teams, QRA manager, clinical collaborators and scientific advisory board to ensure our medical device products will meet the needs of the end users, their patients and the commercial market.
I also advise on biomarker validation and assay development for our commercial client projects, leveraging my prior experience to support our clients to achieve their goals.
What is something people in your industry/niche have to deal with that you want to fix?
Inequities in access to diagnostic testing and medical treatment are one of the greatest tragedies in this age of scientific advancement. By creating innovative, high-performing solutions that lower the cost of diagnostic test development and clinical use, we can help ease the burden on healthcare providers and break down barriers to access enabling more people to benefit from precision therapies.
What excites you about your role at Sonrai?
As a small business, it is often necessary for team members to go beyond the traditional scope of their role in order to meet the needs of the project. That means every day is different and there are abundant opportunities to learn and develop. The team of experts at Sonrai make that really easy by providing a very open collaborative environment where you feel supported to do something new.
What did you do before joining Sonrai?
I have worked in molecular biology/cancer research for 14 years, and made the switch from academia to industry 8 years ago. Prior to joining Sonrai in 2021, I was a programme manager at Almac managing a team of project managers and a portfolio of biopharma client programs. Through that role I honed my project and people management skills, and gained significant experience of IVD product development, working with clients on drug-CDx co-development strategies and successfully delivering multiple IVDs through development, FDA IDE approval and testing in global clinical trials. I loved getting to know my colleagues and
clients, building strong relationships with them and working together for the success of our projects.
What makes working at Sonrai different to places you’ve worked before?
Sonrai sits in a nice middle ground between the academic research world and that of the science and technology giants. We have the people and processes necessary for creation of quality products that comply with the appropriate standards, but because of the size and highly innovative nature of the company we are able to be very dynamic and efficient, achieving more with less time and resources. I feel that I can be more impactful in my role at Sonrai than in previous roles because staff leadership is encouraged by the senior management meaning we can drive new initiatives forward without being held back by bureaucracy or hierarchy.
What are the values that drive you?
I believe that every action we take has the potential to help someone or improve something, for the people around us, for patients, for our clients or for our business, and love that in Sonrai I am empowered to do just that. This goes hand in hand with my love for learning. I like to be in an environment where I can constantly learn and enjoy fostering this kind of environment for others. I try to create development opportunities for our teams that nurture growth both within the company and for whatever comes next in their career and in their lives.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I spend most of my free time with my family, out on an adventure for the day or helping my two young children with something creative. I love watching how their personalities are developing and am so proud of the caring and creative little people they are becoming. I train at a CrossFit gym 4-5 days a week and love the community spirit and holistic approach to health and longevity that CrossFit promotes.