Sue Connor

Dr. Sue Connor, PhD, CChem


An expert in Multivariate Analyses, Design of Experiments and Omics technologies

What Sue offers our clients…

Sue offers skills in multivariate statistics, Design of Experiments and basic statistics, as seen from the scientist’s viewpoint. In particular she offers a bridge between the “nuts and bolts” of the statistics methods and their application to scientific problems. She enjoys problem solving, finding ways to look at new data, and following through with data visualisation and analysis. She has applied these skills to a wide range of applications, particularly for pharmaceutical companies, ranging from early discovery through development to clinical trials, the latter particularly involving ‘Omics technologies.

Sue also has a very strong interest in education and has been involved in helping bring science topics to children and adults from early primary school age, through KS3-5 secondary school, and to higher education through BSc and PhD students. Through her research interests at various universities she has supervised many PhD students and examined several vivas. She brings these skills in education (which include NQT and QTS qualifications) to the delivery of many of our training courses, and enjoys conveying the relevant concepts to people unfamiliar with statistics. She particularly enjoys seeing the “light bulb moment” when delegates grasp difficult concepts and continually applying assessment for learning to confirm that all participants keep up with the content.

What Sue offers Prism…

Sue is one of our consultants in scientific problem-solving and training. With a PhD in Chemistry and 30 years of experience first in a large pharmaceutical company and later in academia, she is ideally placed to provide the expertise required to contribute to project work and deliver training courses. Her more recent project work has particularly centred on experimental design and chemometric analysis of spectroscopy, chromatography and ‘omics data. Her contribution to training is mostly in delivery of basic and multivariate statistics courses (e.g. our Multivariate Analysis - Level 1 workshop), experimental design including the basic factorial and response surface designs (eg. our 2-day Effective DoE Implementation course) and mixtures (e.g. our Mixture Designs training).

Sue’s experience…

Sue obtained a BSc in Medicinal Chemistry from UCL in the mid-1980s. The course content included chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology and drug design, providing her with a broad skill-base. She then completed a PhD in Chemistry from the University of London; focusing both on NMR spectroscopy method development and its application to the metabolism of NSAIDs and antibiotics.

Sue then joined Beechams Pharmaceuticals in 1989 as an analytical chemist. She subsequently remained within the company whilst it merged to form SB, and then GSK, over the next two decades, reporting variously into UK and US departments. During this period, Sue initially worked as an analytical chemistry specialist advising discovery and development chemists and biologists whilst also solving structure elucidation-specific problems. Within a few years she developed her interest in biomarker discovery, becoming involved in ‘omics technologies, particularly metabolomics, from its inception in the mid to late 1980s. Through this period she was heavily involved with - and in several cases managed - research programs within pharma and academia centred on improving metabolomics technologies. These applications required an increasing knowledge of different subject areas including statistics, spectroscopy, chromatography and biochemical pathway mapping within several therapeutic areas.

In 2008 Sue then decided to pursue a specific application area at Cambridge University, building on earlier metabolomic work; during this time she started her collaboration with us. In 2012 Sue also took time out to complete teaching qualifications and has continued to work with Prism since then.

What Sue enjoys most about working with Prism…

  • Finding solutions to new problems – project work is always varied and never boring!
  • Training scientists in the use of different statistical tools, making the statistics accessible to non-statisticians and particularly seeing clients develop a new understanding of the methods
  • Working with other Prism colleagues – enabling me to continually improve my skills and they are a nice group!!
  • Meeting new clients who often bring a new perspective.

If Sue could give one piece of advice to all potential clients, it would be…

Don’t panic, there is usually a solution! Be open to new methods and don’t be put off by the jargon of a different subject area

Sue’s first rule of consultancy is…

Look for simple, pragmatic solutions first that the client will find the most accessible.

How Sue relaxes outside of work…

Sue’s main focus outside work is the family, enjoying spending time with her husband and two sons. She also loves music, playing the flute for many years, and has finally managed to get her youngest son interested in playing duets with her! She also enjoys reading and watching thrillers, and cooking, although is not convinced that the rest of the family enjoy the products of the latter.

Sue is proficient using various software packages, including:

See what Sue has been up to...