Why we’ve partnered with Women in data…

Novo Nordisk fundamentally believes that diversity and inclusion can provide a broader range of perspectives leading to more innovative solutions and strategies. We have partnered with Women in Data to accelerate diversity and inclusion within our organisation. This partnership will provide opportunities for women in our workplace to network, collaborate and share experiences with other women in the data science field, leading to mentorship and career growth opportunities.


Yalda Jamshidi
Director Genetics, Trials and Precision Medicine
Alice Carter
Senior Genetics Scientist
Zahra McVey
Prevention Product Creator

How Novo Nordisk see the data landscape changing in the UK in the next 5 years

The adoption of data analytics and AI (Artificial Intelligence) technologies is expected to continue growing across industries, as businesses seek to leverage data-driven insights for decision making and process optimisation. As a company with the ambition to solve scientific questions to accelerate drug discovery and development, we have recently established a Digital Science and Innovation hub with the objective to accelerate the innovative use of data, automation, and computational technologies.

Within the UK, there are a growing number of open data initiatives, making public datasets more accessible. We can leverage these using cutting edge data science, machine learning and human centric techniques to unlock a deeper understanding of disease and treatment outcomes.

Over the next five years, we see advances in AI and machine learning enabling us to apply an “in-silico first mind-set”. We believe this will accelerate drug discovery, generation of novel hypotheses and maximise the predictive value of our data and experiments.

about Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat serious chronic diseases, built upon our heritage in diabetes. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines, and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 61,400 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries.

BSc  – Human Genetics, University College London

PhD – Cardiovascular Genetics, University College London

Social Media Details: Yalda Jamshidi | LinkedIn

I joined Novo Nordisk in January 2023 as Director for Precision Medicine in the Genetics Centre of Excellence. Prior to this, I served as the Head of the Genetics Department at St George’s University of London, playing a pivotal role in advancing genetic research and fostering a collaborative, inclusive environment for scientific inquiry. Research in the department was focused on harnessing the power of genetic insights to drive breakthroughs in both rare and common disease understanding. During this time, I developed a strong appreciation for how knowledge of the underlying genetic cause of diseases is important for science, but paramount for individuals, particularly those affected by genetic conditions, as it not only provides clarity and empowerment but also paves the way for personalized treatments and informed healthcare decisions tailored to their unique genetic makeup.

At Novo Nordisk I lead an interdisciplinary team using genetic data to understand disease risk factors across diverse ancestries, to identify optimal patient subgroups for targeted treatments, to assess the impact of genetic variations on drug response and leveraging insights to optimize clinical trial design. I believe that diversity within the team, encompassing varied expertise and perspectives, is essential for driving innovative solutions, understanding diverse patient needs, and fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment.

My goal is to continue championing inclusivity and leveraging genetic data to propel healthcare innovation, aligning with Novo Nordisk’s mission to deliver innovative biological medicines to defeat diabetes, obesity, and rare blood and endocrine diseases, and making them accessible to patients worldwide.

Expertise: Statistical analysis of “big data”, Electronic health records analysis, population genetic data, causal inference, bias in data

Education: BSc Cell Biology, MSc Epidemiology, PhD Epidemiology

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alice-carter-20b06aa2/

Uncertain about my career path in my undergraduate degree, I discovered that I had a natural talent for understanding how diseases spread, who got different diseases and how to use statistics to study them. This interest led me to pursue a master’s degree in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and later a PhD and postdoc position at the University of Bristol, where I researched the causes and consequences of inequalities in heart disease.

My work focused on understanding how different social factors, such as income and ethnicity, affect people’s risk of developing heart disease. I also discovered that women and men can have different risk factors and experiences with heart disease, challenging the assumption that we are all the same.

To answer these questions, I worked with a method called Mendelian randomization, which uses genetic variants to proxy an exposure of interest and calculate a somewhat unbiased estimate of its effect on an outcome. Going on to establish myself as an expert in developing new applications of the method.

In January 2023, I joined Novo Nordisk as a Senior Scientist in the Human Genetics Centre of Excellence. In this role, I apply my expertise in health data science and genetics to use Mendelian randomization to understand how different groups of people might respond to treatments and how we can create more effective therapies by considering genetic differences.

I believe that using data from diverse human populations is crucial for developing new drugs, especially as historical reliance on animal models doesn’t always reflect how humans will respond. By recognizing and exploring the diversity in our data, we can create better treatments for all patients.

Education: BSc Biochemistry, MRes Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, PhD Medical Sciences

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/zahra-mcvey-7a519174

I joined Novo Nordisk in 2018 working in a Data Science team based in Development in Denmark. Here I used real-world data, such as electronic health records, to study people living with serious chronic disease, and their health trajectories. I then transitioned to working in Computational Biology in Research & Early Development (R&ED) in Oxford. In this role, I focussed both on early drug discovery and coordinated activities using human cohort data and machine learning to model the patient journey.

I have a focus on the use of multi-modal human data for both precision health and disease prevention, having been a core member of a Preventative Precision Healthcare initiative in R&ED. I am currently working in the Transformational Prevention Unit, where we have the mission to prevent obesity and its consequences. My focus in this team is the development of predictive models for obesity and cardiometabolic disease, to identify individuals at high risk and pre-empt disease development and progression.

Additionally, I am passionate about communicating science across diverse audiences and worked for one-year as a Science Communication Partner supporting the Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of R&ED.

I have a cross-disciplinary background, with a BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London. I have also worked as a wet-lab researcher during my PhD at the University of Oxford, where I characterised haematopoietic stem cells and their dysregulation in acute myeloid leukaemia.


I had an interest in ‘tech’ and ‘music’ from an early age, spending my teenage years coding on my Spectrum ZX+ and playing piano. My A levels were in Maths, Computing & Music, resulting in a choice between following a music degree or IT. So I have the ZX Spectrum to blame for not becoming the next Jamie Cullen or Jools Holland.

Throughout my career I’ve always had a passion for the human side of data – how to use it to be more personalised, relevant, valuable. My early career was focussed on customer focussed solutions around CRM, contact centres, business process transformation and programme delivery. I have thoroughly enjoyed roles in business & enterprise architecture and most recently specialising in data & analytics and cloud technologies. I often refer to myself as a ‘realist visionary’ – curious, with a solution mindset, able to see the bigger picture but realisitic about what is achievable, deliverable and will deliver value for stakeholders and customers.

I embarked on my career accepting it was a male-dominated industry recognising I would have to battle the gender bias and push against the status quo. Looking back, I have been lucky to have male allies who believed in me, challenged me and elevated my confidence to support me to become a strong female leader.

I am passionate about building a diverse team and very proud of the diversity across the teams I lead. I have been a supportive coach and mentor to many women in my network and team, helping to sculpt their careers with praise, curiosity and encouragement. I believe it is incredibly important for women to be authentic, to uplift each other, focus on delivering value rather than fitting in and constantly pushing the status quo.

My current role is Data Platform Director responsible for cloud enablement of data for International divisions, including Boots UK & Ireland and No7 Beauty Company and International Retail businesses. As a pharmacy, optician, retailer and brand business, Walgreens Boots Alliance has a complex set of data siloed across teams and geographies. I am proud of the role I play to turn a treasure-trove of data into a joined-up experience with the customer at its centre to improve their wellbeing, for life.

I am extremely proud of the recognition myself and my team have recently received: Top 20 women in Data  & Tech 2023, 2022 ‘IT Team of the Year’ at the UK IT Industry Awards (British Computer Society), 2022 Winner of British Data Awards.

Outside of work, I’m a co-parenting mum, love getting to the coast and walking in the mountains and long distance paddleboarding and live by the motto ‘Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all’.


I fell in love with analytics as a logical and inquisitive thinker. I’m 5 years into my career and Boots has given me an abundance of opportunity to learn, get the experience and understanding to do what I really love and build a career in the data space. What excites me is that the answers are out there in data, we just have to find them, and they can lead to the very best outcomes for everyone involved.

My background is Business and Finance; not hugely ‘techy’, with my degree from De Montfort University. I’ve worked across marketing, operations, ecommerce and pharmacy, starting off my working life at Pfizer. One thing that always stopped me from jumping straight into a purely analytical role was doubt in my technical abilities/background, but Boots hugely encouraged me when I expressed interest in data and have supported me throughout my development. I’ve spent several months in the Digital Analytics team developing my technical skills and utilising my soft skills to step up and support the team through a period of change. It was great that I got to take the opportunity to lead, and I now manage a team of analysts.

From my own experience, I desire to encourage those who look at a job description and think they don’t hit every requirement, to go for it anyway. There’s lots you can bring to a role, the first step is to put your hat in the ring. The thing I have found most rewarding is always volunteering when opportunities arise. I have mentored and have several mentors, and get a great deal from both and would encourage everyone to reach out to both be a mentee and a mentor.

Outside of work, early this year you would have found me running (a bit too much) for the London Marathon. Now you’ll find me spending my time with friends, family, travelling to new places and hitting my next challenge: a data analytics apprenticeship with Boots to get more technical skills under my belt.

My career has been dominated by the fact that ‘Data powers everything we do!’

I have worked in various different industries including retail, finance, education and in most of them it was at the time (years ago) when the companies were on their journey of adopting their mindset to data centric strategies and driving towards data first approach.

Having worked in multiple different roles from data analyst, BI consultant to Platform Lead , I dealt with a variety of data challenges and its ever changing landscape and toolsets to deliver business value and shape & present data that tells a story helping make data centric decisions.

Currently, I’m working as a DevOPs Platform Manager leading the team of Devops and platform engineers looking after the data platform ensuring the data flows through in a controlled and secured manner.

I am very analytical & logical thinker which I apply at work and in my leadership style hence career in data was naturally more interesting for me. I was fortunate to have great mentors during my career and I plan to continue helping others on their journey and be a role model at workplace and hopefully to my daughter

I strongly believe in the women’s potential and how we at every opportunity excel in what we do and make it better for future generations. I am passionate about diversity and believe this is what makes world and work a better place.

Outside work, I am a STEM ambassador and as a member of code club and Code first Girls I have conducted multiple session in different schools introducing the world of computer science and coding and encouraging girls to join tech careers.

I love hiking & trekking and love going for walks with my dog. Also when I get a chance I go for women Tennis socials.

Before joining Boots I’ve worked with CapitalOne , University of Nottingham, Money Super Market, Dominos and Dunelm.