STEM Sister Feature: Alexis Roberts-McIntosh, Ph.D.

Feb 5 2020

Alexis Roberts-McIntosh has always loved to Explore. Ask questions. Solve problems. Discover the unknown.

It’s no surprise. It’s in her blood.

Alexis grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, the youngest of three daughters. She was named after her father, Alexander – a draftsman (mapmaker).

“I remember seeing a kaleidoscope for the first time, and thinking I need to figure out how this works from the inside out,” says Alexis. “As far back as I can remember, I was always curious about everything, and was on a constant mission to learn & apply as much as I could.”

Her parents divorced when Alexis was young. Her mom often worked long hours and lots of overtime to provide for her three daughters, setting an example for them as young girls, that when you work hard, you can achieve anything, you put your mind to.

Growing up in in the hills around Glasgow, Alexis recalls playing with friends on the hillside and stopping to dissect and analyze flowers and plants she’d come across. “I was always asking questions,” says Alexis. “Almost to a point of annoyance for the people I was with. But I couldn’t help myself, I was interested in learning how everything worked.”

She found a love for chemistry, thanks to her chemistry teacher Mr. McClurk. He wasn’t your average chemistry teacher; Mr McClurk taught his students that curiosity, plus chemistry led to creativity. And Alexis was sold.

The first in her family to attend university, Alexis worked side jobs to put herself through an honors chemistry undergraduate program at Glasgow University. When she graduated, she headed up north to St. Andrews University which is where she met her husband Charlie, whom by no surprise, is a chemistry professor

“Alexis has an enquiring mindset, always curious about why something happens, and seeking to understand and explain, which is what attracted me to her,” says her husband Charlie. “I share the same passion.”

Alexis received her Ph.D. from St. Andrews University with a thesis medicinal chemistry, hypertension and bilirubin chemistry. She started her career in the health care industry right out of university developing diagnostic tests for jaundice.

Her never-ending curiosity has led her to where she is today. Alexis joined Abbott at the end of 2018, but has spent over two decades transforming research and development in the health care industry. As the leader of the innovation and development team in Abbott’s medicines business, Alexis, and her team are responsible for bringing the benefits of trusted medicines to much broader populations in emerging markets.

“Over the years Alexis has brought many products to the marketplace that have made and continue to make peoples’ lives better. She has developed fellow staff to maximize their potential and their role within the industry. She has always sought to improve processes and products, never content to rest on her laurels, but always looking forward to the next challenge,” says her husband Charlie.

Charlie and Alexis live in Basel, Switzerland. In their free time they like to travel the world, exploring the unknown and crossing things off their bucket-list.

With a team of hundreds of highly-talented scientist and engineers, she is making a positive impact. Not only to empower females working in her field, but also by providing life-changing technology to the people who need it most.

“We are literally working to change the lives of people in emerging markets,” said Alexis. “You can never underestimate the changes you are making when you see how your work, firsthand, is helping people live, healthier fuller lives.” 


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