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The Medial Science Liaison (MSL) role

Like many of you scientists, I like exploring new pathways, learning about new subset of cells that intricately work with other cells, and most of all I like to read and discuss the new cool science with my fellow scientists. When I was a postdoc, however, the latter – reading and talking about the science – was overwhelmed by doing the day-to-day experiments, finding money and working by yourself for hours on end behind a FACS machine in a dark place and feeling quite lonely (and bored). So that fun part of “doing” science was quickly eroding for me.

I then moved into a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) in the pharmaceutical industry. A role that ticked all the boxes for me on the science menu that I missed during my postdoc. A role with fierce competition that requires diligent preparation.

As an MSL you are the scientific and clinical disease and drug expert within the medical (affairs) department of a pharmaceutical or biotech company. You are the person within the company that anyone will go to first to get answers on complex questions. This could be about how the drug is designed; which pathway it targets; how the drug works – the mode of action (MOA); questions about the disease and the patient profiles; how to prevent or treat an adverse event or questions about clinical trials from your own (and the competitor) company. This requires you to keep-up-to-date on the latest literature so you will need to read quite some (clinical) papers.…

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Interview mit einem Qualitätsmanager

Interview mit Christoph Reiter (CR) CU Chemie Uetikon GmbH.

 

Von Sabrina Kreutz (SK)


SK: Schönen guten Abend Herr Reiter, vielen Dank das Sie sich für dieses
Telefoninterview Zeit nehmen.
CR: Sehr gerne und ich hoffe ich kann Ihnen bei manchen Fragen helfen.
SK: Sie arbeiten bei der CU Chemie Uetikon GmbH im Bereich Qualitätssicherung (QS), Was ist ihr persönlicher Background – Was haben Sie studiert?
CR: Ich bin promovierter Diplom-Chemiker und habe an der Universität Stuttgart studiert und an der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg promoviert, wobei ich den Jobeinstieg ohne Doktortitel gemacht habe. Ich habe zunächst gearbeitet und meinen Doktor nach dem Einstieg abgeschlossen. Ich habe mich also, wenn man es so sagen kann, nur als „Diplom-Chemiker“ beworben und nicht als promovierter Chemiker.
SK: Das heißt Ihr Berufseinstieg ist eher untypisch gewesen?
CR: Bei uns Chemikern ist es so üblich, dass 90% nach dem Diplom bzw. Master ihre Promotion anschließen. Das heißt also, wenn man es so nehmen möchte, habe ich keinen QS-Background, weshalb mein Einstieg in die Berufswelt eher untypisch war. Normalerweise ist es so, dass man in Forschung und Entwicklung einsteigt, vor allem, weil es durch das Studium und durch die anschließende Promotion nahe liegt. Das heißt, man forscht industriell und nicht akademisch, aber die Grundideen bleiben. In der Industrie haben sie Laboranten unter sich, wohingegen sie im Studium ihr eigener Forscher waren. Wenn Sie Laborleiter würden, hätten sie zwei bis fünf Mitarbeiter zur Betreuung unter sich. Sie selbst stehen dann weniger im Labor, sondern entwickeln die Ideen auf dem Papier und leiten diese an ihre Mitarbeiter weiter.…

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Research funding from industry

In a seminar that we provide for senior postdocs and group leaders, we talk about the topic of funding. After covering the usual suspects, I am asking whether the attendees have ever considered funding from industry. Fred, who is currently getting ready for his first professorship applications, shoots out a knee-jerk answer, „No, I can´t imagine being drafted to become the extended workbench of a corporation. If I wanted to do that, I’d rather work for them directly and earn more!“

That´s exactly the prejudice I intend to tackle during the seminar. „With every funding source you need to ask whether it fits to your research and whether you´re being exploited or supported,“ I reply. I then pause long enough to allow the attendees eyes to slowly move to Jane. She had reported a few minutes earlier that her scholarship foundation had recently dropped her like a hot potato when a competing group published results related to her industry-funded research topic. You can encounter tough conditions with every funding body, even non-profit foundations and associations. „You need to check with every funding source, regardless if it´s privately or publicly funded.“ The arguments that funding from industry is somewhat ‚dirty‘ and could damage your integrity as researcher are increasingly viewed as outdated. Securing funding is a crucial criterion for any job application in academia. As long as you do good research, it doesn´t matter where the money comes from. With a well-rounded portfolio of funding sources you can thus score major points during your application procedure.…

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„It’s only crazy until you do it.“

About working at a conservation NGO

Nirmal Jivan Shah is ‘the face’ and the CEO of the largest and oldest NGO for conservation in a place where other people make holidays; the Seychelles. We have been lucky to interview him about his career and his social media presence.

Dr. Nirmal Jivan Shah

How would you describe your role as the CEO of Nature Seychelles?

I’m not the typical CEO because I’m involved in so many things from the actual science and conservation, to finance, to communication, to development of innovation, to project writing and management, to personnel, and so forth as well as national level policy making. So, one has to have the wisdom of a sage, the understanding of a psychiatrist, the wizardry of a financier, the patience of a saint and the foresight of a prophet…haha.

Why conservation?

My profession is also my vocation. I think I am fortunate that I’ve been able to turn my hobby, which is nature and conservation, into a very successful job. I think the secret of life is to find that sweet spot where personal passion meets with what the world is looking for.

Can you give us an example of a project you are working on and what your role is in the project?

I have had many projects over the last 30 years, but let me describe the latest one.

I am working on the innovative and norm-breaking ‘Reef Rescuers project’. It is a coral reef restoration project in the Cousin Island Marine Protected Area.…

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