Science is the tool that has let us change the world

Science is the tool that has let us change the world

How did you end in the field you are working in?

It kind of just happened. When you chose the bachelor at 18 you have no idea, you kind of hear what others who are older said but you don’t really understand what it means and they try to sell all the bachelors, specially the scientific ones, they idealize them too much. So between that, not knowing,  and that I enjoyed sciences during high school, made me decide  to do biotechnology.

I enjoyed the bachelor, although I might not chose this one if I had the chance to choose again. And the good thing about biotechnology is that you can go to different fields with the same degree. But to get to where I am right now

What was it that you liked about science?

You saw that it had a base, that you could prove it, it does have suppositions but when you start  they tell you that the scientific method is solid and all the different steps it needs for it. With science you can  also make big changes the discoveries that are being made in all the different fields are constantly changing our world.

When I was small I was always interested in how this was more practical, I found it as a better tool to change the world and improve it than arts and humanities or economy.

Science is the tool that has let us change the world

But then you also notice that it isn’t as foolproof or as exact as they tell you. But it is still really practical.

I see that you have a focus on changing the world?

Well changing the world is something that only top researchers can achieve, but we can also make smaller changes that affect our surroundings, and how we increase knowledge with basic science that builds up.

Was there a discovery that moved you towards this path?

Not really, I just saw that sciences, physics, maths medicine, robotics were the parts that were actually inducing a change. I also liked the image of scientists that they portrayed in movies. How they were always working and how they were happy and fulfilled as they made their discoveries.

But then you see that you can work a lot and in the end see that you get nothing or that you can get the opposite result depending on the time, with that you learn that science is something that you should do when you have a passion for it, because it’s really hard and you won’t manage if you don’t have passion.

Science wasn’t the way I expected it to be, people are too focused on publishing, and they is too much competition around publishing to get funding. The focus goes way more towards:

Well we managed to do this so we can publish and get more funding, and maybe what they are publishing actually makes no sense or it has no practical use.

When I noticed this I decided to leave research, because I saw that it wasn’t my passion and to investigate and not enjoy it because they almost don’t pay you, it’s really hard, you don’t know if you will get something, all this makes it so didn’t want to pursue that path, it wasn’t worth it to be burned out because of that.

My experience in research showed me that many times they try to sell you things as if they were way better than they really are.

How was the experience of the bachelor?

During the bachelor they only give you information about careers in science, and it was only during my last year of bachelor that I had a subject where they told me about the business side. While you are inside you don’t see all the possibilities and it is only once you are out that you start seeing all the options.

I tried research and I saw that it wasn’t for me and so I started to look into Pharma industry and I liked how it had enough positions, and a high salary and it is one of the few industries that will continue to grow no matter the situation because health will always be our priority.

Now I am working in monitoring of clinical trials.

Rather than say that I wanted to work on this since I was young, it was more something that I started discovering as I was building my path. Of course it depends on the opportunities you get and how you use them. My master’s degree was to go for industry and work in a company, but I ended up working in a hospital because they had a position open, and now I am working  there and I enjoy it.

What I am doing now is still related to science but instead of bench-work now I am working more on the management aspect.

How did you find your current position?

I saw that I wanted to go to the Pharma industry and seeing the different positions you can find in it and seeing the characteristics of each one I decided to with monitoring of clinical trials.

Because it still gave me a chance to work close to research, to participate in clinical trials and still be part of clinical research, and all the people I asked were quite happy with the position and after doing the master I found the position at the hospital.

Now I go to the hospitals where they are doing the clinical trials and I make sure that they are following all the rules they are supposed to follow, all the protocols, respect the rights of the patients.

If for example they are doing a clinical study where they say that the drug has to be given 3 times to the patient, do x trials and measure some parameters. My job is to make sure that they are doing it well, that the data is being handled well, that the patient knows that he is participating in the trial and understands it, that they weren’t pressured into participating.

I started as monitoring of these trials and now I work managing the trials of the department of cardiology and the one for infectious diseases. I enjoy it more now, because I am part of the research and I have more contact with the patients. Now I am part of the last step of the research before commercializing a drug.

The process of getting a new drug takes years and it starts by trying different drugs, and seeing if they have an effect or using drugs that were for something else and see if they have an effect on what you want to treat. Once you find one that works in cultures, then you start animal trials to see if they are safe and still work and the last step is the trial with patients.

I consider that I am part of the last step of research for new drugs, which is the step closest to have an impact on patients and society. I like how whilst in lab research you never know if what you are doing will have an effect in society and even if it has it will take years, here you are just at the last step and you can actually see how you are benefiting patients.

Of course I know that Pharma industry tries to obtain the highest profit and that they move millions, and there might be things they aren’t too proud of, but I try not to think about it and see it as putting my grain of salt to research and improving the lives of patients.

Even academic research has this aspect of trying to go for profit and there are a lot of people that are underpaid and have to work extremely long shifts with almost no reward. In the end you need money if you want to survive and money moves everything.

Which would you say is your biggest struggle right now?

It is a field where you have to continue learning constantly, especially in Pharma not only about the science part but also about the law part, because everything is highly regulated and you have be really strict with the rules so that you can pass the (auditing). You always have to work towards learning more, doing more courses and developing new skills. In the future I would like to have a position with more responsibility in industry.

Short term I want to continue where I am currently working. This field is small and most people know each other, so I also want to keep my interactions well and network and know more people.

So I want to continue improving in my current position and learn more about the science with the new master I am doing on pharmacology. Once I finish the master and gain more experience I want to go for a position in industry to continue growing.

The challenge is to continue growing, improving and learning from all the positions you are in.

Where would you like to end?

Once I finish the master I might be able to tell you better, but for now the position I am interested in is one related to pharmacoeconomy, because I enjoy economics and see the impact of the new drugs on the health of the patient as well as on the healthcare system.

The resources are limited and we have to find the way to help the highest number of people with the resources we have. These studies try different drugs and see which one would be better for the economy, and for the health of the patients. The objective is to optimize the use of resources.

If for example you want to get out a new drug, if there is already one in the market that does the same but the one you produced is a little bit more expensive but it has a higher benefit, like people have to be admitted to the hospital less or others, then you have to see if that extra price will actually benefit you in the long run.

Because even if the healthcare system seems like it can take anything, the resources are finite and we have to make the most of them. I am interested in pharmacoeconomy, I read about it, but I still haven’t worked on it.

For now I like this, but if in three months I find another position that I am more interested in I might change views because I am quite adaptable and from any position I can something that I really enjoy. Especially now that we have just entered the job market, we can’t be that choosy and we have to get the positions that we have a chance to get, and among them the ones we like.

Which is your challenge at the personal level?

How to make the most of my free time, because now is when you can do the most. To meet with more friends or learn new things, to make the most of that time. Because there are times where I come from work and I don’t feel like doing something that I was interested in, and I want to be able to face those moments and make the most of them by doing what I am interested in doing before I lose my will.

Advice for someone who just finished highschool?

They should study the thing they are most interested in, but they don’t have any reason to be too stressed about it, because after the bachelor you can still get into other paths.

The positions are quite similar even if you have different bachelors, so, so long as you know that you want to work with science, or law or economy, even if you choose different bachelors within science you will still be able to apply to positions that aren’t exactly related to your bachelor.

Don’t worry too much about which path so long as you know you are interested in science any bachelor related to it will work for you.

Many times what you are interested in right now might not be what you are interested in the future, and you can actually still change your path.

You have a lot of years left, and it’s never too late.

Any advice for those who finished the bachelor?

You don’t really have to do a bachelor no matter what, you can try to work for 1 year to see how it is and only then chose a master. You don’t really have to do a master just after finishing a bachelor no matter what. It’s not wrong to go for a master, and I did it, but it’s not mandatory either. You should speak with people who have done other masters, because that is the only way to really know how they are, because any master’s webpage will try to sell it so you can’t completely believe them.

Is there any book, movie or series that changed you?

man running on street surrounded with building
Photo by Des Tan on Unsplash

Not really, most of the books I read were novels. Well there was a book I really liked, The invisible Frontier.

It was a book where the best climber spoke about his struggles as he found that with 22years he had already won all the prizes he could get. He speaks about how he recovered motivation after losing it, and how to enjoy the moment, to enjoy all the time to prepare and not only the win, because if you only enjoy the win if you lose you will be left only with frustration. You have to enjoy and learn from the whole process, if you are studying a bachelor and you don’t enjoy it, you will be suffering for 4 years for something that you might not enjoy, so learn to enjoy the moment. Once you achieve the objectives you had you should always try to find new ones to get out of your comfort zone

Killian Jorn

He runs ultramarathons

He also lost his friend, they were at a 1 meter distance the one from the other and suddenly there was a hole which took his friend. He started wondering about why it was his friend that died and not him, which was the difference and why it happened, about how to understand and accept that struggle.

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