Name, Job title, and Company
Mari Heghinian, Manager of Program Development at Biorasi, LLC.
Describe your job and what you do on a day-to-day basis.
I work for a contract research organization (CRO) that provides services in designing and executing clinical research trials for pharmaceutical companies. The clinical research field has shifted in the last 15 to 20 years from pharmaceutical companies, especially the large ones, running their own clinical studies to contracting out the work to CROs, who plan, manage, and execute the studies with input and oversight from the pharmaceutical company. I am in business development and responsible for managing requests for proposals and execution of clinical studies. On a day-to-day basis, I am juggling a number of different activities including interacting with pharmaceutical companies to assist with their study designs and program goals, speaking to doctors/specialists about diseases and standards of care, and researching regulatory requirements.
How did you get your first job out of academia?
I got my first job out of academia through networking. As I was defending my PhD thesis, I started mentioning to everyone I knew that I was looking for a job and wanted to transition to industry. A friend knew someone who was looking for a scientist to fill the position of junior scientist in the preclinical division of their startup pharmaceutical company.
What is your favorite part of your current job?
My favorite part of my current job is the constant opportunities to learning something new. Every new study that comes across my desk may or may not be in a field that I am familiar with and the disease, study design, or countries the study will be run in is always something new. There is always something to research and this keeps it interesting.
What are the unique challenges of this line of work?
The unique challenge of this line of work is tied to my favorite part. I need to become an expert on a given field in potentially a very short period of time. In my PhD I had plenty of time to become an expert in my field, so this rush for knowledge can be stressful, however it is also what keeps it fun.
Tell us about your academic background
I received my undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Purdue University and did undergraduate research on Alzheimer’s disease. I received my PhD from Florida Atlantic University in chemical and neurological characterization of marine peptide toxins.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone looking for a job now?
Never underestimate the power of networking. Talk to as many people as you can and broadcast that you are looking for a job. You never know who may know someone who is looking for a candidate just like you.
Learn more about Mari Heghinian here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mari-heghinian-2328a479