Meet Cordula, Scientist in Formulation R&D at Roche

Hi, my name is…

…Cordula, I am a scientist and lab head in Formulation R&D (Research and Development). I was born in Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland, and moved to Basel for my graduate studies in Pharmacy. While Ticino remained my preferred holiday destination, Basel definitely captured my heart in my early years as a student. After my Master’s degree, I pursued my PhD studies in Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmaceutics at the University of Basel, which opened the door for my current position in the technical development of small molecules formulations. I like spending my leisure time with my family and friends, and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking in summer, or alpine and cross-country skiing in winter.

My typical day at work is…

…highly varied, which makes it quite challenging to describe a “typical” day at work. As a scientist in formulation R&D, I support the development of oral dosage forms for the administration of new therapeutic molecules to patients. My work focuses on the characterisation and optimisation of the dosage form to ensure that molecules reach their site of action in the human body. The interaction between physicochemical properties of molecules and human physiology is something which I find very fascinating. My day-to-day tasks include planning and co-ordinating project activities and experiments in the lab, analysing and reporting results, and attending team meetings. I work in close collaboration with lab technicians and in cross-functional teams. Furthermore, I’m often involved in the supervision of pharmacy students working on a specific research project during their internship or Master’s thesis in our department. It’s really gratifying to introduce young colleagues to the work in pharmaceutical development, train and support them, and see how they evolve into young professionals.

The location I am working at is…

…Basel, Switzerland. Basel offers all the advantages of a larger town whilst providing a familiar and friendly environment. In particular, I like the many green areas all over the town, such as the nearby “Lange Erlen Park”, where I often go jogging over lunchtime together with my colleagues. There is a variety of events throughout the year, from swimming in the Rhine in summer to the nice Christmas markets in December. As a mountain enthusiast, I obviously like the excellent connection to the Swiss Alps.

My work helps Roche to …

…improve the final drug product to ensure that the molecule gets to the right place at the right time in the human body, so that patients get the most benefit out of a new therapy. Every molecule and formulation comes with its own properties and challenges, and every patient with a specific need. This makes the work in Formulation R&D incredibly interesting and motivates me every day to develop the best possible product for our patients.

Roche as an employer is…

…providing a truly people-focused working environment. I will never forget how impressed I was when I joined Roche and became aware of the passion and engagement in the work of each and every colleague. This is not only extremely motivating but also creates a collaborative and respectful environment which I truly appreciate. There are numerous career opportunities here allowing employees to follow their passion and achieve their development plans, and Roche is really supportive in broadening employees’ experience and education.

What advice would you give interns joining your department?

An internship is an invaluable experience which I highly recommend to students considering a career in the pharmaceutical industry. It provides professional experience, enables skills learned at university to be applied, and can often be combined with a Master’s or Diploma thesis. It is an excellent opportunity to grow your professional network as well. I recommend keeping an open mind and looking proactively for the many internship positions offered by the various functions. During an internship, my advice is to approach employees with various levels of experience and learn about their professional background and current function. This can provide valuable insights into the different career paths and inspire future career planning.

What's the best advice you ever received in your career, and from whom did you get it?

Be open and follow your passion! I received this simple piece of advice from a senior manager working for a large pharmaceutical company when I was a student trying to find my own career path and struggling in the face of all the potential roles for pharmaceutical scientists in the pharmaceutical industry. Now I’m really grateful to have the chance to work in an exciting field which offers me the chance to keep on learning and developing myself.

To find out more informations about internships at Roche click here.

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