Meet Magdalena, Clinical Research Fellow at Roche

Hi, my name is…

…Magdalena, and I come from the Czech Republic. After gaining my Master’s degree in Medicine, I joined the MD PhD programme in Hemato-oncology at the First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University (Prague). This programme enabled me to start working in research at the Laboratory of Experimental Hematology, where I focused on translational research in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Besides my research, I had the opportunity to take part in teaching medical students. At the same time, I began to work as a physician in the Department of Hematology at the General University Hospital in Prague. I am currently finishing my PhD studies and preparing for board certification in Hematology. To develop my career in hematology, I decided to apply for a position in the Hemato-oncology Clinical Research Fellowship Programme (CRFP). I was lucky enough to be accepted and joined the Product Development Oncology department at Roche in September 2016.

My typical day at work…

…as a Clinical Research Fellow largely depends on me. Together with my Roche colleagues, we work as a team of experts from different disciplines, with everybody contributing to address a scientific question. We are currently working on a project aimed at building a new prognostic model for people with a specific type of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. A large part of my daily work consists of data analysis, discussing results and studying the current state of scientific developments in the field. I’ve also been able to take part in other ongoing scientific projects, strategic meetings of scientific teams and educational activities organised by Roche.

The location I am working at is…

…Roche headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Basel is very close to the French and German borders, making it a multicultural city with advanced industry and lots of job opportunities. It also offers numerous possibilities for leisure activities, with its historical centre and gorgeous nature nearby. My office is in Roche Building 1, which is not only Switzerland’s tallest office building but is also remarkable for its architectural style and pleasant working environment. Having an afternoon coffee on the 38th floor of the building with wonderful views of the city is a real experience.

My work helps Roche to…

…understand the impact of clinical and biological factors on the prognosis of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphomas. I’m convinced that the results of our work can contribute to current knowledge and will hopefully lead to the establishment of a new prognostic model that could facilitate treatment decisions for physicians. We believe our efforts will result in better personalised healthcare.

Roche as an employer is…

…inspiring, due to its engagement and expertise in the field of clinical oncology, as well as its strong preclinical research and diagnostics. Roche thus covers all fields from early preclinical research up to late clinical trials, providing lots of possibilities for acquiring and sharing knowledge. What I also appreciate about Roche is the fact that they place emphasis on further education and career development, while also valuing employees’ personal life and overall satisfaction. For instance, Roche offers individualised working hours and possibilities to participate in sports activities or cultural experience programmes, which cannot be taken for granted in other organisations.

What distinguishes the science at Roche from your experience at university?

In my opinion, the most noticeable difference is the emphasis on teamwork here at Roche. Roche has at its disposal a vast array of researchers and experts with different scientific backgrounds, who work together to form a highly qualified interdisciplinary scientific group. At the university level, teams are smaller and collaboration is based on relationships developed personally rather than professionally – that means you sometimes have to be an expert in finding information from various fields on your own. The diversity of expertise at Roche means you’re able to focus more on the problem from your own angle. This makes you more productive, as you don’t waste time looking for things that are outside the scope of your expertise.

How has the CRFP programme helped your development?

Working at Roche has given me the opportunity to develop and lead my own scientific project, so this has improved my ability to work independently. At the same time, I’m learning new ways of working as part of a team, linking up with other people and incorporating their ideas into my work. New workflow methods, as practised at Roche, have greatly enriched my skill set.

As a graduate student coming from a scientific and academic environment, I’m also learning how a pharmaceutical company works. I now understand why it takes so long for a promising compound to progress from the laboratory stage through clinical trials all the way to the market.

Last but not least, I’m sure the CRFP programme will help me to engage in future partnerships with other scientific groups.

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