The World Of Science

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Shelley Ann des Etages immigrated to the United States in 1986 and received her B.Sc. in Biology from Pace University and a Ph.D. at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Now a Senior Principal Scientist at Pfizer's Global Research & Development headquarters in Groton, Connecticut, Dr. des Etages seeks to understand the mechanisms of disease and cellular processes, using molecular and cellular biology. This allows her to assist in the identification of potential drug targets and biomarkers that help validate the effectiveness of new drug candidates in treating disease.

Outside of the laboratory, she regularly participates in educational outreach in the local schools through Career Day, tutoring, science demonstrations and Junior Achievement programs. Dr. des Etages is also a supporter of Writers Block Ink, an organization that helps instill drive in young people through creative pursuits. Additionally, she enjoys photography, painting, and gardening, and even plays a little piano.
  • Transcript


Question: What skills contribute to your scientific process?

Shelley des Etages: I think that I work well with others.  I'm one of five siblings, and I'm one of a generation of 28 cousins.  And I'm the eldest girl in that generation of 28 cousins, so when it comes to pulling folks together and working well together with a vast array of personalities, backgrounds, experiences, that's something I draw on and I bring to work as a skill.  When we're sitting down with a team and we've got the statistician.  We've got the computational biologist.  We've got the chemist.  We've got the TA biologist who specializes in a disease area.  We've got the folks who specialize in looking at how the body processes drugs.  It's an array of different backgrounds, and to be able to work with that group and ask, "What are the key important things we need to know from your expertise and your perspective?  And can we really communicate clearly to each other what are the important factors and why we need to take different aspects and ideas into account and then come together to have this one product, this experiment, these pearls that we bring together and say, "Okay, we're going to test this, get an answer.  Based on that answer, Ivy can do this.  Sue can do that.  Becky can do this.  Tom can do that."  And we can all move forward.

Recorded on: 06/25/2008