Sonia Patel works in Research Formulation at Pfizer's Sandwich, UK campus, where she develops tablets and capsules for clinical trials. Working at a pharmaceutical research company is not what Sonia envisioned after her chance attendance at a pharmacology conference altered her career trajectory many years ago. Rather, she thought she would work in a hospital or local pharmacy. But after completing her Masters in Pharmacy, she decided to join Pfizer in 2002. Sonia has always loved science. As a child, her favorite possessions included a chemistry set, microscope and "Operation" game. An accomplished student of math and science, Sonia completed a study program at a local hospital at age 16 and was even able to watch a heart transplant. Ultimately, she determined surgery was not her calling as she "didn't like all the blood." Today, Sonia's work is driven by her desire to improve the lives of patients. On her travels through India, she witnessed how Pfizer medicines like Maraviroc had a profoundly uplifting affect on Indian villages ravaged by HIV. In the future, Sonia hope to have the opportunity to do hands-on work in such a community. Outside the lab, Sonia's passions include art, photography, cycling and fitness. If she was not an industrial pharmacist, she says, she'd want to be a rock star.
Question: What was your first memorable experiment?
Sonia Patel: So one of the strongest memories I have of really getting my hands on, in terms of science, and I think as a child, or even as a student, it’s all about hands on experiences and for me it was when we first dissected a pigs heart. It was so fascinating to do something like that, and I know it’s gory and quite intense in that sense. But that’s when I had a real appreciation of that, science is part of ourselves and every aspect of our life in our world. And just having that kind of hands of experience and really getting down and dirty was fantastic.
Recorded on: July 14, 2008