06Jun

In an industry with many roles, seek out the one you love, the one where your passion lies.

That’s good job advice for all seasons and all professions, but in this it refers to finding your niche in clinical research.

It’s among a wealth of career advice from industry veterans, published in two parts this month on the ACRP’s Clinical Researcher site. These professionals describe their own career journey, offering up anecdotes and advice for both those new to the field and those looking to take the next rung on the ladder.

In part one, trustees and Fellows of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals share such career counsel as saying “YES! Yes to every opportunity afforded you. The more experience gained, the more useful it will be in your future.”

Sergio Armani, vice president for business development, North America, with Advarra and a trustee of the Academy of Clinical Research Professionals, echoes that advice. He entered the field after 22 years in financial services, so, he said, he had to “keep an open mind, raise my hand to volunteer for as many assignments as I could handle and be willing to learn as much as I can.”

Similarly, Elisa Cascade, MBA, executive vice president with ERT and an academy trustee, advised, “When an opportunity to work on a special assignment arises, take it. In addition to expanding your skill set you will gain visibility to a broader network of people, which in turn may open the door to new career options.”

Part two participants answered a call for veterans to provide career advice, with several describing their own experience explaining honestly and in detail how they came to the job they now have.

Laura Menck admits falling into clinical research, beginning as a back office medical assistant at a practice that did studies to today holding the position of senior manager of clinical operations at Philips.

“Twenty years in and I could not be more proud and happy that I found such a rewarding career!” she says, before providing a series of bullet-pointed suggestions for those looking to enter the field, move between roles or advance in their chosen niche.

Learn about various roles, earn an advanced degree and network, she says. And like the thought leaders in part one, she adds, “Take on stretch goals and assignments.

“Ask your manager if he or she has some task they have just not gotten to yet that you can help with. Yes, you are probably already drowning in your own work, but if you can make time, this can give you an opportunity to demonstrate what you can do outside your usual tasks.”

Passion, too, is important. Says Christine Senn, PhD, chief implementation and operations officer with IACT Health and a trustee of the ACRP, “What I would advise people new to the field is to discuss their strengths and the activities that give them passion with someone else in the field to see what the best fit might be.”

Writing her advice in verse, Joy Jurnack, research program director, Innovo Research and an Academy member, concludes the two parts of the career advice with this:

“Write blogs, publish papers, give lectures galore,

Collaborate with work mates, join committees, share your knowledge some more;

Don’t keep it to yourself, share your newfound smarts with all,

And volunteer! Volunteer! Volunteer cause it’s a ball.”

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

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Green Key
Jun 6, 2023

Dog Study Could Lead to Help For Humans with Sports Injuries

Osteoarthritis of the knee is a common condition in humans and in their canine companions. An estimated 20% of dogs older than a year and 12% of people between 25 and 74 will develop the condition.

The causes and mechanisms are not well understood, however age and weight are considered major risk factors.

Injuries also lead to developing the disease. In fact one of the most common of all sports injuries in humans as well as dogs – a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament — is the leading cause of post traumatic osteoarthritis.

The mystery is why many, but not all, dogs and people with ACL injuries develop post traumatic osteoarthritis, medically referred to as PTOA. Now, a study of dogs at Cornell University’s veterinary school, published this month in Scientific Reports, offers clues to the potential for developing PTOA.

Researchers led by Dr. Heidi Reesink, assistant professor in equine health at Cornell, found that changes in the production of lubricin, a joint lubricating protein, could be a precursor to developing joint disease.

Lubricin is critical to smooth joint functioning. “We know that if a person or animal doesn’t make that protein, they will develop devastating joint disease affecting all the major weight-bearing joints,” says Reesink.

The prevailing view among veterinarians and physicians is that lubricin production declines after injury, leading to the development of PTOA. “The dogma in this field has been that lubricin decreases in joint disease,” Reesink said.

But the study found that in canine patients with a knee ligament tear lubricin increased and it was correlated with the development of osteoarthritis.

“This indicates that the presence of increased lubricin might actually be a biomarker for predicting future osteoarthritis,” said Reesink. “We also saw increased lubricin in dogs months to years after they injured their ACLs, suggesting that lubricin might be an indicator of ongoing joint instability.”

Increased lubricin could serve as a tipoff to clinicians to intervene with early treatments to ward off or slow the development of osteoarthritis, not just in dogs, but in people, too.

Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

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