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Have you ever wondered what makes a cancer researcher tick, or how the pursuit of life-changing treatments became their life’s work? How about what keeps them up at night, and what goes through their mind when an experiment fails? And what about the things that inspire and motivate them every day in the lab? Click on the videos below to find out, and to get to know the talented scientists at Pfizer who are working to deliver the next wave of cancer breakthroughs.

 

Meet Our Scientists

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Jeff Settleman, Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer, Oncology R&D

Jeff oversees Pfizer’s oncology research and early discovery work while steering over 500 scientists making life-changing discoveries. Jeff is driven by the patients who may potentially benefit from a new cancer treatment: “We've got irons in the fire on all fronts, which means we're in a pretty good position to make a true impact for people living with cancer.”

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Keith Abayasiriwardana, Principal Scientist, Cancer Vaccine Immunotherapeutics Group

Keith is working on ways to train the body's immune system to fight cancer by investigating a potential cancer vaccine and oncolytic viruses. Keith is inspired by scientific evolution: “We are on the cutting-edge with a wave of amazing innovation and therapies coming through right now…and I find that very uplifting.”

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Rebecca Gallego, Senior Principal Scientist, Medicinal Sciences

Rebecca is a chemist who uses data analysis and modelling to create potential cancer treatments. Rebecca is motivated every day by Pfizer La Jolla’s Inspiration Garden, which includes tiles from colleagues in support of people currently fighting cancer, or in memory of those who have lost the battle to cancer: “You see the personal investment that everyone has and their connection to the disease that we're all working on.”

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Murali Gururajan, Director of Immunosuppression, Cancer Immunology Discovery

Murali leads a team focused on collecting data and pursuing research to boost the immune system to fight cancer. He believes success comes from persistence and patience: “You learn from the failures, you build upon the successes, and then you try to understand how they can be used to better understand the disease and help to create new drugs.”

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Sabrina Maisel, Senior Scientist, Cancer Systems Therapeutics Group

Sabrina is part of a team that develops innovative tools to potentially identify novel targets for cancer treatments. Sabrina is driven by the potential to discover novel cancer treatments through collaboration: “I think a combination of different groups coming together and continuing that collaborative spirit in scientific innovation is how we're going to move the oncology field forward.”

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Leah Mitchell, Senior Principal Scientist, Cancer Vaccine Immunotherapeutics

Leah researches ways for the body’s immune system to attack cancer, and she is inspired by the massive collaboration between scientists around the world who are working to make life-changing discoveries: “There's not a week that goes by in my job that I don't get chills from seeing data emerge and feeling like it might be the next big thing.”

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Drew Price, Associate Scientist, Cancer Systems Therapeutics Group

Drew works to develop cutting-edge systems and tools to stop cancer in its tracks, with the hope of bringing first-in-class targeted cancer therapies to patients. His motivation stems from his childhood friend Allen, who he lost to colon cancer: “Ultimately, I want Allen to know that we're working as hard as we can. And I feel, if he were here today, he would just be saying, keep going.”

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Paul Rejto, Vice President, Oncology Translational Research

Paul leads a group that focuses on the genetics of individual patients to understand the underlying mechanism of cancer. Every day, Paul concentrates on three things: “The first one is being able to keep in mind who we're trying to help; the patient. The second piece is the opportunity to take advantage of all the new techniques, and all the technologies that are being developed. The third piece is the quality of the people that we get to work with.”

 

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Rachel Vaden, Senior Scientist, Cancer Systems Therapeutics Group

Rachel and her colleagues are focused on studying lung cancer, one of the types of cancer that varies the most on a cellular and genetic level. They aim to apply lessons from the diverse profile of lung cancer to other cancers.  Rachel says the coolest part of her job is discovery: “When you find something that no one else on the whole planet has ever looked at before, then you know that you've made one small additional step to understanding cancer a little bit better.”