The Wesleyan Argus | Pfizer Medical Lead Peter Park ’93 discusses COVID-19, chemistry and significant considering
The pandemic has utterly modified the best way folks stay their lives. That is one thing everybody has been compelled to come back to phrases with for the reason that first case of COVID-19 final spring. However scientists are nonetheless discovering simply how a lot the results of the pandemic may have on their analysis. Peter Park ’93, PhD, Regional Medical Supervisor for North America at Pfizer, witnessed the impression of the pandemic on medical analysis. Park works in Pfizer’s biopharmaceutical division, managing analysis groups that conduct research on prescribed drugs. Park focuses on inside drugs, a department of heart problems, respiratory illness, neuroscience and ache drugs. In 2020, Park led a group conducting analysis research on medicine that had beforehand been authorized by the FDA or different federal businesses. Though Park’s group was in a roundabout way concerned in Pfizer’s vaccine work, the pandemic nonetheless had an impression on their work.
“Lots of what we do is work together with hospital partnerships, and hospitals cannot do something aside from handle sufferers,” Park stated. “All of the initiatives have been kind of placed on maintain. My group had a interval of questioning which initiatives have been going to be carried out. “
Park has seen the pandemic have an effect on his area in different methods as properly.
“It has actually affected all areas of medical drugs,” Park stated. “For the illnesses we’re engaged on… lots of people is not going to have sure diagnostic assessments. The vaccines are actually, actually low [in distribution] for different areas reminiscent of measles, mumps, rubella [as well as] sure kinds of hospital visits you’re alleged to have. I feel there are going to be some lasting modifications to attempt to repair this drawback.
Park’s curiosity in drugs was sparked by his mother and father’ expertise dwelling in South Korea earlier than immigrating to the US within the Seventies.
“I’ve at all times had this reverence for medicine,” he says. “Within the Seventies, South Korea was extra just like the third world. For those who actually have a routine an infection, the probabilities [were] you have been toast. I type of inherited this reverence for pharmaceutical drugs from my mother and father, so it was only a pure match for me.
This preliminary curiosity led Park to main in chemistry whereas attending Wesleyan from 1989 to 1993. In faculty, Park acted as a passer for males’s volleyball, carried out in performs within the theater program, and served. as a well being assistant within the Butterfields (a place much like that of an RA).
“I completely beloved attending Wesleyan,” stated Park. “I’ve nice recollections and communicate with folks from my frosh 12 months at Foss 9 [now Hewitt 9] and so they all do some actually superb issues.
Whereas on the college, Park carried out analysis in chemistry for about two years below the course of Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Pete Pringle, whose lab studied far infrared spectroscopy of ring molecules like diborans (chemical compounds made up of boron and hydrogen). He accomplished a high-level thesis within the Pringle laboratory on the environmental chemistry of soil pollution.
“I’m additionally indebted to [Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics] Stewart Novick, ”Park stated. “He taught me to essentially like to consider science. It was one thing that I cherished within the chemistry division.
When Park was first in faculty, he deliberate to be a professor. Whatever the profession he finally pursued, he knew he wished to finish his chemistry training past a bachelor’s diploma.
“With the baccalaureate, I kinda felt like, ‘okay I perceive chemistry’, however once I met different folks I spotted ‘okay, i don’t know how deep and large this self-discipline is,‘“He stated.” At that time in my freshman 12 months, I spotted that if I wished to be somebody of affect on this business and even in college science, I must get a masters diploma and a doctorate.
Per week after graduating from Wesleyan, Park started as a scholar in Princeton College’s graduate chemistry program. Park discovered some facets of Wesleyan’s transition to Princeton troublesome at first.
“After I obtained there I actually did not slot in,” Park stated. “I felt like ‘this place is so conservative it’s so cash pushed.‘ However I discovered that when I attempted to concentrate on analysis, I got here to grasp that there was an especially excessive stage of scholarships at Princeton similar to [there] had at all times been in Wesleyan. I type of wanted to refocus on why I used to be there.
Edited by Suzanne Walker, who now serves as Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics on the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard College, Park accomplished his thesis on Molecular Drug Targets Designed to Overcome Antibiotic Resistance. After graduating from Princeton, Park knew he did not need to proceed doing analysis. He accepted a administration guide place with the consulting agency Accenture, the place he remained six years earlier than becoming a member of Pfizer as international director of undertaking administration. Ultimately, he rejoined his present place as medical director.
“I used to be doing cardiovascular trial administration and I spotted, ‘Wow, I feel I want to work in a group that manages the approval of recent medicine’, so I joined a kind of groups.” , Park stated. “It may be enjoyable working for a giant firm in the event you love to do various things since you simply swap to completely different groups who’re monitoring their very own set of illnesses that they’re making an attempt to make medicine for. I type of skipped a bit.
Park identified how his time at Wesleyan had ready him for work within the business and past.
“Wesleyan actually helped me study to suppose,” he says. “Not what you ought to be considering, however learn how to deconstruct the questions. It has been an excellent attribute in my profession. A lot has modified prior to now 12 months for everybody, however I hope that the need for innovation and social equity and doing all we are able to to enhance the worldwide communities round us has not modified. . It is one thing that actually connects me to Wesleyan and my time there.
Sophie Wazlowski might be contacted at [email protected]