The Explorer in the Scientist
This week I was lucky enough to speak during Toronto’s Health Innovation Week, and I was struck by how scientists and others who develop therapeutics are so similar to explorers who push physical boundaries.
Many of the same things that inspired me to complete a graduate degree in molecular biology and work in companies developing therapeutics also drew me to exploration. Both fields are about shedding light on the unknown, sharing discoveries in a way that benefits others and continuously overcoming challenges that are inherent to pushing boundaries. In some ways developing a therapeutic is even more perilous; it is filled with uncertainty and the time to get from a laboratory discovery to an approved drug can be well over ten years. In comparison, an expedition is short and the chances of success are often higher.
The strategies we use to succeed and overcome challenges on an expedition are very similar to those that allow people to thrive in this field, and much of my success as an explorer can be attributed to lessons I first learned in research and health sciences. It was a privilege to come full circle and share these lessons from my expeditions with people working in an industry that sculpted my career.
Events like this, and the evening reception for women where I gave my keynote presentation, are inspiring to be a part of. It’s wonderful to see what a leader Canada is in this realm and how many passionate and talented women are thriving in this industry. I met developmental pediatricians, patent agents, researchers, venture capitalists, respiratory therapists, and people from companies developing a broad range of therapies for diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer. These are the women who will inspire future generations of girls and boys to pursue science educations and careers that save lives and allow people to live better. Their commitment to supporting each other and nourishing the vibrant health innovation climate in Toronto and throughout Canada makes our country a better place.
We are a country of explorers. It is in our DNA to push boundaries and seek out discoveries, and no one better epitomizes that then the talented people pursuing innovations that will benefit us all.