Medical Science Liaison

Do you love being at the front of scientific innovation? Do you love to share and explain science that you are passionate about to people in a digestible manner? Does the idea of traveling to new places and meeting new people appeal to you? 

Perhaps, you should consider becoming a Medical Science Liaison. 

Last week, the Academic and Industry Opportunities Group (AIOG) hosted Dr. Jellerette-Nolan Associate Director, Medical Science Liaison and Training Reproductive/Women’s Health at Ferring Pharmaceuticals. Ferring is a privately-owned biopharmaceutical company that develops drugs and technologies geared towards women’s health.

Dr. Jellerette-Nolan is an accomplished scientist with more than a decade’s worth of experience in clinical research and the field of embryology. She received her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Reproductive Physiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After which, she worked as an Embryologist in the research and development department at GTC Biotherapeutics. With some industry experience, she decided to transition back to academia as an Assistant Professor of Research at the Baystate Medical Center. After several years conducting clinical research she made her way to the University of Connecticut as a Senior Embryologist Clinical Scientist at the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services. However, over the course of her career her dedication to networking eventually landed her an opportunity to change paths and disseminate her expertise as a Medical Science Liaison.  

What is a MSL: Medical Science Liasions (MSL) work within the medical affairs division of a company invested in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, or other health-related technologies (separate from sales and commercial divisions). MSLs are the “external face” of a pharmaceutical company. Typically, MSLs specialize on particular health-related topic (i.e. reproductive health, oncology, neuroscience) associated with the products the company has either acquired or formulated. They provide medical education and technical support for a company’s products. In addition, MSL’s may collaborate on different projects as new products are researched and developed. Depending on the size of a company, there may be several MSLs that cover similar or varying therapeutic topics. 

Today Dr. Jellerette-Nolan travels the United States and is responsible for a small team of MSLs comprised of medical health professionals and scientists that disseminate information about the latest technologies supported by Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

Characteristics of the MSL 

  1. heavy travel/ field work 
  2. Autonomous work environment 
  3. Flexible 
  4. Expert in a field(s) of Biomedical Science 

MSL positions are great for highly organized people with the stellar ability to micromanage their own time and accomplish a lot in an efficient manner. With a large amount of time devoted to working in the field, MSLs must be able to accomplish tasks on the go (i.e. on an airplane between appointments). Typically, MSL positions are advertised by topic (i.e. reproductive medicine) and by region. Which means, if you are interested in a position outside your realm of expertise, you will have to study hard and possibly relocate depending on the position. Don’t worry, if you are hired, the company will probably give you some time to learn the material but there will be a test! And most likely several tests to make sure you’ve mastered the material and can keep up with new information over time. 

If you are interested in becoming a MSL, here is a list of things a recruiter or your future boss might be looking for:

-PhD in Biomedical Sciences or MD

-Experience in clinical research

-Experience in research and development

-Outgoing personality 

-Networking experience (attendance of scientific conferences, participation in professional societies)

-Interpersonal skills (highly stressed)

-Effective oral communication 

-Data dissemination 

-Enthusiasm for science and technology 

-Engaging during group presentation and one-on-one conversations 

Stay tuned for future events including our Annual Networking Event held at UConn Health April 23rd 2020.

Published by Britt Knight PhD, Director

I received my PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Connecticut. My doctoral research focused on basic mechanisms in peripheral inflammatory pain biology. After, I completed about two years of postdoctoral research understanding how biomaterials can be used to deliver analgesics for treating musculoskeletal pain I transitioned to the Program Coordinator position for the United States Association for the Study of Pain (USASP). I am also the regional Director of CT Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

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