Advisor in Investigative Toxicology at Eli Lilly

Apr 02, 2024
Advisor in Investigative Toxicology at Eli Lilly

Ariana D. Cherry PhD, is a part of Talent Development Academy (TDA) Leadership Development Rotational Program (LDP). She was hired on as a full-time employee with the opportunity to complete three, 8-month rotations across different functional areas at Lilly. In her first rotation she is an Advisor in Investigative Toxicology. She is currently evaluating/developing new approach in-vitro methodologies to evaluate renal toxicity.

What is the highest degree you have earned and what can you tell us about your academic path?

I have a PhD in Biomedical Sciences (Texas A&M University, August 23). My academic path was pretty linear however, my research interests and experiences vary widely. I went to the University of Georgia for undergraduate and majored in Animal Science and Applied biotechnology. While at UGA, I participated in undergraduate research in various areas including: Infectious disease, reproductive toxicology, and neuroscience. I also took a wide variety of research/lab-based classes that allowed me to learn simple lab techniques. Upon entering graduate school, I decided to begin kidney research and expand upon my simple lab techniques so that I was proficient at multiple molecular techniques like: RNA isolation, qPCR, and qRT-PCR. I also learned new techniques whilst in graduate school like: biofluid processing, necropsy and animal tissue processing, microscopy, renal pathology scoring, data analysis of complex datasets and programming of automation instruments. In my last year of my graduate program, I took an internship at Eli Lilly, where I got exposure to industry, learned HPLC and the many ways Lilly uses analytical chemistry to advance it’s pipeline.

Where do you work now and what is your company about?

I currently work at Eli Lilly. Lilly is a medicine company fueled by its purpose to unite caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world.

How did you first learn about the company?

I first learned about Lilly when I went to an ISPE meeting on campus (at Texas A&M University) and Lilly was there presenting about the company. They were recruiting for internships the following week, so I went to the recruitment event and submitted my resume for the internship program. I got the opportunity to become an intern and later to join the company full time.

What do you like most about the company?

Eli Lilly is committed to people. Not only to their patients, but to the surrounding community and it’s employees. For me these are the top three things I care about. I am passionate about the science I do and giving back to the community. I like that I can do that in an environment where I feel valued and supported.

What skills make you successful in your role and why did you choose this role?

Agility, willingness to learn and attention to detail. I chose this role because I knew it would challenge me and allow me to expand my scientific expertise whilst leveraging my background knowledge to progress my team.

How do you define success?

I define success as learning. I think if you learned something you did not know before than you were successful. To me success is more than reaching a goal and generating data. Meaningful contributions come through/from learning.

What's the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

I get to work with drug products across many therapeutic areas that could have a profound impact on patient wellbeing and help those I love.

What advice do you have for students and job seekers?

Your network is your currency. Get comfortable reaching out and networking with other scientists and building relationships especially those that intimidate you. Your network should include individuals that have a wealth of knowledge and experience as well as scientist who are on your “level” that you can confide in and brainstorm with.

What book did you read last?

The last book I read was: Where the grass is green, and the girls are pretty by Lauren Weisberger