Medical Sciences Liaison (MSL), Merck

Dec 11, 2023
Medical Sciences Liaison (MSL), Merck

Dr. Alia Toro is a Medical Sciences Liaison (MSL) who provides support to the Oncology Department at Merck, Puerto Rico. She helps scientific leaders and investigators to cure and improve quality of life for cancer patients in Puerto Rico, through frequent scientific discussions of emerging data and relevant evidence about Merck's products, molecules and clinical trials.

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

I have a Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) in Biomedical Sciences, I’m also a Medical Technologist with a bachelor's degree in biology. I always had a passion for sciences and research. After I graduated from Grad School, I switched gears a little bit, from basic research to clinical research, by leading an Oncology Clinical Research Site in Puerto Rico. As the Associate Director of the site, I not only developed, oversight and administered the site operations, but also was in closed contact with the study participants. Seeing in first hand, how novel therapies in clinical trials changed patient’s life and their families, improve their quality of life and in some cases cure them, gave me a new perspective of sciences and the experiences needed to redefine my next career step. In fact, although I was very clear that I wanted to pursue a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry, I never thought it would be at Merck.

How did you first learn about the company?

Interestingly, I first learned about Merck, when I was a graduate student and participated as a SMDP mentee in 2009. I had the opportunity to meet several mentors during the training week, and one of them was (and still) working at Merck. I was thrilled about what the Company was doing to improve people’s life and what a successful career he was having at Merck.

What do you like most about the company?

Proudly, I have being working in Medical Affairs with Merck Puerto Rico, since 2017. Merck is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. It is also, a leading company in innovative therapies and research in Oncology, Vaccine, Infectious diseases, Diabetes, Animal Health and others. From all the many things I like from the Company, I would like to highlight two that makes me feel very proud to be part of it. One of them is the great science, brilliant minds and ideas behind all the innovative medicine to improve people’s life and the other is the environment of collaboration, inclusion and diversity within the Organization.

How do you define success?

As a reflection through my journey, I believe that every single step, and person I met in life, were crucial to the success of what I had become and where I’m now in my career. I can define success, as feeling fulfilled, happy, proud and accomplished. The most fulfilling aspects of my job are to facilitate patient access to our therapies, cure them and improve their quality of life.

What advice do you have for students and job seekers?

Lastly, I will like to share several advises with the new generation of scientists to have a successful life and career; stay true to yourself, do what you like and makes you happy, find your passion, dream big, trust the process, have faith, start building strong relationships within your network, maximize every single opportunity life brings you, learn everything you can, and tailor your CV; set of skills, and achievements to the position you are applying, and work to live, don’t live to work!