East Regional Medical Science Liaison Director - Thoracic Oncology, AstraZeneca

Mar 02, 2023
East Regional Medical Science Liaison Director - Thoracic Oncology, AstraZeneca

An alum of the 2011 SMDP Biotech Scholar cohort, Cornel Phillip, PhD, is the East Regional Medical Science Liaison Director - Thoracic Oncology at AstraZeneca. Cornel leads and develops a team of field-based oncology Medical Science Liaisons where he provides guidance on medical insight. 

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

PhD. After completing my undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Virgin Islands, I trained as a cancer training award fellow at the National Cancer Institute for two years. Years later, I completed my PhD in Cancer Biology/Pharmacology from The University of Texas Houston Health Science Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center. I did a post-doctoral fellowship at Emory University for two years.

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

I currently work for AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca is a global, science led, patient focused pharmaceutical company seeking to improve the lives for patients.

How did you first learn about the company?

I learned about this company based on my research in pharmaceutical companies in oncology when I was seeking to transition into industry during my post-doctoral fellowship.

What do you like most about the company?

I appreciate the company’s science based approach in seeking medicines to benefit patients.  AstraZeneca has some of the best in class therapies for oncology and one of the best oncology pipelines in the industry in my opinion. AstraZeneca has a bold ambition of one day eliminating cancer as a cause of death.  Additionally, I appreciate the people that I work with as they are passionate for their desire to help patients.

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

To be successful in this role, I used the following skills:

- a love of learning and a passion for science,

- self-motivated to accomplish goals that are necessary for your team’s success,

- the ability to succinctly communicate complicated scientific concepts in a manner that is easy to understand,

- the ability to work collaboratively with different functions in the organization to ultimately help patients,

- the ability to be flexible in your job as each day in this job can be different.

I chose this role because I love learning and communicating science with individuals.  Additionally, I enjoy mentoring and helping others reach their maximum potential. 

How do you define success?

Having a job that is enjoyable and brings fulfillment in all that you do.

What's the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

The fulfilling aspect of my job is multifaceted. Firstly, mentoring and coaching individuals to be a better version of themselves. Secondly, working on therapies that impact patients’ lives positively.

What advice do you have for students and job seekers?

Ensure that you are a lifelong learner who is flexible and determined.  No matter what role you have within your career, do it with passion and commitment.  Additionally, talk to as much people as you can to learn about career opportunities.

What book did you read last?

 Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell.