Courtney Dreyer, PhD, is a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) for a biopharmaceutical company called Y-mAbs, focused on antibody-based therapeutics for pediatric cancers with application for adult tumors as well. It is Dr. Dreyer’s job to stay on top of the cutting edge of research. She does this by discussing research with the top experts in the field and listening to their thoughts and ideas on a variety of topics. She helps inform company strategy, train and educate others on disease state and company agents, attends conferences, and most importantly, continues to learn every day.
A solid foundation of knowledge will serve you as you grow in your career and can make your learning process more focused, precise, and intention-sharp. Dr. Dreyer attained her foundation at Moffitt Cancer Center. She began working at Moffitt as a Research Associate 2 years prior to beginning the Cancer Biology PhD Program in 2011, during which she worked under Dr. Srikumar Chellappan.
Dr. Dreyer took advantage of every opportunity she could throughout her PhD. She volunteered for some of the Cancer Biology program community outreach initiatives, such as judging science fairs and speaking to young students at underprivileged schools. She participated in trainings and attended the Frontiers in Stem Cell Research weeklong training at the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico as a result of our U54 partnership with Ponce. She joined career day events and networked which she said allowed her to meet many people who later helped her with her career path.
"The unique environment provided by working at Moffitt where basic, translational, and clinical research truly work together very closely gave me incredibly valuable experience and perspective into the big picture which has contributed to my success time and time again," said Dr. Dreyer.
Dr. Dreyer said she developed many skills at Moffitt that have aided her career along the way. Specifically, technical skills, writing skills, presentation skills, and interdisciplinary collaboration as well as working collaboratively with teams (within labs, across labs, within departments, etc.). "Moffitt provided many of the essential skills needed for each position I have held post grad school," stated Dr. Dreyer.
As an MSL, Dr. Dreyer has the ability to work on her own schedule and to travel all over the country as well as internationally. "I enjoy that every day is something different," said Dr. Dreyer, "the MSL role is very dynamic." During her time as an MSL, Dr. Dreyer has received two Quarterly Director Awards for Outstanding MSL and the Bayer US Pharmaceutical Pinnacle Leadership Award for Medical Affairs.
Dr. Dreyer has lots of advice for current trainees. She wants trainees to know that persistence and optimism are keys to success, and to always remember you get out of an experience what you put into it. "Fortune favors the bold" so to speak. "When you are trying to land a new position or break into a new field, do not let yourself get discouraged if it does not happen right away as these things take time and multiple applications," said Dr. Dreyer, "Also, don't let lack of knowledge or experience prevent you from doing something that interests you, the best way to learn is through experience and expert-led guidance."