Name: Darryl Baptiste
Born: Fernie, BC
Profession: Translational Research
Sometimes the road from research to drug can be a rocky one. A potential therapy has to jump through all kinds of hoops before it can be considered ready for use in humans. A key step in this process is clinical trials, which can be cumbersome and expensive. Some researchers and clinicians have started joining forces to address these problems, leading to Canadian networks dedicated to getting exciting medical discoveries from the lab to clinics. This month we hear from the manager of one of these networks, and the work involved in getting drugs into clinical trials.
What is involved with translational research?
Translational research involves identifying drugs and other medical approaches that have demonstrated beneficial therapeutic effects within clinically relevant models of a particular disease or disorder. Once these promising therapeutic approaches have been identified I then work in collaboration with clinicians and regulators to move these therapies into clinical trials. At this point are focus is on developing an unbiased case to support the translation of a therapy. This involves scientific writing of review manuscripts and publication within peer-reviewed journals. My area of expertise is in identifying drugs and therapeutic approaches that have potential to protect and or restore neurological function following spinal cord injury.
What is a typical day like for you?
I manage within a pan-Canadian network called the "Spinal Cord Injury Solutions Network", which consists of clinicians, scientists and allied health professionals all with expertise in spinal cord injury. On a daily basis it is my responsibility to ensure that business planning and communications are appropriate to ensure that every member of this network has sufficient information and resources to accomplish the goals of our group.
Typically,a large part of my mornings are spent reading and replying to work emails, or attending meetings. Once this is done I focus on the completion of personally assigned tasks such as review articles,business plans, or scheduling meetings). Then I may have to participate in teleconference calls to discuss project progress and next steps with colleagues. Any free time that I have is then spent reading current research papers or attending conferences related to the field of spinal cord injury.
Did you always want to be an Acute Care & Treatment Manager?
No, besides being a professional basketball player, I wanted to become either a marine biologist or a physiotherapist.
What courses in high school prepared you for this field?
English, biology, chemistry, and math helped.
Where did you go to university/college?
I first went to the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, before transferring to Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am currently enrolled in part-time MBA studies at the Schulich School of Business at York University, in Toronto, Ontario.
How did you decide where to go?
My decision weighed largely on the combination of a strong academic program of interest, the caliber of the varsity basketball team and the school's proximity to my family.
Was there extra training required for this career after you finished college/university? If so, what?
Yes. I completed post-graduate studies at Dalhousie University,where I graduated with a Pharmacology Ph.D. I then went on to complete a post-doctoral fellowship studying translational research relevant to spinal cord injury at Toronto Western Research Institute. The seadditional academic experiences have allowed me to gain a better appreciation for scientific research. My recent experiences at York University's Schulich School of Business are providing me the skill set to be abetter manager and to appreciate commercial opportunities related to translational science.
What is the coolest part of your job?
Just knowing that I am contributing to improving the lives of people with spinal cord injury.
What's the worst part of your job?
Having to take my work home with me over the weekend to meet deadlines.
What's the salary range for this particular job and field?
$60,000 and up.
Ooooops! Everyone makes mistakes so what was the dumbest thing you've ever done at work?
Forgetting the date of a scheduled meeting.
Any advice that you would give others seeking a similar career?
Find a mentor who can give you a clear perspective about the position you think you may be interested in.
What are some great web links or references for someone interesting in reading up more about this career?
What is the last movie you saw? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
The International. Thumbs down.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
What's your favorite cartoon character?
What's your zodiac sign?
If you were to sing a song at a karaoke bar, what would it be?
"Hello" by Lionel Richie's