Brice Curtin, PhD

Re-discovering Drug Discovery


Being a member of 2019 class of Convergence Scholars provided me opportunities to attend events such as the leadership and communication workshops, which taught me valuable skills that I can take into my future career, which I hope will be in industry. Additionally, I was able to attend multiple workshops and networking events that were great ways to speak with scientists from industry about their transition from academia. One such event was the “Pfizer Oncology Drug Discovery and Development Workshop,” and it was a crazy day. We were exposed to the ins and outs of how pharmaceuticals are chosen – and subsequently halted or continued – through a combination of safety and efficacy metrics, and the process of drug approval through the FDA. The people that attended the workshop were from all different backgrounds -  from oncologists at Tufts to sociologists studying the insurance industry. It was a great experience, and I never would have even known about it without CSP.

Not only did CSP directly provide opportunities for learning and networking, the program also provided funds for external professional development activities including conferences. With these funds I was able to travel to New Hampshire to attend and present a poster at the “High-Throughput Chemistry and Chemical Biology” Gordon Research Conference. This was the first week-long conference I had ever been to, and it was an incredible experience. On that timeline, you can really engage with scientific topics and with people, and I was able to do a lot of networking with scientists from both academia and industry. I not only saw some incredible science talks and received valuable feedback on my own work, but I also had a lot of fun getting to know other researchers during the networking and social sessions. I made multiple connections, from people who work at organizations all around the world to people who work across the street at the Broad Institute, and even met a future colleague who will be joining Angela’s lab next year.

Presenting my work at the "High-Throughput Chemistry and Chemical Biology" Gordon Research Conference.

I made many new connections at the Gordon Research Conference and had a great time talking science.

Rounding out my CSP term, I attended a symposium called “Targeted Protein Degradation: From Chemical Biology to Drug Discovery”  at the New York Academy of Sciences in NYC. I wanted to attend this conference because using chimeric small molecules to target and degrade proteins has great therapeutic potential. However, since the field is still relatively young, there remain many challenges to get these molecules through the clinic. My hope is that I will continue to learn about the field and use that knowledge when I transition to a pharmaceutical company in the next year. Because Leny and Tarek were always on the lookout for new workshops as well as giving great guidance, I have had an incredible year that will help me when I move into my next professional role.

Attending the “Targeted Protein Degradation: From Chemical Biology to Drug Discovery”  in NYC - the views from the 40th floor were very impressive.