Alumnus Profile

Karen Turpin

March 5, 2019

Medical Science Liaison, Leo Pharma Canada

1. You were involved with the Alberta MS Network (endMS) during your time as a PhD student at the University of Alberta. For you, what was the most beneficial aspect of the Network?
I am very grateful to the Alberta MS Network for the learning and networking opportunities it has provided me. I have been able to meet and work with many incredibly intelligent, capable and conscientious MS clinicians and researchers. I am constantly amazed at the work the Alberta MS community is doing to optimize the management and treatment of MS, and to improve the quality of life of persons living with MS. The opportunity to hear from world renowned experts on the biological and psychosocial aspects of the disease through regular seminars and symposia has been tremendous. I am so grateful for the financial support I have received to present my own work at national and international conferences. I am truly indebted to the Network for the academic, financial and personal investment they chose to make in me as a doctoral student.

2. Can you tell us a little more about your current position and the work you are doing?

From April 2016 to February 2019, I was pleased to work for a pharmaceutical company as a Medical Science Liaison for Western Canada (BC, AB,SK) in the area of MS. I was able to interact with many MS neurologists,nurses, and researchers to gain insights on the MS treatment landscape and research priorities, share current efficacy and safety data on medications, and advocate for industry sponsored clinical trials in the West. This experience, combined with my past experience as an MS clinic/research nurse at the University of Alberta MS Clinic, and current experience as a doctoral student at the University of Alberta studying resilience among persons with MS, has enabled me to take the next step in my career pathway. I will be continuing to learn the role and responsibilities of a Medical Science Liaison with another company staring in March. I am looking forward to completing my PhD thesis this year, and seeing what opportunities await upon completion!

3. Do you have any advice for our trainees?

Say yes! You never know where an opportunity may lead you. Early on in my doctoral studies, I said yes to a volunteer opportunity to work on a white paper with the Alberta Division of the MS Society of Canada on employment issues for persons living with MS. Through this opportunity, I met many people across the country from various organizations working in the MS space. One of those organizations was a pharmaceutical company with a new treatment for MS. They needed a Medical Science Liaison in Western Canada, and wondered if I was interested. It was a big leap, but I decided to say yes again. I've learned a lot through the ups and downs of industry. My career path has certainly taken twists and turns, and it is continuing to evolve.  Sometimes things will work out and sometimes they won't. They only way to know though is to say yes and try!

4. Any other information that you would like to share?

The work each of you is doing to better the lives of persons with MS is so incredibly important. The early mornings, late nights and work weekends can be difficult. Be sure to take care of yourself too. I fly a lot for my job as an Medical Science Liaison, and I think the safety message the flight attendants say every time I'm about to take off is finally starting to sink in - you need to put on your own mask before you help anyone else. Persons living with MS and their families need our help so they can work, play and age like the rest of us!Don't underestimate the value you have as person invested in MS care and research. Take care of yourself, so you can be the grad student, post-doctoral fellow, researcher and or clinician the MS patients need you to be. Thank you for all your hard work!



182A Heritage Medical Research Building
3330 Hospital Drive NW
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta  T2N 4N1

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