Curiosity about the nature of disease. Solving high-impact scientific problems. Making a meaningful impact on the human experience. These are just a few of the reasons that motivated our first class of Vertex Physician Investigators (VPI) to pursue medicine.
A rotational program for early-career physician scientists, participants spend two years diving deep into the world of biotech at Vertex Pharmaceuticals.
In the below Q&A, meet our talented and passionate VPI fall 2023 graduating class:
Bart Lubberts - Associate Medical Director, Translational Medicine
Pain and Neuromuscular
Jason Sanders - Associate Medical Director, Clinical Development
Josiah Petersen - Associate Medical Director, Translational Medicine
Cystic Fibrosis and Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency
Sakellarios Zairis - Associate Medical Director, VCGT Pipeline Development
Why did you decide to go into the medical field?
Sakellarios: The practice of medicine is a humbling and a profoundly human experience. My curiosity about the nature of disease and the real-world impact of biomedical innovation led me to the medical field.
Josiah: I’ve always been interested in science and people, and medicine is a perfect intersection of those two where, as a physician, you get to use your knowledge and skills to hopefully improve patient lives.
Jason: While studying public health I became interested in helping people one-on-one by understanding physiology and the social determinants of health. That led me to clinical medicine.
Bart: I was drawn to the medical field because of the focus on prevention and treatment of disease, solving high-impact scientific problems and working with people who have the objective to bring medicines to patients.
Why did you apply to the VPI program?
Josiah: Career transitions in any space can be difficult and going from academic medicine to the biotech industry is no different. I felt the VPI program would be an opportunity to gain experience and build relationships across functions.
Jason: I joined the VPI program to have a broader experience than I may have had through a traditional hiring pathway. I was excited to be directly involved in real-world work across preclinical research, clinical development, commercial, and regulatory affairs.
What’s something unexpected that you gained from your VPI experience?
Sakellarios: I did not expect to develop such an acute sense of strategic thinking in so short a time. Vertex is a remarkably focused organization with a clearly articulated strategy in how it pursues biomedical challenges.
Bart: If you like to work in a team, like combining medicine and science, and value continuous learning, then the VPI program is for you.
Congratulations, Sakellarios, Josiah, Jason and Bart! We can't wait to see what you will accomplish with Vertex and in your career.
Interested in applying for the VPI program? Visit https://www.vrtx.com/careers/career-growth-and-opportunities/physician-investigators/.