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Master
Biomedical Sciences: Neurobiology tracks
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Karlijn Doorn

Current position: Head of Project Management
Employer: myTomorrows
Master’s programme and track: Biomedical Science –  Neuroscience

Leaving the pressures of academia 

'After my Master’s I did a PhD in Neuroscience, a collaboration between the VU Amsterdam and the UvA, which was on Parkinson’s disease and I really enjoyed that. However, I realised I didn’t want to stay within research. That was because of the pressure to publish. If you really want to continue you have to be so motivated and dedicated. I started working as a programme coordinator and lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, but it wasn’t challenging enough, so after two years I decided to leave academia altogether. I was looking for a project management role in the industry. To me, the most important thing was to work at a company where I was really motivated and behind what their mission was.'

A company with a bold medical vision

'That’s when I stumbled across myTomorrows, a healthcare company. I attended the BioBusiness Summer School at the VU Amsterdam and the CEO of myTomorrows was one of the speakers there. I got in touch with them after looking at their website and submitted an open application mentioning my interest in project management. We provide information about and access to medicines that are not approved yet, or they might have approval in the US, but not yet in Europe. If there’s a high medical need and patients are suffering, and there’s no alternative treatment option, we try to facilitate early access to those medicines. It’s mainly within the field of Oncology and Haematology. We also work with neurological disorders and really rare diseases, just because there’s not a lot of clinical development there. I really like the vision and what we are trying to achieve.' 

Global multitasking

'A typical workday involves a lot of meetings with people and a lot of people management. You need to be able to motivate people and get them excited to reach a certain goal. I manage all the project managers and I am responsible for ensuring the programmes run smoothly. We work with clients all over the world and sometimes we have to travel to meet them or go to conferences to talk to physicians and pharmaceutical companies. I’m also responsible for getting all the documentation required to get access to drugs that are not approved or on the market yet. You need to be structured and organised, because there’s a lot of multitasking.'

There are no wrong choices

'A lot of students are afraid to make the wrong choice. However, I don’t think there are any wrong choices. Just follow what you find interesting. You can develop so many skills, regardless of which specific area within a Master’s programme you follow. It’s more about motivation and being willing to work hard.'