Meet Sanofi’s R&D Postdoctoral Program

Three of Sanofi R&D’s Postdoctoral Fellows share their unique experience coming to work in Sanofi’s labs alongside our seasoned scientists to explore science and technology.

Each year, the Sanofi R&D organization welcomes postdoctoral researchers to join our research teams for a two-year learning experience. The postdoc program in North America, currently with 29 researchers, allows the researchers to explore science and technology that might be of potential interest to Sanofi, the pharma industry or academia, and provides exposure to additional learning and leadership opportunities.

“The postdoc program is important, as it brings new eyes and skills to Sanofi R&D,” said David Aldous, sponsor of the postdoc program in North America. “The program reflects our commitment to train future scientists and leaders, as well as build a talent pool from which future hires could emerge.”

Meet three of our postdocs, who discuss their journey to Sanofi’s research labs and what inspires them to do their work every day.

Yao ZhangYao Zhang, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Rare Disease – Gene Therapy

Joining Sanofi was like coming full circle for Yao, who studied BioPharmaceutics in college and looked to Sanofi as a leading pharmaceutical company for years. He joined the company last year as a Postdoctoral Fellow after completing postdoctoral training in neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Today, he is developing therapy approaches to treating rare diseases and hopes his work will make a difference in lives of patients.

“My work presents many scientific puzzles and technical barriers to overcome, so from an intellectual perspective, it is very interesting,” says Yao, who credits the supportive working environment for keeping him motivated. “I work alongside colleagues who are very good at collaborating to solve these problems together.”

The program offers Yao and his postdoc colleagues a unique opportunity to learn. “Many of us not only want to become experts in our own research area, but are also very curious about other segments of the life-cycle of the drug,” he said.

Qian PanQian Pan, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Biomarkers & Bioanalysis

Qian joined Sanofi in November last year, after spending time as an academic postdoc in Massachusetts General Hospital, the largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where she discovered her passion for lipids. Today, her research program mainly focuses on lipid biomarkers, especially sphingolipids.

“There are tens of thousands of species of lipids in our body. They can act really fast—hourly, even in seconds—and affect the tuning of our bodies. But so far we only understand a tiny fraction of them,” says Qian. “I believe some of the trickiest puzzles of human disease will be explained by lipids, and that’s what drives me to continue my research.”

Qian notes that Sanofi’s postdoc program has improved rapidly, from meeting postdocs only within her group to regularly meeting all postdocs in her building and remotely at other North America sites. “Right now, I feel like I’m part of a big and energetic family.”

Meghan BrundageMeghan Brundage, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Metabolic Diseases

Meghan was thrilled to receive the opportunity to contribute to Sanofi’s translational research. Previously trained at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Meghan has worked in the areas of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and rare disease. At Sanofi, she is creating in vitro macrophage models of lysosomal storage disorders in the rare disease space, and hopes to contribute new screening tools to many groups at Sanofi.

As a scientist, she’s most excited about making advances in early discovery using a molecular biology approach and, ultimately, making translational contributions to patients’ unmet needs. “In addition to adding something of value to Sanofi, I hope to have gained better insight into how treatments get to market, how teams outside of research make this happen, and how the business can continue to innovate,” she said.

Meghan says the postdoc program “creates an opportunity for recently trained scientists to bring fresh eyes, different ideas, and a nifty trick or two in exchange for learning from seasoned industry professionals.” In her experience, postdocs are eager to become ambassadors for the company and would like to help extend Sanofi’s reach to their own networks.

To learn more about Sanofi’s Early Career Talent Programs including R&D Postdoctoral Fellowship opportunities, click here.