Dr. Pablo Sardi is an R&D director in the Neurobiology Unit at Sanofi. He started his career in Boston doing post-doctoral research at Harvard and moved to Genzyme in 2007 to pursue his interest in investigating disease mechanism to develop therapies to treat neurodegenerative diseases.
The Driving Force
Dr. Sardi says patients are his biggest motivators and that meeting them makes his work more meaningful. “I go to many scientific meetings where the main focus is the knowledge in the context of disease, but when you interact with the actual patient you’re trying to help, it brings your work to a completely new level.” Dr. Sardi is always open to hearing patients’ questions and personal research. “They’re amazingly knowledgeable. They know the scientific literature, almost as well as we do. They’re extremely engaged which brings us together even more. They want to understand the disease and the therapies and have so many smart questions.
Challenges, Chances and Looking Forward
The future of Parkinson’s research looks bright for Dr. Sardi, especially since he has an explorer’s perspective of his work. “Scientists are like Christopher Columbus and his ships, who sailed not knowing whether or not they’ll find land on the other side. Similarly, we embark on journeys without knowing what we’ll find on the other side, and see signs from time to time that keep us going. We need to be persistent and learn from our mistakes.”
We embark on journeys without knowing what we’ll find on the other side, and see signs from time to time that keep us going. We need to be persistent and learn from our mistakes.
Right now Dr. Sardi’s research is driving innovation in the field while also making progress for Parkinson’s disease. “I focus on neurodegenerative diseases. We have seen great advancement in Parkinson’s. We also work on ALS, which is quite close to our hearts, but the science has not collaborated as much. We’re still in the early stages for ALS. But for Parkinson’s, particularly the ones with certain mutations, we’re going full stream into clinical trials now.”
But ultimately the work that Dr. Sardi does aims to improve the lives of his patients. “We need to thank patients for their commitment; they’re the ones that keep us going. When we see the challenges that they’re facing, the challenges that we face are put into perspective. Their strength is truly inspirational and engaging. They transmit us a great sense of urgency.”
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