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More! (02/2021)

An eye for risks and potential.

Interview: Bettina Volz

Is a newly marketed drug really safe? Epidemiologist Rahel Schneider identifies and quantifies the risks of drugs at Novartis in Basel. In addition, as a former scholarship holder, she is involved with the Swiss Study Foundation in screening young applicants.

Portrait of Rahel Schneider
Rahel Schneider.

UNI NOVA: Ms. Schneider, what does your day-to-day work look like?

RAHEL SCHNEIDER: At the moment, I am supporting two drugs in development. One of my main tasks is to ensure that potential risks that cannot be detected during clinical development are adequately monitored after approval by the health authorities. These can be, for example, very rare long-term adverse effects that may occur years after the drug has been taken. To ensure drug safety, I work with people from all over the world and all disciplines. This international environment combined with the vast existing know-how fascinates and inspires me again and again.

UNI NOVA: What can you use from your pharmacy studies and your PhD in epidemiology at the University of Basel?

SCHNEIDER: I can bring a lot of it to my work, such as working with large databases, planning and conducting pharmaco-epidemiological studies, writing and publishing scientific texts, and communicating research results to experts and lay people. In addition, during my time as a doctoral student, I learned that social skills are just as important as technical knowledge. All of this has made it easier for me to enter the industry. But even after graduation, I see and learn something new every day, which is what makes my job so exciting.

UNI NOVA: What role did the Swiss Study Foundation play in your career?

SCHNEIDER: The highlight of my time at the Swiss Study Foundation – apart from the many great people I met – was a study trip to New York, where we were able to participate in the National Model United Nations, the largest simulation conference of the United Nations. Today, I am still curious and open to ideas, new projects and meeting other people. Through the Alumni Association of the Swiss Study Foundation, this network continues. Since the Foundation has contributed a great deal to my personal development, I now work voluntarily as an assessor. In this role, I assess applicants for their suitability for admission to the Study Foundation. I find it immensely enriching to exchange views and ideas with such committed young people.

As the Swiss Study Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021, AlumniBasel is taking the opportunity to introduce a Basel alumna and former member of the Swiss Study Foundation. The Study Foundation offers interdisciplinary educational opportunities, financial support and a wide range of networking opportunities to give young people the best chance to develop new ideas and find their place in society.

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