Lindsey Robinson ‘08 has had a longstanding interest in helping others through science. This passion, coupled with an undergraduate degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering, has propelled her to conduct groundbreaking work in the pharmaceutical industry.
As an engineering scientist with Merck, she is contributing to the development of a cure for Hepatitis C, a contagious liver disease.
“I had a strong desire to start contributing to the world through industry immediately upon graduation,” said Robinson. “I wanted to do something in the pharmaceutical or medical device industry that was helping people, and I’ve gotten the chance to do just that!”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, in the United States alone, more than 3 million people have a chronic Hepatitis C viral infection.
“The most rewarding aspect is working to develop a potential therapy that can greatly benefit patients in need,” said Robinson.
On a day-to-day basis, Robinson designs, plans, and executes pilot and commercial-scale experiments and analyzes data. The Hepatitis C treatment on which she is currently working is an all-oral, once-daily regimen of two active ingredients called Grazoprevir and Elbasvir.
“The positive clinical trial data from phase two is encouraging!” Robinson said.
Robinson has taken advantage of several opportunities to travel internationally, for business and pleasure. She spent several weeks in both Singapore and Ireland to support engineering scale-up of Merck’s new production processes. Over the past year, she also participated in a Habitat for Humanity project in Romania, attended a wedding in India, and completed a trekking adventure in Nepal.
She credits the four pillars of the Park Scholarships program – scholarship, leadership, service, and character – with fostering her personal and professional development over the years.
“At the most fundamental level, the Park Scholarship provided me the opportunity to be at NC State, earn a challenging degree, and leverage Research Triangle Park,” said Robinson. “My classmates were and are sources of inspiration to me as we continue to make an impact in our chosen fields of service.”
Robinson aspires to continue advancing in responsibility and position within the pharmaceutical industry, as well as to join a nonprofit board.
In a November 2014 press release, Merck announced the results of phase two for the Hepatitis C treatment, phase three’s full enrollment, and plans to submit a New Drug Application in 2015.
Story by Lauren Vanderveen