Article about Celebrating our Scientists, the Inventors of Tomorrow’s Healthcare Solutions

Celebrating our Scientists, the Inventors of Tomorrow’s Healthcare Solutions

During Sanofi’s Global R&D Week, we take a moment to show our passion for patients, and to recognize the dedication of our Research & Development teams all over the world as they work to accelerate treatment breakthroughs. We celebrate Sanofi scientists working at the bench to discover new therapies. We celebrate the researchers who are working to speed promising medicines through clinical trials. And we celebrate our regulatory experts who take those treatments over the finish line and into the hands of patients. Then there are the laboratory technicians, the plant engineers, those who work in administrative support, and the strategists who are charged with ensuring that we stay focused on patients’ needs. These are the people who make up Sanofi Science, and we all have one goal: EMPOWERING LIFE. Meet just a few members of our team below.


Portrait of Naik Armaghan

Naik Rumi Armaghan, Ph.D.

Director and Head of Design Sciences in FluNXT, Sanofi Pasteur’s “Biotech-lite”

"I have a dream job! My group is working on a broader protective influenza vaccine. Influenza is a serious public health challenge since it’s seasonal; it can be deadly (and not just for infants or the elderly!), and it drains the global economy every year. We are going back to basics – the physics, the chemistry, the biology of preventing influenza illness – and leveraging the state of the art in computer science, and so on to put these pieces together in a new way that we believe will lead to a broader protection. I know that as a company we are passionate about what we do. When I get up in the morning, I make my bed and run through my mental list of the big scientific problems we are addressing, and just get pumped up because of how real it is. Like a lot of former academics, I am really motivated by the desire to teach and train. That has made the hard work really enjoyable. Our duty to patients is just a way of saying, our duty to humanity (since everyone is attacked by influenza); we’re on the job!"

Portrait of Lisa Stanek

Lisa Stanek, PhD

Senior Principal Scientist

"I’ve always been the type of person that question things, it’s how I learn and grow. My constant curiosity – that quest to uncover what is hidden or unknown – is why I became a scientist and focused in the ever-changing rare disease space. As industry scientists, I believe we have a responsibility to patients with rare diseases. We have to be their advocates and push for more research. It should not matter if a disease afflicts one person or one million people, there are people in need and science should not discriminate. Research on rare disease allows us to make discoveries about previously uncharacterized genes and disease mechanisms. That knowledge can help even larger patient populations in the future. More important, it also provides enormous hope to underserved patient populations, such as those with Huntington’s disease, a progressive and fatal brain disorder. I am honored to head what I call the Huntington’s disease “dream team” within Sanofi R&D. Many years ago, Sanofi scientists were part of a group that mapped the causative gene and created one of the first diagnostic tests for Huntington’s disease. Now my team is looking at key targets for therapeutics to potentially find new treatment."


Portrait of Oezem Sercan

Dr. Özen Sercan Alp

Laboratory Head, Immunology & Inflammation Research Therapeutic Area

"Among the many interesting projects at Sanofi, the one which makes me very excited and which I personally work on is the multi-specific targeting approach. With this approach, we can target two or more molecules at the same time. There are many advantages to this compared to targeting one molecule at a time. Most of the chronic diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, are very complex and driven by many factors, not only one. By targeting more than one driver at the same time, we can increase the chance that a compound is more efficacious, which could result in a treatment with lower doses and less side effects. To help people feel better inspires me! Participating in a treatment that could help patients to lead a normal life is what I have wished to do since my childhood and the reason why I pursue a career in healthcare. My personal experience is that, at Sanofi, people from different backgrounds are given equal opportunities, which creates a very motivating and productive atmosphere. The good work is awarded. I am very happy to be part of it! I am most proud of my achievements: coming from a different country, working very hard in some of the best scientific institutes in Germany and finally becoming a lab head in one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world! This was my dream. It is all about the patient. The goal of all our hard work and dedication is to be able to provide a better life to patients."

Portrait of Elisabeth Defossa

Dr. Elisabeth Defossa

Laboratory Head, Integrated Drug Discovery, Synthetic Medicinal Modalities

"When I finished my Ph.D. (a long time ago), my biggest wish was to work in the pharmaceutical industry to help making patients’ lives better. And even after 28 years of working as a scientist, I am still proud of that. Sanofi’s strong R&D platform and its teams offer the possibility to work on new ideas and provide the chance to turn them into success stories. In my role as a scientist, one of my daily challenges is working with and leading a team that is searching for a new and efficient mechanism for a glucose-responsive insulin in the treatment of diabetes. This would potentially improve how patients manage their insulin doses and would lower their risk of hypoglycemia. Reaching this goal is the mission of an interdisciplinary and diverse team of chemists, biochemists, biologists, modelers and pharmacologists. Each one is adding value through their own expertise and specialty. The team members are inspiring each other to work for the success of the project and ultimately for the benefit of the patient. But improving patients’ lives does not always mean working in a laboratory all day. Getting into personal contact with patients was exciting for me as well. After they told me about their daily life with diabetes and how they manage hurdles, I was even more inspired to do research on new drugs for them."


Portrait of Vincent Mikol

Vincent Mikol

Head of Translational Sciences

"Working with great and bright scientists to try to turn scientific discoveries into new treatment for patients to improve their health and increase their quality of life really inspires me. I am very proud of working in the pharmaceutical industry and to have contributed to the discovery of compounds that have the potential to change patients’ lives. They are our key drivers all along the way, especially in translational science where research is performed in a very patient-oriented manner. We all have personal connections with patients around us within our family and among our friends. We know they are eagerly waiting for new, effective therapy that can improve their conditions and get them back in good health."

Portrait of Olivier Fedeli

Olivier Fedeli

Head of Translational Medicine and Early Development Biomarkers and Clinical Bioanalysis

"There are many things that inspire me. My daughters inspire me every day. For example, when during breakfast before going to school, they ask me if I am going to find a new cure today. I am also fond of sailing, in particular when I compete as a crew member in a race. The complexity of sailing and the way we deal with the many parameters as a team to try to win the race inspires me in my daily work in Research and Development. Diversity is a source of wealth and part of the company culture for us at Sanofi. It makes a difference when developing a new drug for so many different people and countries. I am proud to work in the pharmaceutical industry as I truly see that our daily work aims to improve human health and can give a better life to people. My aspiration is quite simple: in my daily work, I do my best to make a difference for patients."


Portrait of Yong Qi

Yong Qi, MD

Translational Medicine Programs Lead

"We are focused on discovering and developing innovative, breakthrough medicines to solve the healthcare needs of people across the world. As a translational medicine programs lead in R&D Asia Pacific, I am very excited about the translational research projects which will be conducted in China. Sanofi will create its first Global Research Institute in China at the Suzhou Industry Park, which has an excellent eco-system gathering talented people, cutting edge technology and innovative biotech companies. I believe that we can accelerate our research pipelines to deliver multiple drug candidates for treatment of oncology diseases, autoimmune diseases and metabolic disease. I am a scientist, a drug hunter. My dream is to discover an innovative drug for the treatment of disease with unmet medical needs.  “Patients are waiting” and “empowering human life” always inspire me in the morning when I get up."