Have you met...Nuno Guitian Oliveira?

Nuno finished his PhD, worked as a consultant and has experience in regulatory and medical affairs within healthcare industries. These gave him the needed skills to become a Global MSL Excellence Associate Director at Merck.

Nuno Guitian Oliveira is a Biomedical engineer. He has conducted his PhD (in Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing) in collaboration with Altakitin and Ceramed, two Portuguese corporations specialized in developing, manufacturing and marketing biomaterials and medical devices. Right now, as part of the Global Medical Science Liaison (MSL) Excellence team and based in Germany, Nuno ensures that Merck attracts, develops & retains best-in-class Neurology MSLs across multiple regions.

Nuno Guitian Oliveira, Germany

In your opinion, what is the most important skill set young scientists should have when considering moving from academia to the industry?
Understanding and being able to apply your (hard) skills and know-how in different contexts, according to existing needs, is key. For me, as important as this, is also: (i) teamwork skills - ability to integrate and work within a team by creating and maintaining a “healthy” relationship with your colleagues; and (ii) communication skills -  ability to present something or communicate with your team and other colleagues any kind of achievements, insights, or challenges in a clear way is key!

Considering that you work on a big pharma, do you have a guess of what will be the major breakthrough in science in the next 20 years?
I believe the impact of the evolving digital and technology industry will increase in the next years, especially in healthcare and wellbeing. I think we are moving to an era where medical solutions will be more personalized, according to the patients’ needs.

If you hadn’t studied Biomedical engineering and weren’t working in Medical Affairs, what would you be doing instead?
I think I would have studied business/management. Right now I am indirectly responsible for a large group of MSLs spread across different countries and I really enjoy working and supervising such a diverse group of people. I don’t think your degree defines you or what you will do. Ultimately, it’s a very common transition for a scientist or engineer (regardless of their path) to become some type of manager and become responsible for a team.

When you have a bad day at work, what is your strategy to boost your mood?
If it involves others, I reach out to them and try to clarify and solve any possible existing issues. Talking is always vital to solve problems in an effective and fast way. To relax and boost my mood, I try to disconnect from work by being with my family and friends, as well as doing some sports.

After completing your PhD, you went from product development to regulatory affairs specialist. How did this transition happen?
Actually, it happened naturally! As my PhD was done in partnership with two medical devices companies (Ceramed and Altakitin), I had the opportunity to join one of their partners – Astrolabe Medical – not only to contribute to the development of new medical devices for orthopedic applications but also to deal with the clinical and regulatory aspects required to put a medical device in the market. This includes knowing the type of tests that should be performed, the expected results and also talk to the regulatory entities.

During your PhD, how associated were you with the go-to-market strategy of the product you were developing?
My relationship with the companies I was collaborating with during the PhD was great, everyone knew, trusted and supported each other, and this was reflected in some of our achievements: 1 patent, 3 publications and several go-to-market strategies for different applications. The companies already had a huge know-how on medical devices and had already identified some of the market needs, and this experience was key during all the phases of the PhD.

How does your typical work day look like?
Everyday is different [laughing]! I collaborate with a large number of stakeholders, from different functions, beyond Medical Affairs, and across multiple regions around the world, which allows me to travel and work with different teams on different projects quite often, making it difficult to have or describe a typical work day. As I'm currently focused on neurology and, more specifically, on the launch of a new product for patients with multiple sclerosis, I dedicate part of my time to study and learn more about the disease and the different products, giving me the opportunity to expand my knowledge while working on my daily activities.

Did you like to know about Nuno's path? Indeed it took a lot of perseverance but he always knew what he wanted from the start! 
Soon we will share more people with you, stay tuned...and send us your questions and feedback!