To stay in touch, S-A associates invite scientists to speak, share - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

To stay in touch, S-A associates invite scientists to speak, share

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Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 8:11 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Science is getting "more and more complicated," observes chemist Jacques Mauger, a leader research investigator at the Sanofi-aventis Tucson Research Center in Oro Valley.

"You cannot master everything," said Mauger, a veteran in his field. Modern science, then, involves "a network of people."

"You never do research in isolation," agrees John Okonya, a Sanofi-aventis chemist and senior research investigator. "You have to stay in touch with the outside world."

Mauger, Okonya and Sanofi-aventis biologist and senior research investigator Teri Suzuki help their peers stay in touch with the latest in scientific activity and study by organizing regular seminars with academic and scientific leaders on the Oro Valley campus.

Suzuki, Okonya and Mauger serve to coordinate scientific information forums for Sanofi-aventis associates once or twice a month. Topics are "driven by our associates," Okonya said.

"We try to pick things that people will be interested in," Suzuki said. The company gives "a lot of freedom" to the organizers and associates, she noted. "We can pretty much pick our speakers," Suzuki said.

Many of the speakers are in academics, many of them at the University of Arizona. "They spend a whole day or two" making presentations and participating in discussions, Suzuki said. "They learn from us as much as we learn from them. They keep us current."

Mauger shared an example of meeting a UA professor at a social gathering. "We are asking her to come and speak," he said.

Dr. David Harris, a University of Arizona professor who leads Cord Blood Registry in Tucson, came to the Sanof-aventis campus to speak. "We brought him in to share with us what they do," and to discuss "areas of common interest," Okonya said. Such research is "a hot area of pursuit in medicine."

The forum's purpose is "really to promote and facilitate scientific discovery," as well as "outreach to the scientific community" and a chance to learn about "cutting edge" science, Okonya said. "We can keep abreast with developments in the fields we are working in."

"They are a good education and training opportunity, a good way to recruit talented people, and a good way to share our know-how, and in return learn from others," Suzuki said.

Periodically, speakers come from within the company.

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