Biostatistician

In this blog we talk to Paola Scrigner, Biostatistician of CROS NT, to find out more on her career path, achievements, current role at CROS NT and her interests outside of work.

Paola Scrigner_BiostatisticianHow did you identify Statistics as the right career for you?

I have always liked math, and I have always considered it to be a science where intuition and imagination, two of my favourite skills, play an important role. When I had to get my Bachelor’s degree I had no doubts that Statistics was the right path. I had the opportunity to experiment with different types of statistics: statistics for insurance during the Bachelor’s studies and statistics for business and marketing when I was getting my Master’s degree. At the end of my undergraduate program I started studying biostatistics, the field where I currently work and that I find the most fascinating type of statistics.

You also teach at the University of Bologna. Do you believe that your work experience at CROS NT has influence on your university career?

As a biostatistician in CROS NT I regularly face new challenges. For example, during particularly busy periods I might work on several projects at the same time, each with its own strict deadline. The only way to guarantee success in such situations is to have strong inner discipline and self-organisation. These two skills are extremely important also for my university career. Moreover, regular internal meetings at CROS NT allowed me to boost my public speaking skills, which are indispensable for teaching at the university.

What most inspires you about working within the Life Science field?

Working as biostatistician in Life Sciences is never boring. I love how much I can learn from my work in clinical research – not only about biostatistics, but also quality assurance, regulatory and whatnot. I also enjoy being part of the team. In our projects, each of us contribute to success – it is like adding your piece to a common puzzle to create a big picture. Finally, I am thrilled to see that statistics that I have studied at the university contributes to improvement of patients’ lives.

What has been the most interesting project in CROS NT so far?

I am really enjoying a study on malaria I am working on at the moment – it is incredibly challenging but at the same time fascinating and rewarding!

What types of advice would you give to your students if they decide to work as biostatisticians?

I would tell them to be curious, because I think this is where success in biostatistics starts. Every study has its peculiarities and difficulties and if you are motivated to learn more about them, you will grow quickly as biostatistician. What is more, I would advise them not to be discouraged because at first the field of clinical research seems intimidatingly complex. At the beginning of my career it was the same for me and sometimes, it still is. However, nothing compares to the feeling of figuring it out! I would even say that this makes work in Life Sciences never boring.

What are your personal values?

I believe in determination, teamwork and honesty.

What are your main interests outside of work?

I rHobby_Photoeally love spending time in the open air, hiking, cycling, sailing and camping. My favourite place is a seaside at the sunset! I recently went on a 5-day trekking tour with my CROS NT colleagues – we started from Bologna and arrived to Florence. It was an unforgettable experience! I have always had a hidden passion for dancing, I recently tried hip hop and salsa, and I would like to do more of it!

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