My first-hand experience with neurological diseases gives me the passion and motivation to go out and try to tackle really hard questions.”
For Angela Jablonski, Ph.D., the fight against Alzheimer's disease is a personal one.
"People very close to me developed dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and it was extremely hard to watch their struggles – not being able to do their regular activities or remember names, memories or loved ones," she recalls. "When a disease targets the brain, it takes away a part of our identity and our memory -- what makes us us.
Angela says that her personal experiences with loss and diseases like Alzheimer’s forced her to look inside herself. "I asked myself why these things were happening, and I couldn’t answer that question. But I believe those experiences and witnessing the pain it caused gave me the passion and motivation to tackle challenging neurological diseases. My family’s struggles are why I get up in the morning and keep going."
Angela originally came to Merck after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania to participate in our MRL Postdoctoral Research Fellow program.
"With the Merck postdoc, I was able to experience drug discovery first hand, versus taking a class or reading about it in a book. I knew that if I came to Merck, if I made an important discovery, it would be here, with people who can really turn an idea into a therapy or a target for a new drug or a new treatment for a disease. That's why I picked Merck."
In her two years working in the rotation, Angela says she was encouraged to publish and travel to present her work. "While a postdoc, I got to do research that I was pushed to publish and share on an international level. I was able to go to Ireland to present at a prestigious conference for my field and interact with people who are considered the world's experts on neurodegenerative diseases. I was proud to share my research with them. Merck gave me the opportunity to travel, see the world and meet outstanding scientists from multiple backgrounds."
Now with her postdoc completed, Angela has decided to stay on at Merck as a senior scientist, working on neurological diseases in our West Point labs. "Looking back, I couldn't have made a better decision than to come to Merck. It was the right one. I'm glad I took the opportunity when it came. I look back just at the short time I've been here and I'm already a better scientist, I'm a better person, and I'm a better employee."