Vol. 4 No. 6 April 2006


BE.180 Programming

BE.109 Lab

Pfizer Tour

Lauffenburger Interview

Student Research

Printable Version

The BioTECH Quarterly

Pfizer Scientists and Engineers Introduce Cambridge Research Facility

By Ling Xu ’07

   Mid-afternoon on Friday, March 10th, around 20 members of MIT BE-BMES visited Pfizer’s Research Technology Center in Cambridge, located on Memorial Drive by the beautiful vista of Charles River. This was part of another highly popular BE-BMES Industrial Tour event.

   With ~100 employees, this was one of the smaller scale research centers that Pfizer holds. However, the “minuscule” facility and the small number of employees does not fail to testify the innovative biopharmaceutical research that Pfizer participates in. Packed with cutting-edge research projects in biology, chemistry, and informatics, the facility nevertheless stands as an important component of Pfizer’s discovery research. In addition, the Pfizer employees who gave the tour constantly emphasized how this small size especially benefits them, in that they may gain more knowledge regarding all aspects of research that’s going on at the place.

    The students were greeted by our principle tour host, Mr. Keith Hoffmaster, who, along with his colleagues, at the start gave the students a short introductory talk regarding the pharmaceutical industry on behalf of Pfizer’s standpoint. Mr. Hoffmaster’s relaxed personality and entertaining discussion immediately made the students very comfortable and doubly testified the one fact that he keeps on emphasizing: that employees at this facility enjoys a very laid-back but exciting work style.

    Many students found the site’s facilities and research very appealing. “I thought the Pfizer tour gave us great insight into how the world's largest pharmaceutical company works. This exposure to the early research phase of the pharma industry is cutting edge and very exciting,” said Matthew Kaser, ’07. Furthermore, Many student became excited when they saw the highly automated technology that allowed high throughput processing of cell culture. “It would be nice to have one of those”, one students commented.

    The hosts remained very enthusiastic during the tour, welcoming student questions and comments. They also highlighted the inventions and contributions that MIT BE professors made to construct some of the advanced devices that were utilized at the site.

The tour was hosted by Keith Hoffmaster, Ph.D. and organized by Ling Xu. Special thanks to Prof. Linda Griffith.

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