Interview with Mirjana Kujacic
Mirjana Kujacic, MD, Ph.D
Senior Global Patient Safety Physician at AstraZeneca
How did you become interested in the field of oligonucleotides?
I became involved in the field of oligonucleotides from the patient safety perspective. I am working on the early projects; we do have several oligo projects in this area. To understand a clinical safety profile of the oligos is still a challenging task.
Who were your early mentors? What is special about the type of research/work you’ve done?
Actually, I did not have any mentors. However, I have tried to understand both myself together with my colleagues in the company as to what are the clinical safety profiles of the oligos. As far as I can see, this information is currently rather limited.
How did you become involved in OTS?
I became involved in OTS through my company. Currently, there are not too many possibilities to understand what the latest news is and meet and discuss with peers. OTS meetings (every year) and FDA meeting (every other year) are the only opportunities (as far as I can see). This is not enough for this emerging area in my opinion.
Why do you continue to support the OTS?
There is a lot of preclinical information, still lot of chemistry discussion, but how does all that translate to the clinic? There are a lot of things that we still need to understand about the clinical safety profile of oligos and OTS provides that forum.
What is special about the type of research/work you’ve done?
I am involved in the early clinical trials with several oligos.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Opera, concerts, theater, skiing in the winter, spending holidays in the south, e.g. Spain (which should be understandable taking into account the climate in Sweden)
Any other fun facts/tidbits you’d like us to know! (What book you’re currently reading? A unique hobby?
Right now I am reading books from Peter Handke (the literature Nobel price laurate for 2019). It is amazing (and for me not so easy to understand) why his books created such a huge reaction in many countries (included Sweden). Could it be as simple as so that not so many people read it? And we have two amazing cats – they participate very actively in the meetings, in case that I call from home. And sometimes, they put me on the mute!