Chelsea Kosecki ’09

A woman with nurse uniform

Chelsea Kosecki ’09 is the global trial director and clinical trial head at Novartis, a pharmaceutical company. – Photography by Marie Papp Photography, Inc.

Major: Biology

Growing up with both parents in the science field, Chelsea Kosecki ’09 always had a unique interest in medicine, but she had no idea where that curiosity would take her.

“I chose to major in chemistry at VMI mostly because I adored the professors, and my dyke was a chemistry major. My twin brother [Derek Kosecki ’09] also chose chemistry [at VMI], so it felt like home,” she explained.

That comfort in the field eventually led Kosecki to a career as a lead scientist in the development of multiple cancer-curing drugs, most of which have been instrumental in treating cancer and have seen revolutionary results. Currently, she is the global trial director and clinical trial head at Novartis, a pharmaceutical company.

Her most recent work focused on KISQALI, a drug intended to treat women diagnosed with breast cancer, which entered into in its premiere investigational stage in 2013. Now, the drug is available by prescription in countries all over the world, and its impact on its patients is extraordinary.

The great passion Kosecki demonstrates through her research stems from seeing just how transformative her work on a drug can be.

“I review CT scans and MRIs of patients for hours each day. I see their cells in a microscope, and then in a couple of weeks or months, when I get to review their scans after taking my drug and see that their tumor has shrunk, or they no longer need to be on chemo – that is the most rewarding part of my job. The fact that I had a hand in extending their life so they could see their grandchildren or have a baby gives me so much joy,” Kosecki expressed.

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