Women in Science: Dr. Mitali Gaurav, Assistant Director, Pharmacometrics

The first algorithm ever developed for processing by machine was designed by Ada Lovelace, a pioneering mathematician in the 19th century. Her work laid the foundation for computer science and, by extension, the modeling and simulation considered standard in our industry today.

Although women currently only make up a third of researchers worldwide, throughout history they have made significant contributions to science and continue to make an impact in STEM. In our Women in Science series, we highlight the work of some of those women—and today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Mitali Gaurav, Assistant Director of Pharmacometrics.


What career did you imagine for yourself as a child?

Growing up, I aspired to become a doctor.


What career did you plan to pursue when you began college? If different than before, how did that change of mind come about?

In high school, I learned about the field of pharmacy and was impressed by its diversity and the opportunities it offered to help others. I decided to apply to pharmacy school to become a clinical pharmacist. However, as I progressed through the course, I became interested in clinical trials, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics (PK/PD). This change in interest led me to shift my career goal toward becoming a PK/PD scientist. To achieve this goal, I attended additional courses and training and pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacometrics to help me move in this direction.


What was your first job out of college?

I completed several internships during my time as a student to gain experience in various areas of the pharmacy field. However, my first job after obtaining my PharmD and completing postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacometrics was as a pharmacometrician at Simulations Plus.


How did you end up in your current role?

I was promoted to my current role after starting as a Pharmacometrician I at Simulations Plus.


What does your current role entail?

My current job is extremely interesting! I work on various medical indications and different phases of drug development extending from pre-clinical to late stages of clinical trial and drug development. This means I get to work on various kinds of projects ranging from performing NCA to PK, PK/PD, and ER analysis to writing analysis plans and reports. I also get the opportunity to do clinical pharmacology consultations, help and contribute to protocol, and clinical trial planning, write and review regulatory documents, as well as assist with NONMEM workshops and internal processes. Overall, I find my job very rewarding as it allows me to work on different projects, learn new skills, and contribute to the development of new drugs that have the potential to improve people’s lives.


What is your favorite part of this job?

To be honest, I love every aspect of my job. I enjoy performing analysis, overcoming challenges, learning new skills, interacting with clients, and seeing the drug move from one phase to another until it gets approved. But above all, what I love the most is seeing how our work contributes to drug development and helps bring new treatments to society, especially to those in need.


What is one of your proudest professional accomplishments?

One of my proudest professional accomplishments was working on a drug that recently received FDA approval. I had been working on the project for a few years, alongside a team of dedicated scientists and professionals. Witnessing the approval of this drug was an incredibly rewarding experience for me. Knowing that I played a part in creating a treatment that could significantly improve the lives of patients fills me with a sense of pride and purpose. I am grateful for the opportunity to have contributed to such an important project, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on patients’ lives.


What is an obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

At times, I have found myself in situations where I am required to work on multiple projects with conflicting deadlines. This can be a daunting task, as it requires me to manage my time and resources effectively to ensure I deliver quality work within the stipulated timelines. In such situations, I have to be extremely organized and focused, constantly reviewing my progress and making adjustments as necessary. Additionally, I have to strike a balance between my personal and professional life, which can be challenging, but I have learned to prioritize and manage my time efficiently to overcome this obstacle.


What traits and/or habits have helped you succeed?

I have found that creating a detailed to-do list, prioritizing my tasks, and allocating specific time slots for each have been instrumental in boosting my productivity and efficiency. Additionally, taking small breaks when I feel exhausted has also been beneficial in maintaining my productivity and focus throughout the day. Also, being curious, and eager to learn along with my ability to think critically has helped me succeed.


What would you tell other women considering a career in STEM?

STEM is challenging but rewarding field where you can make a real difference. There are also vast opportunities in this field. STEM is constantly evolving and there is always something new to learn and explore. You will find something that suits you. The field of STEM offers limitless possibilities for those who are passionate about it. Don’t let any stereotypes hold you back from pursuing your dreams. Your unique perspective and skills are valuable and needed in the world of STEM.


Did you have a role model that influenced your decision to work in science?

I didn’t have to look far for a role model and inspiration—it was my mother. As a science teacher, she instilled in me a sense of curiosity and encouraged my interest in science. Her support and guidance have been a driving force in my decision to pursue a career in this field.


This is the fourth installment of our Women in Science blog series. If you’d like to read about other professional women working in modeling and simulation, visit our Resource Center.