• People
  • Blog Post
  • Video

Carolin Riehl

Publish Date

19 DEC 2022


What does the pharmaceutical development of a tablet have in common with music? Much like conducting an orchestra, all components must be optimally coordinated to produce safe and efficacious medicines. Let Carolin show you how much rehearsal is needed to get the magnum opus up to the drug stage.

Material Characterization – Enabling prediction of drug product processability

What inspired you to become a scientist?

I was always keen on learning new things and challenging the status quo. In science, you need an intrinsic motivation to innovate, discover and develop. It might be in small steps, sometimes, but science enables changes and progress, which still is very inspiring to me and provides motivation to drive knowledge a little bit further every single day.

How did you get into your field of research?

Everything starts with a question and with the need to understand a certain problem or filling a gap in knowledge. A very specific real-world problem in our pipeline was the kick-off for the sophisticated material characterization activities we are carrying out today. It was just at the end of my PhD thesis when this came up and I was entrusted with the task to implement new technologies and concepts. Gathering those complex data soon demonstrated its benefits across the pipeline. We quickly expanded our capabilities, involved other functions, and rolled out concepts for material characterization. It was amazing to see this seed growing and finding so many ambitious and committed colleagues at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany being part of it.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Pharmaceutical development is a multidisciplinary endeavor and as pharmacists, we are in the position to be a link between pharmacologists, chemists, medical staff… and finally the patient. In this respect, pharmaceutical technology is the enabling field of bringing the idea of a new drug to the patient by creating the final dosage form. So, both the variety of tasks, challenges, and questions from different interfaces, as well as the opportunity to see “your” final product creating a benefit for patients still drives me. 

How will your research develop in the future? 

As for most of the research fields we are working on, there is a huge potential coming from digitalization. I am sure that we will benefit from additional linkage and easier access to data allowing elucidating dependencies that might be difficult to detect when data is not available in one place. There is unpredictable potential in novel technologies, like machine learning, modelling, and simulation approaches. We currently have a glimpse on the potential, which could be applied in simulation-based evaluations or new approaches in drug design. The possibilities are endless and promise a very exciting future.

What is your advice to younger scientists?

The attitude as a scientist “Everything starts with a question” perfectly aligns with a quote from Albert Einstein “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Both hold true on so many levels: Asking questions is the core of science, even if outcomes are sometimes unpredictable. It is the driver for progress and constant development, both personal and for the company. Therefore, my advice to young scientists is to never stop asking questions!

Click here to read more about understanding the multidimensional effects of polymorphism, particle size, and processing for D-mannitol powder here.