Career Perspectives: Interview with Adam Hamm, Director of Biostatistics
At Cytel we believe that expert statistical input has the power to shape the future of clinical development: de-risking portfolios, accelerating timelines, and increasing the probability of success.
In this blog we talk to Adam who lives in North Carolina United States to find out more about his career path, achievements, current role at Cytel and his interests outside of work.
How did you identify Statistics as the right career for you?
I majored in mathematics at Virginia Tech, and wanted my career to be in a related, but more applied field. After teaching in a high school for three years, I decided to study biostatistics in graduate school. I didn’t even know that biostatistics was an actual discipline until my wife pointed it out to me while researching statistics as a career.
What are the key responsibilities for the Director of Biostatistics?
My first responsibility is to provide high quality deliverables and advice to clients to ensure they are getting the services they need. My next highest responsibility is to ensure that my team has support from me, whether that be providing the resources needed to meet their study timelines, or to provide technical support when needed.
What has been your journey to your current role at Cytel?
I have worked at a number of CROs over my fifteen years in the industry, and have worked with many extraordinary people in a variety of different fields. But I always knew that I wanted to be somewhere that put statistics and data science first, and so when the opportunity presented itself to work at Cytel, I made that jump and I have never been happier in my career than I am now. I started as a director at Cytel over two years ago and was given a wonderful and impressive team to manage a few months later. I am fortunate to have them as my team.
What career achievements are you most proud of?
I have been part of a number of different drug submissions, a few of which have been accepted by the FDA. Those are achievements that make me proud to do the type of work that I do. But, being seen as an effective team leader and manager and being able to support my team are the achievements that make me most proud.
What challenges do companies face when implementing adaptive trials?
From my experience, the biggest challenge companies face when implementing these trials is having employees experienced enough and versed well in the methodology. I have discovered that the pool of statisticians who know how to do this type of work is not a large pool and so it is key to provide those with less experience in that area the opportunities to perform those trials and to set them up for success in future adaptive trials.
What do you think the future looks like for adaptive trials?
Adaptive trials aren’t going anywhere. They may take on a variety of different names, shapes, and sizes, but I believe the only way to advance modern medicine is innovation in study designs and methodology, and adaptive trials provide the means to do that.
What would be your three top tips for early career statisticians looking to develop in this field?
1. At the beginning of your career, listen to what others with many more years of experience have to say to you and heed the advice they give you. Don’t go in believing you know how to do everything just because you have an advanced degree. 2. Working in our industry requires a sense of diplomacy when working with others. You will always be in a team environment and must be willing to listen to others’ thoughts and ideas and have meaningful conversations about them. 3. Always be willing to keep learning. This is an industry that doesn’t teach you everything you need to know in graduate school. In fact, very little of what you know will you learn in school. You must be willing to keep bettering yourself and your skill set through continuing education, conference attendance, and similar methods.
What are your personal values?
I like to ensure that data and summaries provided are true and reliable, regardless of the ramifications of the results. I also value my family and friendships and all of the collaborative professional relationships I have made over the years. They all mean so much to me.
What are your main interests outside of work?
I like being with my family first of all, especially my children. I enjoy card games and other group recreational activities because I love being around people and being competitive. I love to golf even though I am terrible, and my favorite place in the world to play golf is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!
A beautiful shot of TPC Myrtle Beach
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us and sharing your journey.
Cytel biostatisticians and programmers are active and well regarded in industry associations and communities around the world. Would you like to join our talented team? We have roles for biostatisticians, statistical programmers, and data managers at all levels across our global locations. To find out more about rewarding careers with us click below.