Interview with Dr. Eric Mertz

Dr. Eric Mertz headshotA change of pace, a problem to solve.

That was the irresistible combination that brought us Dr. Eric Mertz.

“I enjoy having a new challenge every day and tackling new problems,” Mertz said of his PSI experience so far. “I feel like I am always learning something new and interesting.”

We think it is impressive that Eric is still learning something each day, considering his rich background, both in the classroom, and in the lab. The journey began with a chemistry major at Grinnell College in Iowa. Then, Eric earned his PhD in chemistry from the University of Illinois. He specialized in organic chemistry, nucleic acids and macromolecules.

“Some people criticized my background as unfocused, but I always saw it as a strength.”

That diversity immediately started to pay off, as Eric launched his career with two large pharma companies over the next ten years. There, he tackled drug discovery and development, from early stage exploratory projects to the start of Phase I trials.  But even with that success, Eric knew he hadn’t quite found his ultimate niche just yet.

“Although there were many benefits to working in big pharma, I always imagined working at a small company.”

That’s why when his wife got the chance to join the faculty at Radford University, the Mertz family jumped at the chance to relocate, and refocus.

Enter PSI – the small company with the opportunity to put his big science skills to work. Eric now finds his home in the chromatography lab, dealing primarily with Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry projects.

“I saw it as a great way to use my skills in a different direction and develop many new experiences along the way.”

Of course, the switch doesn’t come without its challenges.

“Each project is so unique. There is never a clear blueprint. There are so many different things that could be tried, yet time is finite.”

However, Eric learned to relish his challenges long ago. Although he may be new to the PSI team, it didn’t take much time for him to confirm what he hoped and believed he would find in the lab.

“It was not so much of a surprise, but more of an affirmation: It is remarkable what a team of people can accomplish when everyone is aligned and puts aside their personal agendas.”

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