Where They’re Headed: Brett Mozarsky ’21

The chemistry major is testing the efficacy and safety of drugs in clinical cancer trials at the National Cancer Institute.

Brett Mozarsky ’21 is now working as a Cancer Research Training Award fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Mozarsky, a chemistry major with a biochemistry concentration, works in a clinical pharmacology lab under William Douglas Figg, Sr. and Cody Peer. 

“Our laboratory provides pharmacokinetic research support for many Phase I and II clinical trials for novel cancer therapeutics and treatments,” said Mozarsky. “In other words, we utilize analytical chemistry to examine what the human body does to a cancer drug once it has been taken by the patient.”

The lab’s research is a crucial step in NCI’s clinical cancer trials because it determines whether drugs are safe and effective. These drugs could potentially help cancer patients who have exhausted all standard and FDA-approved therapies. 

“I was drawn to the possibility of making a significant and meaningful contribution to the development of novel therapeutics and helping those who are likely experiencing the most difficult medical hardship in their lifetimes,” he said. “I am always eager to learn more about advancements in the field and apply my knowledge to real-world problems and situations.”

This is not the first time that Mozarsky has worked for meaningful solutions to current-day problems. At the start of the pandemic, the rising senior launched Free For the Frontlines Tutors, a complimentary virtual tutoring service for children of frontline workers, and enlisted the help of college students from across the country, including at Haverford, to offer the academic support. (It was featured on Good Morning America, CNN, and ABC News.) 

He discovered his passion for the field of chemistry at college and credits Haverford’s chemistry department with preparing him for his latest opportunity–personally and professionally. 

“I fell in love with chemistry after reluctantly taking organic chemistry during my sophomore year, and I truly have not looked back since then,” he said. “I cannot thank my professors, especially Karin Åkerfeldt and Lou Charkoudian, enough for helping develop my curiosity and encouraging me to pursue what has become one of my passions.”

Mozarsky plans to take this hands-on experience with clinical and chemical research on cancer therapeutics into a future career developing precision therapeutics, personalized medical technologies that address cancer or other diseases. 

“The CRTA fellowship will provide me with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in clinical and chemical research on cancer therapeutics, as well as a larger perspective on how the field is changing and materializing moving forward,” he said. “In addition, the experiences and skills I will gain while at the NIH will allow me to become a better, more insightful scientist with the goal of helping improve the lives of those in need.”

“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series chronicling the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.