October 21, 2023

Let’s Get Chemical! Meet the Chemistry Majors at PiVOT

Meet Sheng Dacalos and Sofie Estaniel, Chemistry Majors Turned PiVOT Clinical Research Associates

Chemistry plays a vital role in our everyday lives, from the food we eat to the medicines we take. For National Chemistry Week, we at PiVOT, a leading Philippine contract research organization, are proud to celebrate this important field and the incredible individuals who contribute to it. In this #WeArePiVOTAL campaign, we shine the spotlight on two remarkable employees, Sheng Dacalos and Sofie Estaniel, both Chemistry Majors turned Clinical Research Associates at PiVOT. Join us as we delve into their inspiring journey and their invaluable contributions to the world of clinical research.

Sheng Dacalos: A Passionate Chem Tech with a Drive for Excellence

Sheng Dacalos, a dedicated chemistry major, has always been fascinated by the intricate world of Biowavers and BA/BE. After completing her degree, she worked in third-party testing labs, pharma distribution, and hospital-assigned instrumentation. Sheng joined PiVOT as a Clinical Research Associate, where she combined her passion for chemistry with her desire to make a difference in the healthcare industry. With her keen eye for detail and analytical mindset, Sheng plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and efficacy of clinical trials conducted at PiVOT.

Sofie Estaniel: Empowering Lives through Chemistry and Research

Sofie Estaniel, a talented chemistry major with a minor in business studies, has found her calling in the field of clinical research. Her deep understanding of regulatory compliance and clinical trial documentation, combined with her unwavering commitment to improving patient outcomes, makes her an invaluable asset to PiVOT. As a Clinical Research Associate, she works tirelessly to ensure that every study adheres to the highest standards of quality and ethical practices. Her dedication to her work and her ability to think critically have earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues.

Q: How did you get interested in clinical research?

Sheng: My mentor, Ms. Edna L. Liwag, taught me about Biowavers and BA/BE. She taught me how to develop and validate methods of analysis of human specimens. I found this work interesting and wanted to learn more about how clinical research can be used to improve human health.

Sofie: I’ve always had an affinity for research, so when I had the opportunity to work as a study coordinator for Ophthalmology Clinical Trials, I jumped at it.


Q: What are some of the benefits and challenges of being a CRA with a background in chemistry?



Sheng: You can learn more about the current trends in the healthcare industry and how drugs and other medical products are developed.

Sofie: You get a deeper understanding of how a drug/vaccine or medical device is produced prior to release in the mass market.


Sheng: There may be a lot of adjustment required if you don’t have a background in life science or clinical research unless you have a hospital/clinic training.

Sofie: Showing extreme patience and resilience when encountering troublesome staff or investigators.

Q: Can you give us an example of a time when your chemistry knowledge was helpful in your role as a CRA?


Sheng: My background in chemistry helps me understand laboratory manuals and interim analyses of early-phase clinical trials more easily.

Sofie: My background in chemistry helps me understand the early phases of a clinical trial and how a study drug is formulated. 

Q: What advice would you give to other Chemistry majors who are interested in becoming CRAs?

Sheng: Study life science harder. It’s a bit of a different world from chemistry, but it’s essential for understanding the biological processes that underlie clinical trials. Develop your social skills (which we don’t really develop when you’re alone in the lab) CRAs need to be able to communicate effectively with a variety of stakeholders.

Sofie: Take additional courses in pharmacology or related fields. This will help you to better understand the drugs and devices that are being tested in clinical trials.

Q: As a Chemistry Major and a CRA, what are your thoughts on the future of clinical research?

Sheng: As a chemistry major and CRA, gathering more data and innovating new drugs are essential to improving healthcare services and systems. I envision a future where people are more aware and educated about the causes and benefits of clinical research, and where more people are willing to participate in clinical trials.

Sofie: Clinical research is an important part of improving and advancing healthcare. It is especially vital in today’s climate of pandemics and epidemics, where we need to be able to quickly develop and deploy new vaccines and treatments. I am excited to see what the future holds for clinical research, and I believe that it has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of millions of people.



National Chemistry Week serves as a reminder of chemistry’s vital role in our everyday lives. It is an opportunity to recognize the contributions of professionals like Sherly and Sofie, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to improve healthcare outcomes through their expertise in chemistry and clinical research.

At PiVOT, we are proud to have Sherly and Sofie as part of our team. Their unwavering dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to excellence inspire us all.


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