“It’s a chance encounter that I stumbled upon pharmacometrics, and I was very lucky”

Qing Xi is a testament to the international spirit at Pharmetheus. She is originally from Malaysia but has studied both in the UK and in New Zealand. She is now based at Pharmetheus’ head office in Uppsala – but makes frequent trips across the world.

Dr. Qing Xi Ooi, Senior Consultant, Pharmetheus


Qing Xi describes how, like her entire family, she has always been the math and science kid and how when she got a scholarship and a chance to study pharmacy at the University of Manchester, UK, she moved there without hesitation. At the time she didn’t know about pharmacometrics, but she did enjoy pharmacokinetics, which is somewhat related to pharmacometrics. Pharmacokinetic models are used when performing quantitative analysis of patient drug interactions.

After her bachelor’s degree she moved back to Malaysia to work as a pharmacist but felt she wanted to do more quantitative work. She got the opportunity to work at a clinical research center and managed to acquire some data analysis skills. One day she read a paper on pharmacometrics by Professor Nick Holford, and Professor Mats Karlsson, one of the co-founders of Pharmetheus, and realized that this was the field where she wanted to work. 

Qing Xi started a Ph.D. at the University of Otago in New Zealand with Professor Stephen Duffull. She describes this time as inspiring and Professor Duffull as full of exciting ideas. 

“It’s a chance encounter, I would say, that I stumbled upon, pharmacometrics, and I was very lucky to have a great Ph.D. supervisor, because the Ph.D. experience could drive you either way.”

During her studies she did an internship at the pharmaceutical company Novartis in their unit for pharmacometrics and statistics where she worked on the development of a tool for model evaluation. Around this time she applied  for a job at Pharmetheus, and Qing Xi describes why:

“It was a great opportunity to further develop my skills, as Uppsala is the center of excellence within pharmacometrics”


She moved to Uppsala in 2019 to start her job. The work can be described as divided into three parts. Being a senior consultant, Qing Xi supports clients with hands-on analysis and provides strategic advice on drug development. She is deputy project portfolio team leader and manages resources in projects. Lastly, she works as an embedded pharmacometrician at a medium-sized pharmaceutical company. Being an embedded scientist means working as a pharmacometrician resource in a pharmaceutical company. Qing Xi says that working as an embedded scientist gives her understanding of how Pharmetheus better can support the drug development process.

“We provide strategic advice, and with me as embedded scientist, the pharmaceutical companies benefit from all my colleagues’ knowledge and experience”

One of the things Qing Xi appreciates most about Pharmetheus is the opportunity to grow and improve her pharmacometrics skills. She says this has been the case since she first started her job.

“Even when I was more junior at Pharmetheus, I was given the opportunity to present work to clients. Of course, I had some support from senior consultants, but I think this was very valuable for me and it made me grow faster. I could interact with the client while still in a safe environment.”

The majority of her time is spent at the Pharmetheus head office in Uppsala, Sweden, and she appreciates the possibility of a hybrid working policy. She likes that her colleagues are based all over the world, because belonging to a community like this is rewarding in many ways.

“I haven’t just found inspiration for my professional life, I have found valuable friendship through my work, something I did not take for granted.”