Ronnie Yeager, PhD, DABT
What company do you currently work with, what is your profession, and how long have you been a member of ACT?
At AbbVie, I’m a senior principal scientist (Toxicology) supporting discovery and development programs (primarily oncology) and based at the North Chicago headquarters. I’ve been an ACT member since 2015.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be an electrician, like my dad. However, I found out in elementary school that I am red-green color blind; my dad thoughtfully suggested I consider something else. My high school basketball coach really inspired me, so going into undergrad I was planning to be a teacher/coach.
What was the path that brought you to where you are now in your career?
I grew up in Washington state, across the water from Seattle, and attended undergrad at Western Washington University in beautiful Bellingham, Washington. I moved to Bloomington, Indiana, for grad school at Indiana University, which led to a postdoc opportunity in Dr. Klaassen’s lab at the University of Kansas Medical Center (great science, BBQ, and Jayhawks basketball!). I then joined Abbott Labs, from which AbbVie was formed in 2013. There have been several key people instrumental in mentoring me and helping to shape my career path—THANK YOU SO MUCH!
What has been your most rewarding career-related or personal project or experience to date?
Among the most fun personal experiences: As a cyclist, I’ve been fortunate to ride in Maui several times, and completing the West Maui Loop is incredible. The climbs, views, and shaved iced at the mid-point . . . nothing beats it!
What’s the last book you read, and would you recommend it?
The last two books that have really captured my attention were Pappyland and Creativity, Inc. Pappyland is about life, family, and of course, world-class bourbon. Creativity, Inc. is a behind-the-scenes look at Pixar, with several learnings and practices applicable to fields beyond film/entertainment, including drug discovery/development.
Tell us three skills that have helped you grow in your career.
(1) Be engaged (fully present). (2) Be your authentic self (candid, transparent, let your personality show). (3) Never lose the drive (and courage) to ask “Why?”
If you could switch places with anyone for one day, who would it be and why?
My son Landon. He just turned 11 and has developmental challenges due to a rare genetic condition. He is nonverbal, and I would love to know what his world looks and sounds like. The beauty that he sees, what is funny, what makes him scared or sad . . . all the things I’d love to ask him.
Vincent A. Murphy, PhD, Newsletter Subcommittee Member