My name is Nicole and by the end of this year I plan to graduate from the MS in Pharmacology and Toxicology program with a concentration in Toxicology. After graduating with a BS in biological sciences from Wayne State University, I moved to Madison, Wisconsin to pursue a career as a chemist with a pharmaceutical contract research organization. Working as a chemist in the drug metabolism group, I have performed many types of in vitro assays to assess the pharmacokinetics of compounds in the early phases of drug development. Thanks in part to this MS program, I will soon be taking on a new role at the same company where I will work as a lead scientist to help direct bioanalytical study work.
I was interested in the MS program at Michigan State because, most importantly, I wanted to better understand the science behind the work that I did in a drug metabolism lab. Additionally, many of my colleagues have completed this program and used their degree to move out of the lab and into positions that offered greater scientific oversight of the research we do. This program has offered me a firmer grasp of the work that I performed regularly in the lab; rather than taking standard procedures for granted, I understand the rationale behind the procedure and can make more informed decisions. For example, if my lab work revealed that a test compound can induce the activity of specific cytochrome P450 enzymes in human hepatocytes, I can now fully appreciate the gravity of a potential drug-drug interaction that could result. This program has allowed me to put the work I do every day into the context of the bigger picture of drug development.
From this program, I hoped to learn more about the drug development process and specifically my role in the process as a chemist working in drug metabolism. This program has taught me a lot about the drug development process, but in many ways, it exceeded my expectations. The wide variety of available elective courses has enabled me to customize my program to my own interests. Throughout my time in the program, I have found that I am especially interested in toxicology and I have had the opportunity to explore that interest by taking courses that range from introductory to highly specialized. Additionally, the courses required for the MS program have proven to be beneficial not only for my success in the program, but also for my own professional development. My understanding of statistical reasoning, written communication, and the research process have all come up in my job and will continue to be essential skills in my future. Enrolling in the MS in Pharmacology and Toxicology program at Michigan State has been a decision that has helped to guide my career and I am excited to see what future opportunities are presented to me thanks to what I have learned in this program.