August 11, 2013
I knew that I wanted to work in academia and run a research lab. I had a list of several places where I could conceivably find mentors and collaborators that would enable me to succeed in my field. Michigan was one of those options. At the same time UM happened to be looking for a junior faculty member with expertise in my field. It was somewhat serendipitous. I haven't been here long but I love this city. It is very reminiscent of Chapel Hill, a small city built around a University with progressive ideals and beautiful scenery.
I truly enjoy what I do and who I work with, however, it is difficult to be a junior faculty member in a new city. Most of my colleagues are established and married, which severely limits my outlets for social interaction. That is why I am seeking other opportunities to meet people in my age range with similar interests.
There are so many things I like about my work. As an independent investigator I get to choose what questions I want to answer, what problems I want solve, and what projects I want to work on. I like that I could find something that no one has seen or known before, and then I get to tell the world about it. I like to think about things in ways that haven't been thought about previously and try to figure out how to apply those concepts to improving patient care. I particularly love doing these things at University of Michigan. I have been blown away at both the level of expertise and the openness to collaboration. In the short time that I have been here I have met with experts from a wide range of fields who want to work together on exciting projects. Nearly anything that I need is available to me at UM. I have been given an extremely rare opportunity and I am extraordinarily thankful for it.
I work for the UM College of Pharmacy in the Department of Clinical, Social, and Administrative Sciences. Part of our department is the clinical faculty who work directly with patients overseeing their pharmacotherapy and teach our professional PharmD students. The other part of our faculty, of which I am a member, are translational researchers. Our job is to perform research that has direct application to improving patient care. We utilize any model system, from cells to animals to computer simulations, to understand the processes underlying diseases and discover new ways to treat them, or to take current treatment paradigms and optimize them.
My specific field is pharmacogenetics. It is the study of how a patient's genetics influence their response to therapy. I work in cancer specifically, focusing mainly on the genetic predictors of drug toxicity. In addition to looking at patient genetics, I am now transitioning into using variability in drug exposure to guide the treatment for individual patients.
I recently moved to Ann Arbor and look forward to meeting new people.