Pharmacology (Co-Op) Student
I was born/grew up in: Toronto, ON Canada
I now live in: Hamilton, ON Canada
I completed my training/education at: McMaster University, Honours Biology and Pharmacology (Co-Op)
Describe what you do at work.
As an undergraduate student in biology and pharmacology, a lot of my studies involve learning about drug-drug, drug-body, and body-drug interactions. My program is structured using problem-based learning. This involves critically analyzing and researching problems that help teach fundamental principles of pharmacology. This way of learning helps combine and reinforce the elements necessary to apply to real world applications. For example, how many Tylenol tablets to take when you have a headache.
In my studies, a background in other branches of biology such as physiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology are necessary to further understand the effects of drugs. Some of these courses require laboratory work, which include looking at cell cultures and tissue analyses. From the observations and measurements, a decision about the proposed prediction must be made. In this, I work with a team of other pharmacology students. We work together to investigate how the human body and cells respond to drugs.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
Studying pharmacology is very important because it helps regulate how much of a drug a patient should take when being treated. It's important to know that drugs have different effects in different groups of people. With that, the field of pharmacology is very relevant because it's integrated with global health.
What motivates you in your career?
As a student of pharmacology, it's exciting to learn about how the body reacts to medicine and vice versa. Although there are set pharmacological principles, the conditions and reactions in the body differ between each individual. I really enjoy that my research, regardless of its outcome, will help add to world health. Knowing that what I'm doing has a purpose to serve and help people across the globe, motivates me to strive for success.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I never expected to be where I am today. In high school, I had a general idea of studying to get a bachelor's degree in science. But I never knew that pharmacology existed. I always thought that students who go into science must become doctors and nurses - but that was not me. Coming to university, I saw that there are many opportunities and careers under the umbrella of science. Pharmacology was the one program that aligned perfectly with the objectives I've always had with my career - to study medicine without having to become a doctor.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of school, I'm a fitness and music enthusiast. On my spare time, I volunteer with a non-profit youth organization to help integrate Filipino culture and music into the community. With this, I'm able to interact with and mentor a wide range of individuals who love to express themselves through music.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Stay curious. Question everything. To satisfy a curious mind, you can start by learning how everything works the way it works. For example, look at the bigger picture and see how the body responds. Then narrow your focus to learn the medicine that cause that effect.