Molecular Pharmacology SOP

As I went up on stage to collect my award of merit on graduation day, amidst the loud clamor of applause, the Principal of my high school asked, “What do you see yourself as in the future?” I replied firmly, saying “Scientist”.

When asked today, I stand by my statement. The past four years as a student in Pharmacy has only reiterated my desire to pursue a career in research.  The idea of delving into the unknown has always enticed me. It is my passion for Human Anatomy, Pharmacology, and the Biochemistry that continues to propel me to the field of research.  In this regard, I wish to pursue a PhD in Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, focusing onNeurobiology and CNS Disorders. The program offered at University of Southern California is holistic as well as structured, and meets all the requirements of a graduate program that I aspire to be a part of.

The four year Undergraduate Pharmacy program exposed me to a vast gamut of subjects. The whole process of drug discovery, uncovering its actions in the body and pharmacokinetic properties kept me captivated from the very outset. Being a curious, determined person and an avid reader, certain puzzles have always continued to intrigue me. Diseases from something as simple as the ‘common cold’ to life threatening ones like Dengue Fever, still have no cure even with the rapid advancement of medicine. It is said that doctors save lives. I would not disagree with the statement the least bit, but would like to add that doctors save lives with the facilitation of medicine. And just the thought of putting my heart and soul into formulating a drug that might one day save lives, gives me the thrill I believe one should get out of one’s profession.

While my undergraduate program was detailed, it lacked opportunities for rigorous research. Thus to gain experience, I went on a student exchange program to Capetown, South Africa, wherein I assisted PhD students on their projects at the University of Western Cape. During this period, I rotated in different labs, and assisted researchers on a wide array of projects. The ones that particularly interested me were the projects like thesynthesis of congeners of Amantadine, a drug with anti viral properties to be used in neurodegenerative diseases as well as dengue fever. The students also aimed at merging those drug molecules with certain Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatories, to increase their lipophilicity and thus penetration into the blood brain barrier. The other project that I was an active part of was testing the anti-hypertensive properties of the drug Acystacia Gangetica on the rat, wherein I witnessed the entire procedure from the dissection of the rat to the final conclusion of the experiment. The whole program thus, not only helped me boost my confidence, and exposed me to different cultures but it also cemented my desire to pursue a career in research.

The field of Neuroscience kept me captivated, and thus upon return from the Exchange Program I continued independent research on Neurodegenerative diseases, their Etiology, and Pharmacotherapy. One of the diseases that interested me the most was Parkinson’s Disease. Research on the internet and various scientific journals assisted me in encountering Dyskinesias, a major side-effect of the drugs used for Parkinsonism, especially Levodopa, a prototype of those drugs. This motivated me into writing a paper on the Pathophysiology of Dyskinesias and advances in possible treatment options. Moreover I co authored a paper on the use of Nutraceuticals in Trauma Care, which elucidated the rapid of growth of Nutraceuticals in today’s market and their use as not only conventional  health supplements but in trauma care as well. These two papers were submitted for selection at the 63rd annual Indian Pharmaceutical Congress.

At Prin. K.M.Kundnani College of Pharmacy, a prestigious institute in Southern Mumbai, where I have consistently been among the top ten students of my class, there were a few other opportunities I was offered which got me familiarized with the legal as well as regulatory aspects of the field as well. I attended a course on Clinical Trials, conducted by the Centre for Clinical Research and Training. Another opportunity I got was while working for ‘Panache’ the monthly magazine of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association – Students’ Forum when I interviewed the Ex. director of Clinical Pharmacology at Durect corp. in California. The interview not only helped me work on my writing and editorial skills but gave me a global perspective on the job profiles of researchers and their responsibilities. Moreover, I have always kept myself updated about the latest discoveries by regularly following magazines such as Pharma Times, Pharma Buzz and other scientific journals.

The undergraduate course in India also mandates a period of industrial training with a Pharmaceutical company, wherein I worked with Aurochem Laboratories Ltd. in their Quality Control and Production units. This experience not only exposed me to the technical aspects and procedures that go into the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, but also gave me an insight into the heavy research and scrutiny that is required while formulating them. Furthermore, I undertook an internship at Manisha Laboratories Ltd. which gave me the opportunity to work in the chemical and analytical spheres of the pharmaceutical industry. I was given the opportunity to closely examine newer analytical tools such as Chromatography, Spectrophotometry and Microbiological techniques. Since analysis is one of the most fundamental aspects of testing well established active pharmaceutical ingredients, as well as those currently under study, I believe this experience will assist me in good stead in the future. The outcome of these opportunities was not only the development of my technical skills, but the fine tuning of my interpersonal skills as well as teamwork. I could not think of a vocation more perfect for me, than working in the Research and Development sector of a Pharmaceutical company one day.

John .F. Kennedy once said, “The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.”  I can’t think of a more apposite statement to describe what I expect out of a graduate research program. I strongly believe that knowledge knows no boundaries. My acceptance into the graduate program of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, at USC, will not only help mould my character, but the guidance provided by the eminent professors and connoisseurs in the sphere of research, will definitely play a part in honing my skills as a researcher and analyst as well.

Throughout life, there is a limitless array of factors that is consistently imprinting upon us. A few years down the line, when I glance through the looking glass, I see myself contributing extensively to research in the field of neuroscience. Disorders of the Nervous System have always been a topic of grave importance and interest in Medical Science.  In order to achieve my goal, the first step would be to work under the aegis of professors like _______, where I yearn to work on projects like developing novel gene therapeutics for the treatment of neurological disorders.

With the training I hope to receive at USC, I want to I strongly believe that the interpersonal skills, confidence and intellectual abilities that I will inculcate at this institution will help me thrive in the field of research and be a stepping stone to my ultimate dream, of making my mark on the world of Medical Science.