Katie Kreusel flourishing in research experiences.
Katie Kreusel has discovered there is much more to the pharmacy profession than dispensing medications.
Originally from Dacula, Georgia, Kreusel’s journey to Oxford started as she was accepted into the Early Entry Program at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. With a seat in the professional program secured, Kreusel used the opportunity to network with the school’s expert faculty and found a research mentor in David Colby, associate professor of medicinal chemistry.
“Initially, I was overwhelmed by the complexity of my project,” Kreusel said. “However, as I got to know the graduate and postdoctoral students, they became valuable mentors. The Colby lab has provided me with an environment in which I can learn the fundamentals while also developing my own sense of inquiry.”
“Dr. Colby’s mentorship has opened so many doors for me, and I am so thankful for his support in gaining a meaningful research experience.”
Her experience in the fields of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology has heightened her interest in research, as she will continue to work with Colby through her graduate courses in the pharmacy school. Her project focuses on the chemical synthesis of fluorinated organic molecules for use in the design of new treatments for drug addiction.
Kreusel has presented posters at the pharmacy school’s annual poster session, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College poster symposium and Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society Research Day, where she placed first in 2021. She’s also co-author on a manuscript in preparation to submit to a peer-reviewed journal.
It isn’t just Ole Miss that is playing a role in Kreusel’s academic discovery. In the summer of 2021, she conducted additional research in the Department of Pharmacodynamics at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy.
The UM Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates Program allowed the opportunity to come together. At the conclusion, she presented a short lecture at the STEMS REU Symposium on her findings across the chemical and biological experiments at the two institutions.
“I am so thankful for this opportunity that allowed me to travel and learn more about basic research in drug development,” Kreusel said. “In research, I am able to learn something new, problem-solve and challenge myself every single day. Knowing that you have synthesized a new compound is a feeling like no other.”
What’s next for Kreusel? On May 5, she will receive her bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences, and will continue to stay at Ole Miss and complete her Doctor of Pharmacy. She plans to pursue a career as a clinical pharmacist and contribute to translational research.
She also hopes to show others there’s more to pharmacy.
“I am passionate about fighting the ‘pill pusher’ stigma in the pharmacy profession,” Kreusel said. “I want to pursue a career in which I can combine my clinical and research knowledge obtained from pharmacy school to promote new, cutting-edge research in the improvement of existing treatments for patients.
“Through my academic coursework, research and pharmacy practice experiences, I am confident that I will have the skillset to accomplish my goals.”
By Whitney Tarpy