Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

Growing up, I did not have access to western medicine or dentistry, my mother used traditional herbal remedies and teas to treat any pain or illness in our family and I can still remember when I got my first job at 15 and a co-worker advised me to take an advil tablet for pain I was having, I was so amazed that there was something that could work to remove pain. Since that time, I have been fascinated by the science of drug discovery and scientists progress in the fight against disease and the chemistry that drives this. I found that many drugs in use have their origin in plant and natural products and so I chose this field of study because it combines my interest in medicinal plants and chemistry and their use in pharmaceutical drug discovery in a way that I feel that I may contribute to adding knowledge to our fight against disease.

I have spent my entire working and academic life in the field of new drug discovery and development, pursuing a doctoral degree in Natural Product Chemistry, after working in the pharmaceutical industry as an analytical chemist, finally has given me the opportunity try my hand at my own research project in drug discovery. It is very exciting for me to be able to apply all of the research experiences I have gained at work and at school to my own thesis project. Many of the pharmaceutical drugs that are in use today have an origin in natural product chemistry and I think this is a very promising field to explore for new drug products. With my current doctoral research and the experimental skills that I am learning, I hope to make some contribution to the investigation of new drug compounds that might be used to fight tuberculosis.

Sasha from Hawaii
University of Hawaii, Hilo