My love for learning started early, as a kid. I always loved science and mysteries. Science was one of my favorite subjects. My teachers said I was the only one who could be an astrophysicist.
Even into college, medicine wasn't on my radar, despite being told it should be. I majored in computer science my first year, but after spending a summer working in my dad's pharmacy, I recognized that I needed to work with people. I didn't think I wanted to follow in his footsteps until that summer. I changed my major to pharmacy and, after thinking about where I could make the most difference, decided to pursue medicine. I was accepted into Mayo Clinic’s first M.D.-Ph.D. class and combined my interest in medicine and pharmacology.
Dr. Richard Weinshilboum was one of my mentors. My Ph.D. project focused on pharmacogenetic drug interactions and drug metabolism. At that time, pharmacogenomics was not a word in my vocabulary, but it was on the horizon. As a lifelong learner and strong advocate of evidence-based medicine, it was inevitable that as the field of individualized medicine evolved, I was going to embrace it as a way to provide the best medicine for my patients.
As an internal medicine physician and educator, working with patients and discussing pharmacogenomics in genomics is the perfect blend. I'm fond of saying when I talked with Dr. Weinshilboum, that the idiosyncratic responses that were mysteries in the past were probably just gene-drug interactions we didn't yet know about.