Profiles in Pharmacy #4 – Karen Wilcox: Researcher
Nov 19, 2019 1:45 PM
Dr. Karen Wilcox is in the business of improving lives for individuals living with epilepsy.
Wilcox’s interest in researching the brain was sparked by spending time with her grandparents, who both lived with neurological disorders. As she reached college, Wilcox decided to explore her interest by gaining a BA in Psychology, while later moving on to work as a technician for a pharmaceutical company. Wanting to futher expand her education and career, Wilcox earned a PhD in the Physiology Department of the University of Pennsylvania.
About 20 years ago, Wilcox began working in the Anticonvulsant Drug Development (ADD) Program at the University of Utah, of which she is currently the Director. The ADD Program is actively involved in the early identification and characterization of novel investigational anticonvulsant drugs for the symptomatic treatment of epilepsy, while having screened almost all of the anticonvulsant medications on the market today. The most rewarding aspects of Wilcox’s career in epilepsy research have been the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of individuals living with the condition, and getting to mentor next generation researchers.
For PharmD students who are interested in a research career, Wilcox suggests looking into the College of Pharmacy’s PharmD/PhD Pathway or P-SURF Program. The PharmD/PhD Pathway is intended for students who are interested in a career in basic or clinical research, who’d like to graduate from a hybrid accelerated program with both a PharmD and PhD. Current students, no matter their academic pathway, can apply for the P-SURF Program after their first year at the college. P-SURF provides students with an opportunity to undertake an intensive, introductory research experience with faculty in the College of Pharmacy over the course of a summer.
Wilcox also recommends getting to know the college’s many research faculty and their teams, investigating all of the types of research the College of Pharmacy undertakes. Oftentimes, students are given the opportunity to work in one of the college’s labs by simply showing interest in the team's research and asking to help. The College of Pharmacy’s renowned research labs and faculty are accessible to all PharmD students.
“Profiles in Pharmacy” is a series highlighting the people and careers of the pharmacy discipline.