PharmSci Spotlight: Eric Samuels, PhD Candidate

Eric Samuels PharmSci Spotlight: Eric Samuels, PhD Candidate

Our PharmSci Spotlight highlights individuals in our department who are making a difference in the field of pharmaceutical sciences.

Tell us about the research you are currently working on.

I work in the Poulos Lab. In short, I am designing and developing CYP3A4 inhibitors as pharmacoenhancers.  What does this mean?  Well, there is an enzyme found in the liver and intestines known as Cytochrome P450 3A4.  It metabolizes more than half of the drugs on market so they can be excreted.  So one could image that they would not want to stop this enzyme.  However, if you carefully control inhibition, you can enhance the therapeutic efficiency of drugs that would otherwise be rapidly metabolized.  Essentially, you’re boosting the drugs effects without increasing the dose.  This can aid not only with lowering dosage, but can also help minimize any side effects – especially with drugs that are toxic like some cancer drugs.  It can also help reduce costs since you need less of the drug to have the same effect.

Tell us your proudest accomplishment.

It’s somewhat cliche, but being a father.  My wife and I recently had our first child.  He is such a happy boy and brings such joy to our lives.  I have to say, parenting is way tougher than anything I do in the lab, but when he giggles at me, it definitely is worth it.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

As a naturally curious person, I have always enjoyed solving puzzles, and drug design is essentially a big, arduous puzzle.  I also appreciate that I am working on something that can really benefit society.  My goal has always been to bridge the gap between biology and chemistry for something useful to society.  I feel I am doing just that with my current research.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

If you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.  This is really how I feel.  Even though science can be very difficult at times, and failure happens quite often, I do my best not to lose sight of my goals.

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