Ph.D. in Medical Pharmacology
Master of Science in Pharmacology
Gabriel A. Knudsen
Gabriel A. Knudsen is currently a post-doctoral fellow (CRTA Fellow) working in the lab of Dr. Linda Birnbaum, where he studies toxicokinetics as well as genic effects following exposure to brominated flame retardants and other persistent organic pollutants. He has held this position for less than a year. Knudsen attended Kettering University in Flint, Mich., (formerly GMI) where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry. He went on to earn a Master of Science in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan Medical School and a Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Pharmacology from the University of Arizona. Knudsen is honored and pleased to have been mentored by Drs. Stacey Seeley and Ali Zand at Kettering, Drs. Paul Hollenberg and Lori Isom at the University of Michigan and Dr. I. Glenn Sipes at the University of Arizona. Knudsen’s career goals are to improve human and environmental health through the use of biological modeling and risk assessment. He hopes to expand his research area to human subjects and improve clinical diagnostics in the process.
Why did you decide to pursue graduate study in pharmacology?
I decided to pursue a graduate degree in pharmacology after working in an immunotoxicology (laboratory), then an asthma pharmacology laboratory at NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) under the Oak Ridge Associated Universities program as an undergraduate student in chemistry.
How did your doctoral program in medical pharmacology build on your master’s program in pharmacology?
My Ph.D. program in medical pharmacology built on my M.S. program in pharmacology by focusing on clinical application of fundamental pharmacological principles.
How would you say medical pharmacology differs from other areas of study in pharmacology?
Medical pharmacology emphasizes a focus on translational research alongside basic, foundational scientific investigations.
What did you find most interesting when studying pharmacology? What did you find most challenging?
I find the dynamic interaction of chemicals and biology most interesting in studying pharmacology. Oftentimes, this is also the most challenging aspect of it as well — identifying, characterizing, and predicting the moving parts to a given system. Systems that are assumed to be simple/basic are phenomenally complex at the cellular level and this complexity increases exponentially as you move up the systemic and organism levels.
What are some ways you apply the skills and knowledge you obtained in your pharmacology education to your current line of work?
The skills and knowledge I acquired during the course of my education are applied on a daily basis through the basic techniques I practice at the bench, but more profoundly in the way I plan and reason through experimental planning and data analyses.
Do you have any advice for students who are considering pursuing pharmacology as a field of study in college?
Find out what you really enjoy; look around, don’t make assumptions — try as many things as you can, learn as many techniques as you can, meet as many people as you can, and most importantly, ask as many questions as you can — and listen to the answers — in what is said and what is left unsaid.