Science Cafe highlights importance of drug safety
Abimbola Cole ‘11, PharmD, MPH, paid a visit to her alma mater March 6 as part of the Middle School’s Science Cafe series, an initiative which seeks to introduce science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics to interested students.
“It looked very different back then,” said Cole, who began her Thayer education in 2004 as a sixth grader in the former Middle School building, “but it’s great to be back.” The Science Cafe took place in the classroom of Middle School Science Faculty Natalie Young, the teacher who oversees the series.
A pharmacist by training, Cole is a director within Safety Evaluation & Risk Management (SERM) for GSK, a global biopharma company based in London. As she explained to the students, her role in pharmacovigilance, i.e., drug safety, is to track any adverse effects during a clinical trial as part of the overall drug development process.
During the lunch session, Cole explained a little about her duties before highlighting several key milestones in the history of public health. After that, Cole and the students engaged in a spirited discussion about hypothetical drugs and their possible pros and cons. That discussion ended with half of the students developing one hypothetical drug while the other half served as regulators, asking pointed questions about efficacy and possible side effects before deciding “yea” or “nay.”
The well-attended session allowed students to understand the importance of drug safety and get a glimpse of the various stages of drug development. The informal nature of the event also offered students the chance to ask questions of a young alum who stood in their shoes not too long ago.