Becca Makii: From BSPS to Veterinary Studies

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Becca Makli

Becca

I entered the BSPS program initially planning to attend pharmacy school. After taking several courses and shadowing pharmacists, I decided that the career was not for me. Instead, I decided to pursue veterinary medicine, and I am currently in the midst of this year’s veterinary admissions cycle. People often ask me why I did not change my major to something more “relevant”, like animal sciences, but I like to argue that the pharmaceutical sciences are a lot more relevant than one might think. Veterinary pharmacology spans beyond making sure Fido gets his monthly dose of heartworm medications--it is the reason why the food at the grocery store is safe to eat and why some of the latest cancer treatments are effective.

The relationship between pharmacy and veterinary medicine fully came together for me at the 2014 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting & Exposition where the Controlled Release Society (CRS) hosted a workshop that focused on animal drug delivery systems. I was the only undergraduate to attend this workshop, sitting alongside some of the top representatives in this multi-billion dollar field. There, I learned about current developments and discoveries in the field of veterinary drug delivery and key issues that are being addressed in legislation.

Drug delivery systems are extremely important in veterinary medicine since there are so many different species and breeds that have to be considered. Common medications used to treat the same disease in each animal often have to be specially formulated due to differing physiologies. My favorite speaker at the CRS workshop was Dr. David Brayden, a professor of Advanced Drug Delivery at the School of Veterinary Medicine at University College Dublin. He spoke about the importance of developing innovative drug delivery systems for veterinary medicine and extra-label drug use. After hearing about all of the incredible work being done in the field during my attendance at the workshop, I wanted to try and gain experience through my own research.

Soon after the conference, I worked with Dr. Sylvan Frank on developing a proposal that has now become my undergraduate thesis. Combining the knowledge I gained from this workshop with my own experiences in clinical work, my research focuses on a new formulation for the treatment of canine periodontal disease using an all-natural product. I will present this proposal next year for my thesis. Since I have thoroughly enjoyed my research experience as an undergraduate, I hope to continue to do research in professional school. My goal is to become involved with veterinary toxicology and pharmacology of infectious disease.

The many experiences I have had while in the College of Pharmacy have allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. As I anxiously wait to hear back from the schools I applied to, I cannot help but feel grateful for the many opportunities that have come my way. I may not know where I will be a year from now, but I know that no matter what happens, my time as a BSPS undergraduate has prepared me well. Wish me luck!