Auburn Pharmacist Spotlight: Madeleine King

Madeleine King with Dr. Clinton Stewart, HSOP Class of 1976.

July 20, 2015

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Periodically, the Harrison School of Pharmacy will highlight one of its students, faculty members, staff members or alums. For July, we will learn more about rising P2 Madeleine King.

King, a native of Enterprise, Alabama, graduated from Enterprise High School in 2011 and began her undergraduate coursework at Auburn that fall. She completed all of her prerequisites in three years and entered the pharmacy school in the fall of 2014. This summer, she is an intern at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, in the Pediatric Oncology Education Program. She is conducting research under Auburn pharmacy alum Clinton Stewart in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department.

You were selected for the internship with the Pediatric Oncology Education program at St. Jude. Explain what that is and what the application/selection process was like?
The Pediatric Oncology Education program is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded summer internship program at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital designed for medical, pharmacy, graduate and undergraduate students to gain invaluable biomedical research experience. Every student is matched with a mentor and assists their lab with current research projects. We also attend daily 'Lunch and Learn' seminars that feature various topics in the field of pediatric oncology. It is a competitive program with hundreds of applicants that apply each year, but I encourage anyone with a strong interest in cancer research to apply.

Why are you interested in this kind of work?
I am highly interested in pursuing a career in the field of oncology pharmacy. After pharmacy school, I am planning on applying for a general pharmacy residency. After completion of my general residency, I want to specialize in oncology pharmacy. St. Jude is an exceptional research institution with an incredible mission of "Finding cures, Saving children." It has been an amazing opportunity to work here this summer. My experiences here have further motivated me to dedicate myself to practicing and conducting research in the highly specialized field of pediatric oncology.

What kind of work/projects have you been working on this summer?
I have been doing a preclinical pharmacokinetic study to learn more about drug penetration into a childhood brain tumor called medulloblastoma. The tumor that I study specifically is called Group 3 medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumor with a particularly poor prognosis. My personal project involves using cerebral microdialysis to evaluate the optimal dosing strategy for the cancer drug gemcitabine. The data from my project can potentially be used in order to develop the most beneficial treatment for children with this type of tumor.

What is it like being able to work under Auburn grad Dr. Stewart? What is he like?
It is exciting to see that the Auburn Family extends beyond the scope of our campus. Dr. Stewart shares a love for Auburn and a passion for research. Working for Dr. Stewart has challenged me to learn as much as I possibly can during my summer at St. Jude. I have met several people associated with Auburn during my time here, and it truly has opened doors for me. In addition to working with Dr. Stewart, I've had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Courtney Watts, a former Auburn pharmacy school graduate completing her PGY2 pediatric oncology residency at St. Jude.

You just completed your first year of pharmacy school heading into this internship. How has Auburn prepared you to take on this kind of responsibility so early?
As an undergraduate, I worked in an immunology lab with Elizabeth Schwartz, a COSAM faculty member. This experience exposed me to research and a laboratory setting that greatly prepared me to do my own research here at St. Jude. Auburn has many opportunities to get involved with research from an early stage. Undergraduate research is one of the criteria for acceptance into the Pediatric Oncology Education Program. Therefore, my undergraduate experiences at Auburn were directly responsible for helping me get where I am today. In addition, I have been able to apply the knowledge gained during my first year of pharmacy school to my work in the pharmaceutical sciences department at St. Jude.

Last Updated: July 20, 2015