Joseph O'Brien, PhD Candidate
Joseph O'Brien, PhD Class of 2020

Joseph's research has flourished since he chose the UI College of Pharmacy for his PhD program. He was able to participate in research immediately after coming to Iowa, and some of his work was published during his first year of graduate studies.

“The UI College of Pharmacy presented me with an opportunity to learn from a great group of PI’s with a diverse set of backgrounds. With ample opportunities to share my work and plenty of exceptional seminars from local and visiting researchers, my scientific network has grown substantially since coming to Iowa. At the UI College of Pharmacy, you will not only find what you thought you were interested in (for research), but you will also find areas of science and research that you had not yet explored.”

When asked about his overall experience at Iowa, he described a positive and unique one.

“Some of my favorite experiences come from the conferences, seminars, and publications that are shared within the department. It’s always nice to present your work, but when you’re working with other labs within the College, it can be even more rewarding.”

Attending the UI College of Pharmacy also afforded O’Brien the opportunity to move from his home state of Minnesota to further his education. Specifically, he chose Iowa because:

“The state of Iowa is safe, offers an alternative to the “big city”, and Iowa City is full of like-minded individuals that creates an atmosphere which centers around positivity and learning.”

O’Brien completed his Doctor of Philosophy program in Fall 2020 in Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry. His research focused on the discovery and development of small molecule interventions, which have the potential to become drugs.

Since graduation, he continues work down the path of drug discovery. With the experience gained from the UI College of Pharmacy in both academia and industry, O’Brien is certain he’ll find a place to grow further as a scientist.