May 16, 2018

Stephanie Flowers, PharmD, PhD, completed the Clinical Pharmacy Translational Science (CPTS) Post-Doctoral Fellowship program at University of Michigan College of Pharmacy in 2017. She joined the tenure-track faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago in July of 2017. Dr. Flowers recently shared her experiences with the CPTS program, and what those interested in the field should know. 

What motivated you to apply to the U-M Pharmacy CPTS post-doc fellowship?

After completing graduate school at University of Tennessee Health Science Center, I wanted to expand my work from yeast genetics to include training in clinical populations. I came to The University of Michigan to work for Dr. Vicki Ellingrod, a pharmacogenetics researcher in the College of Pharmacy.

Could you describe your time as a fellow? What did you take away from the experience?

My time as a fellow helped define my research trajectory (and was also a lot of fun). After I joined Dr. Ellingrod’s lab, my research focus shifted to consider the genetics of commensal gut microbes rather than focusing on traditional pharmacogenetics research that was typical for her lab. I believe that my fellowship research project was made possible due to the excellent congregation of potential collaborators at the University of Michigan. The combined guidance of Dr. Ellingrod and my co-mentors in other departments allowed me to establish my own research that I could carry with me to my first faculty position.

How do you think the fellowship prepared you for your current position?

I found the CPTS fellowship at the University to be very helpful in preparing me for my current position. Not only was there a strong sense of camaraderie between fellows, the mentors are also accessible and knowledgeable. During our monthly fellowship meetings, we reviewed our planned abstracts and grants. As I progressed and prepared for interviews, most of the tenure track faculty came to my practice seminar to make important suggestions and to show support. My mentor and others were also very involved in helping me to navigate the intricacies of obtaining my first faculty position. My fellowship mentor is still an important source of professional support for me today.

What advice would you give to someone considering a CPTS post-doc fellowship?

There are many excellent mentors associated with the CPTS fellowship, which is its #1 strength. I learned a great deal and had a lot of fun during my time at Michigan. There are many great clinicians and researchers in the Department so do not be afraid to make connections.

More on Dr. Stephanie Flowers’ research:

Dr. Flowers’ research focuses on defining the role of the gut microbiome in AAP-associated metabolic phenotype. As most drug-induced dysbiosis is almost exclusively studied in antimicrobial and chemotherapeutic agents, she believes that her current work challenges what we know of mechanisms that contribute to drug-induced adverse events. Dr. Flowers is also interested in how microbial derived metabolites associate with gut integrity in mental health, and how supplementation with prebiotics can affect schizophrenia symptom presentation and behavior in both mouse models and clinical populations. Data gained from this line of research will hopefully translate into personalized therapeutic interventional studies that can ultimately improve the morbidity, mortality, and the overall quality of life for the mental health population.