She originally intended to be a medical doctor, but thought pre-med and biology sounded boring, so she majored in neuroscience in undergrad. Later, when she had free time in her course schedule, she took an elective on the history of country music. Now, Jordan Palan is graduating with her MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a concentration in pharmacokinetics – and she loves working at her fellowship with the CU Innovations Team.
Palan is a lifelong learner. Naturally curious and unafraid to explore her interests, she is wise beyond her years in her pursuit of knowledge. “When I decided not to be a doctor, that wasn’t scary,” she said. “I filled my schedule with whatever interested me, so I wasn’t worried that I changed my mind. I had things to fall back on.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, Palan chose CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy both for its pharmacokinetics concentration as well as its location close to her family. But, what is pharmacokinetics?
“It is how drugs move through the body,” Palan explained.
For Palan, even though how drugs work through the body is her concentration, it all goes back to the brain. Mental health, its treatment, and research on new pharmacology to improve outcomes is a theme in her education, and hopefully her career. As an undergrad, she took a class called Drug Discovery for Neuropsychiatric Disorders. It covered the process of discovering a drug from concept to marketing, and it changed the course of her education.
“I want to go into the business side of drugs,” she said. “The project design, the marketing, and understanding how the drug works is a key piece of taking the drug from concept to real life.”
Always curious, when she saw an opening for a Venture Fellow with the CU Innovations Team on campus, she jumped at the opportunity. CU Innovations is built to support University team members with their new projects, from assessing market value, to estimating cost of production, to if the new development is worth the time to create for the consumer to use. The new projects can be anything from digital apps to drug development to new medical equipment.
Palan’s job is to be the initial team member to review the idea and recommend to the Innovations Team staff next steps. The Venture Fellows are highly regarded graduate students from various backgrounds and their depth of experience allows the lawyers, MBA’s, and investors make sound, data-driven decisions on what projects to continue. Her experience has allowed her to work on projects across both the Anschutz and Boulder campuses, and exposed her to a variety of topics. For Palan, it is a natural fit.
The opportunity to explore diverse subjects and learn about new areas is something she values in a career, and when she talks about her work she comes to life.
“One of the projects I started working on was related to finance and the commercialization side of drugs, so I developed my thesis on identifying and evaluating success factors for licensing performance and outcomes,” she said with enthusiasm “Licensing and intellectual property for universities is relatively new, and there is so much to explore!”
Always grounded, she is keeping her options open after graduation.
“I know that I have different paths I can take,” she muses, “and I am excited to try them.”