Yee Ming Lee
Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Colorado Skaggs – Aurora, Colorado, USA.
Yee Ming Lee’s clinical practice focuses on the implementation of pharmacogenomic drugs.
“Pharmacogenomics is a subset of Precision Medicine that looks at how an individual’s genetic variation affects his/her drug response.” Yee Ming says physicians can use this pharmacogenomic information in addition to patient’s clinical factors to determine which drug/dose to prescribe and determine which drugs to avoid.
After obtaining her Bachelor of Pharmacy, Honors followed by Master of Pharmaceutical Science from Monash University Victorian College of Pharmacy, Yee Ming returned to Singapore in 2001 to practice as a clinical pharmacist at Alexandra Hospital.
Her next move was to the University of Illinois, Chicago to start a PharmD. After completing a Postgraduate Year One (PGY1) Pharmacy Practice residency Yee Ming was offered the opportunity to change her career path and become the first pharmacy resident of a pharmacogenomics specialty residency at the university. This led to a Fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics at the University of Chicago.
“I had a keen interest to translate clinically actionable pharmacogenomics research into clinical practice to impact patient care,” she says.
Towards the end of the fellowship program Yee Ming realised there weren’t a lot of jobs on offer in this emerging field. It was at that time, the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences offered Yee Ming an academic position that combined both research and teaching.
“I am very grateful for this unexpected entrance into academia,” she says. “It allowed me to pursue not only my clinical interest to practice translational medicine but the new pharmacy world of academia.”
Yee Ming says both her formal pharmacy education at Monash University and hospital work have equipped her with the breadth of clinical knowledge and experience to make this career change into pharmacogenomics.
Yee Ming says she has many fond memories of her time at the Pharmacy College, even if they do make her sound old.
“Those were the days where the lecturers used transparencies and wrote on the multiple panels of chalkboards. PowerPoint did not exist then and computers were being introduced. This may sound ancient.”
As for the future, Yee Ming is excited about the possibilities of pharmacogenomics and wants to inspire other students and pharmacists to embrace it in their clinical practice.