Success Stories from Former Students

Dr. Edward Mannina

As is par for pre-medical students I was an anxious, poorly informed applicant who “just wanted to be a doctor”, but I was trapped in an undergraduate curriculum with little understanding of what that meant. I thought I could do it and always dreamed of a top tier medical education. It was fortuitous then, when I caught a flier for Tulane University School of Medicine’s Masters in Pharmacology program. I thought to myself, “This could be the next step — a chance to show myself and the elite medical institutions what I was capable of.” 

The program welcomed me with open arms. There was no intimidation, competition, or awkwardness. My classmates, who later would become some of my closest friends and colleagues, were an amazingly diverse group. Some had studied outside the States, others spoke multiple languages, many had held real world jobs and all were qualified, brilliant young minds; they were the future. Immediately, I indulged in this diversity and my whole world changed. We shared time, experiences, knowledge and happiness, always leaning on each other when we needed it most. The outstanding mentorship provided by faculty such as Drs. Clarkson, Agrawal, Beckman and Kadowitz led me to comfortably accept this new world, to embrace the incredible diversity and opportunities around me, to understand and seize my calling. With a personal renaissance underway, I continued on my quest and the Pharmacology department rewarded me with more than enough study material. The faculty took note of my desire and work ethic and figured me right for a physician. Supported by the department, I was particularly comfortable when interviewing for medical school and soon was completing a research project and thesis to polish off the Masters program. As quickly as I had stumbled on the program, I was through it with memories of joy, satisfaction and accomplishment ruminating; medical school was just down the road. It is difficult to say goodbye... so I refused. 

To this day, I keep in contact with the Pharmacology department and with each member of the class of 2007. Many feared medical school, but I did not. I was familiar with the system and as it turned out, already remarkably prepared for the basic science courses. I owe my preparation to the Masters program where I was taught medicine by top shelf educators, in a classroom of the most diversely wonderful grad students in the country at an elite, truly unique medical institution — one of many gems in a city notorious for enrichment. The experience carried me to the top of my medical school class, right through to graduation and into a competitive residency. I practice now with the support of incredible experiences and among outstanding colleagues, many of whom I met in that special year before medical school. Sometimes it is all too surreal... and for that I can thank only the launching pad that set this into motion — Tulane University School of Medicine’s Pharmacology Masters Program.

Edward Mannina

“...and for that I can only
thank the launching pad
that set this into motion

—Tulane University
School of Medicine’s
Masters Program.


Dr. Raj Patel

Raj Grad Photo Higher Qual

“... Furthermore, my time
with the Department of
Pharmacology’s wonderful
faculty expanded my
perspective on research
science as a whole. I
became a more analytical
thinker — a scientist.”



As a transitional year intern preparing for residency in Ophthalmology, I can say without any hesitation that much of my success thus far in my medical career is due to the Department of Pharmacology. Before I arrived in the fall of 2006 to begin the masters program, I thought two things: (1) I knew that Tulane had the reputation for being a very friendly and open learning environment, and (2) I knew that living in New Orleans would be unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I could never have imagined how right I would be — on both counts. 

Immediately upon my arrival I was blown away by the warmth of the environment I had entered. This was nothing like college. This department was like family. Professors were approachable. They kept their doors open. They welcomed questions and were always happy to go the extra mile to relay a teaching point using new methods and technology whenever possible... and I think their enthusiasm was infectious. Drs. Agrawal, Clarkson, Beckman, Kadowitz, and Mondal motivated all of us to really work and master the material. It was these formative study habits that I developed during this year that allowed me to not lose a step when I made the jump to medical school the following year. I was readily able to manage a diverse, extensive course load and assimilate it into one cohesive knowledge bank without much difficulty. 

Furthermore, my time with the Department of Pharmacology’s wonderful faculty expanded my perspective on research science. I became a more analytical thinker — a scientist. The opportunity to examine everything from the formulation of viable drug targets to work that goes into rolling out the next “Pfizer riser” was staggering. It was this systematic examination of research science that made the transition to doing clinical research as a busy medical student possible, thus making the application and match process a one. 

Beyond my more obvious scholastic gains, I also happened across one of the most distinct, engaging groups of people I had ever met. Spending that year with my classmates in the astonishingly quirky city of New Orleans made for a time in my life that I will never forget; an experience I wouldn’t trade for any other. My profound thanks to all of you who make the Tulane University Master of Science in Pharmacology the wonderful program that it is.

Dr. Amy Paulik

Since beginning residency this past summer, days seem to speed by filled with an invigorating blur of seeing patients, reading, and learning. While I knew in high school — and even more so in college — that this was my ultimate destination, I had very little idea of the route to get me there. The Tulane University School of Medicine Pharmacology Masters Program gave me the direction and the assistance I needed to realize my goal. Not until I neared the end of my undergraduate education did I fully appreciate the competitiveness of medical school admissions; I realized I needed to strengthen my candidacy to take the next step toward becoming a doctor. When I came across a brochure for the Pharmacology Masters Program, I knew it was exactly what I needed. 

From the moment I was accepted into the program to my graduation, and even through my graduation from medical school, I felt tremendous support and encouragement from everyone in the program. From finding a place to live or the best sushi restaurants to discussing coursework to medical school applications and letters of recommendation, I felt I always had a place to turn to for advice. For the first time ever, I felt I was able to establish both a personal and professional relationship with my educators, a truly enriching quality of my experience at Tulane. The teaching faculty — esteemed and accomplished as they are — took a vested interest in my learning and success and pushed me to realize my potential and achieve my goals. The program’s culture encouraged a strong collaborative environment that extended beyond classroom; the other students in the program became some of my best friends. I smile each time I reminisce about our endless hours studying and exploring New Orleans together. 

I felt anxious starting medical school but that soon faded when I realized how well the Pharmacology Masters Program had prepared me. Much of the information and the tools I learned have continued to help me in residency, and I am sure they will stay with me throughout my life as I practice medicine. I had always known that I possessed the potential to become a successful physician; I just needed the right direction and encouragement. The Pharmacology Masters Program gave me the opportunity to make my medical school and residency application stand out among a sea of applicants, the faculty gave me the support I needed to confidently reach for my educational and career goals, and the friends I made during my year in the program will last a lifetime. 

My journey isn’t over yet, but through hard work, dedication, and Tulane University, I am well on my way to having the career I have always desired. And right now I am loving every minute of this intense and exciting thing called residency... or almost every minute.


“The teaching faculty...
took a vested interest in
my learning and success
and pushed me to realize
my potential and achieve
my goals.”

Dr. Neal Bost


“Once I began medical
school, I realized that early
exposure to these concepts
gave me a clear advantage
over my fellow classmates.”

My degree in Pharmacology provided me with a foundation of knowledge that has been an enormous help to me throughout my medical education, and will continue to help me throughout my career. The program not only prepared me for the world of clinical medicine, but also provided me with invaluable research experience and skills that I still employ today. In order to effectively teach the essential principles of medical pharmacology, students in the program are first taught basic physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, and pathology. Once I began medical school, I realized that early exposure to these concepts gave me a clear advantage over my fellow classmates. The faculty are brilliant, experienced researchers with a passion for teaching that is obvious the moment you meet them. I still keep in touch with the majority of my former classmates, many of whom have gone on to enjoy great success in medicine and biomedical research. I recently matched into Diagnostic Radiology, and my classmates who continued on to medical school recently matched into highly sought after fields such as Otolaryngology, Radiation Oncology, and Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Michael Bogatch

My story is anything but traditional. I was born and raised in beautiful sunny Southern California, not knowing what a "crawfish" was or that a hurricane was a big storm located over water. I was the first person in the history of my family to graduate from college. However, I knew that I wasn't stopping at that, I wanted to be a doctor and for that I was up for whatever challenges or tribulations were ahead. 

After college, I learned of the M.S. degree in Pharmacology at Tulane from a friend whose sister was an alumni, and in an effort toward getting into medical school, I figured that it would be an excellent opportunity to submerge myself in a medical school setting. So to New Orleans I moved! I was in absolute culture shock after experiencing the French Quarter, seeing cockroaches that were the size of small rats, and weather that made me feel like I was in an oven, but I learned to love it!! Tulane’s graduate program in Pharmacology was an unbelievable experience and I was so very fortunate to meet some of the people that would prove to be instrumental toward achieving my goals and accomplishments. I knew how priceless an opportunity it was to be part of the program and from day one, I dedicated myself to the fullest ... and this motivation is what I consider to be the cornerstone of my future success. 

The graduate program in Pharmacology gave me the opportunity to obtain a first authorship publication and led to an appointment to the class of 2009 at Tulane School of Medicine. As a first year medical student, a "small storm" given the name Hurricane Katrina came through the city I was beginning to love which ended up putting my class on the map in terms of dealing with some of the most extraordinary circumstances and adversity ever seen by any class of medical students. Through this roller coaster of events, I learned the true meaning of the saying: "if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger!" We were able to come back to New Orleans my 2nd year and I continued in my medical studies, loving the experience and the energy of seeing a broken city rise back to its feet. In medical school, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in the field of Orthopaedic Surgery. Through many interviews and soul searching, I decided to stay at Tulane for my Orthopaedic Surgery residency and was fortunate enough be accepted to their great program. 

I am now three months away from graduating from an incredible residency training and am about to move to San Francisco to do a private Sports Medicine Fellowship with S.O.A.R. (Sports Orthopaedic And Rehabilitation), where I will have the honor to be involved in caring for professional sports teams such as the San Francisco Giants. Although I’m excited to move on and see what my future has in store, I’m sad to see an era end of what New Orleans has given me, taught me, and most importantly, has contributed to the person I am today. I will forever love New Orleans. 

Michael Bogatch, M.D., M.Sc. PGY- 5


“I knew how priceless an
opportunity it was to be
part of the program and
from day one, I dedicated
myself to the fullest ... and
this motivation is what I
consider to be the cornerstone
of my future success.”

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