New Faculty Focus: Natalie Schmitz

November 11, 2019

Natalie Schmitz, Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice Division, School of Pharmacy

Hometown: Prior Lake, MN

Educational/professional background: PharmD and Master’s in Public Administration (Drake University); PhD in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology (College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota); Medical Cannabis Pharmacist (Minnesota Medical Solutions)

Natalie Schmitz

How did you get into your field of research? While in pharmacy school, I investigated a number of different career pathways, including being a research assistant, an intern at a contract research organization, and a rotation at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These experiences highlighted my natural curiosity and passion for improving patient care. To unite my skills and interests I pursued my PhD in experimental and clinical pharmacology. To complement my research and clinical skills, I was also a medical cannabis pharmacist and worked with eligible patients to select a product, and determine a dosing regimen and route of administration to help alleviate their symptoms. In Minnesota, there are currently 14 qualifying conditions, half of which have a neurologic etiology. My research program combines my experiences and expertise to optimize therapies, particularly cannabinoids, for neurologic conditions by investigating safety and efficacy.

What attracted you to UW–Madison? UW–Madison is widely recognized as an outstanding research institution. The collaborative and welcoming nature of the faculty and staff at the UW–Madison and the services and resources available, including UW Hospitals and Clinics, the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), and the School of Pharmacy, made it apparent that I could successfully establish an innovative research program, clinical practice, and educate future pharmacists.

What was your first visit to campus like? Wisconsin Badgers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers football game in October 2011. After being engulfed by a sea of red and white, deafened by “First and Ten Wisconsin”, and jostled while jumping around, I witnessed the Badgers bury the Cornhuskers, 48-17. The excitement and pride was unparalleled. Despite being from Minnesota, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the passion my neighbors had for their team. I am excited to now be a part of this tradition.

What’s one thing you hope students who take a class with you will come away with? I hope they come away appreciating the various pathways they have available as a pharmacist and the impact they can have on a patient as compassionate and knowledgeable practitioners.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? The overall goal of my research program is to optimize therapies for neurologic conditions. Inherently, this would improve the quality of life for those individuals with these diseases.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties? Cannabis has been used for healing purposes since at least 1500 B.C.

Hobbies/other interests: Too many… Traveling. Trying new foods, wine and beer. Outdoor activities (hiking, fishing, camping, skiing). Lifting/CrossFit. Snuggling with my golden retriever – Poppy. Playing almost any sport, yard, board, or card game.

Read more about Natalie Schmitz.