Playing Hard, Working Hard

By Sara Strickroot

Sam Madison ’93, ’97 is a pharmaceutical researcher by day and a musician by night.

Madison has spent the last 17 years working as a clinical researcher for the drug company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Research Triangle Park.

“GSK recruited me before I had even graduated. I finished my thesis while I was already working in the HIV lab at GSK,” Madison says.

Madison spent five years in working in the HIV lab when he decided to go into clinical research. Working in clinical research has given him the opportunity to design trials and programs for drugs. His area of specialty for the last eight years has been oncology.

Aside from Madison’s work, he is a member of two different bands.

Madison played in many bands growing up. He was a member of the band “The Usuals” during his early years at ECU, when he decided to take some time off and pursue his music full-time.

Today, he is the guitarist/singer of the late 70s influenced rock/punk/pop band Bleeding Hearts and a member of the alternative-country twang band Hank Sinatra.

After some time, Madison returned to ECU and was ready to complete his undergraduate degree. “As a child, I had seen my father graduate from medical school and I thought that might be my calling,” Madison says. “So majoring in biology and going pre-med was my decision.”

Madison also received his masters in molecular biology and his focus became research in molecular biology and immunology.

In the past few years, Madison has slowed down his touring schedule.

“Work has to take precedent. I owe my entire career to the education I received at ECU,” Madison says. “I look at playing music now more as a hobby…that I get paid for!”

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