Where were you born?
I was born in Ethiopia.
What school did you attend?
Debub University and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; Brighton and Sussex Medical School, England
What IC do you work for?
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
How many years have you worked at the NIH?
What kind of work do you do at the NIH?
Currently, I am an Earl Stadtman Investigator at NICHD. I lead a research program that investigate genetic factors that contribute to differences in fetal growth, and subsequent health outcomes including cardiometabolic diseases and health disparities.
What message would you like to send to young Blacks who are considering going to college?
You will always be proud of the choice you will make to go to college. Nurture your passion. Try to have mentors that respect your aspirations and support you to achieve them. Like all great choices we make in life, your experience in college may have exciting moments and set-backs. In the end, education pays off. If you are curious about life, health or society, you may consider biomedical scientific research career as a pathway to contribute towards betterment of human health.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in research?
I chose a career in research because I have been convinced that research gives me an endless opportunity to learn about the world and to contribute to society. How wonderful it is to be part of a global community of biomedical scientists whose common goal is to improve human health.
What would you say is your most significant contribution to science or medicine?
My work has identified a genetic factor that increases susceptibility to podoconiosis and led to implementation of a public health prevention strategy targeting children at high genetic risk.
Regarding your career here at NIH, what accomplishment are you the most proud of?
My research at NIH, along with a team of investigators at NIH and globally, has documented the genetic variation landscape of African ancestry populations, the potential impact of genetic adaptation for old environmental factors on chronic diseases, and the genetic-epidemiology of cardiometabolic diseases in African ancestry populations.