Tinashe Chikowore

H3Africa PI: Michèle Ramsay

Institution: Johannesburg

Project Affiliation: AWI-Gen Phase 2


Introduction/Background: I have, for a longtime, cherished the desire to be a leading researcher. This was birthed from my interactions with my nutritional epidemiology lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe during my undergraduate years. I once tried to ignore this quest and worked for relief agencies helping the vulnerable. However, I always saw myself volunteering more to analyse data and make deductions from it. I then decided to return to school and hone my skills to be a leading scientist.

Methodology/Skillset: At North-West University started to gain skills in nutrigenetics. I learned lab skills, statistics, and key genetic concepts, around 2012 when the H3Africa was beginning. I later, during my PhD, got an H3Bionet scholarship to do a three-monthtraining at Sydney Brenner Molecular Biosciencesin 2016.I later took a postdoc fellowship with Prof Zane Lombard and presented my work at the Rwanda Kigali Meeting of 2017,whichwas part of the AWI-Gen study led by Prof Michele Ramsay. Through the support of these mentors and new found collaborations, I learned to write grant proposals and leverage the interactions to form relationships with the H3Africa committee, which has led to numerous achievements that have decorated my academic career.

Results/Achievements: I won the prestigious Wellcome Trust Training fellowship, and my project was nested in the H3Africa CVD working group(2019-2023).Win the 2021American Society of Human Genetics Charles Epstein Award of Excellence in Human Genetics. I was invited as a sessional speaker at the American Heart Association to speak about polygenic risk score sand enhancing diversity in H3Africa. Partner with Prof Segun Fatumo, whom I met at H3Africa meetings, to start a research group mentoring African scientists in genomics.

Acknowledgements/Mentors/Influencers: My mentors include(Prof Michele Ramsay, Prof Andrew Morris, Prof Paul Franks, and Prof Zane Lombard) and collaborators (Prof Segun Fatumo and Dr Adeyemo Adebowale)

Next steps: I will continue my African genomics research while starting my research group as a junior faculty at the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Harvard University in 2023

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