Place of work / study:
Johns Hopkins University
Area of Research:
Structural, functional, and fluid biomarkers of amnestic mild cognitive impairment
How is your work funded?
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine T32 training grant
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a first generation PhD student born to a Sierra Leonean father and an American mother. My favorite part of being a scientist is coding, analyzing data, and mentoring students. Outside of academia, I enjoy gaming such as Fallout 4, Skyrim, The Sims, Red Dead Redemption 2, etc. I am also an amateur genetic genealogist and enjoy reading old newspapers from 100+ years ago and doing photo restoration as a part of my research.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I’m related to two presidents from two different countries!
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
My maternal grandparents both had Parkinson’s, and in the later stages of the disease began to develop severe cognitive deficits. Before this, I’d previously thought of Parkinson’s as a disease of motor function, and was horrified by the toll it also took on the mind. My research interests are directly shaped by my experiences with this horrible disease, and have led me to more closely investigate what might aid in the early detection and treatment of cognitive decline.
What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?
Develop support networks inside and out of academia. It’s important to have people who understand what you’re going through, and also to have people who can give you perspective on life outside of academia.
What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. I try to cultivate at least one academic hobby that’s not related to my field of study — right now that happens to be evolutionary anthropology. 10/10 would recommend!