Scientist and podcast host, Dr. Janina Jeff, is on a mission to increase access to science and health.
Growing up in New Orleans, Dr. Jeff’s love for science began at an early age, fueling her passion for science fairs and competition.
Her dedication to science led her to excel in genetics, becoming the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Human Genetics at Vanderbilt University.
Throughout her academic journey, Dr. Jeff volunteered at public schools, sharing scientific concepts with children and igniting their excitement for science.
Even after moving to New York City for her post-doc in population genetics, she continued to mentor and inspire others.
In 2015, Dr. Jeff joined Illumina, a biotech company focused on utilizing genomic sequencing technology to improve human health.
As a Bioinformatics Scientist at Illumina, Dr. Jeff leverages computer science to analyze biological data, contributing to the development of tools that assess an individual’s risk for common diseases.
However, Dr. Jeff believes that science has an access issue, excluding many from participating in the field.
Motivated to bridge this gap, she seized an opportunity in 2018 to participate in the Spotify Sound Up Bootcamp, a podcast competition highlighting the voices of women of color.
With her competitive spirit and passion for genetics, Dr. Jeff pitched the idea for a genetics podcast, and her podcast, “In Those Genes,” was selected among thousands of applicants.
The podcast aims to decode the lost histories of African descendants through the lens of Black culture, providing fact-based information in an entertaining and inclusive manner.
Dr. Jeff invites guests such as genetic counselors, DNA testing company founders, and even her own family members to share their insights.
The success of “In Those Genes” has garnered recognition, with episodes being featured on prestigious platforms like Indiewire’s Best Podcasts of 2020 and winning the 2020 Impact Award at the Third Coast Audio International Festival.
Dr. Jeff’s contributions have also been acknowledged through accolades such as being listed on The Root 100’s “Most Influential African Americans in 2020” and receiving the 2020 Advocacy Award from the American Society of Human Genetics.
Beyond her podcast and work at Illumina, Dr. Jeff’s overarching goal is to foster a more inclusive ecosystem throughout scientific research.
By studying diverse populations and making science accessible and relatable to everyone, she believes we can make significant advancements in medicine and work towards equality.
Dr. Jeff envisions a future where every newborn is sequenced at birth, enabling personalized medicine based on individual genomic data, free from limiting social descriptors.
To learn more about “In Those Genes” and listen to episodes, visit inthosegenes.com.
Dr. Janina Jeff is making a remarkable impact in the fields of science and health, using her expertise and platform to create a more inclusive and informed world.
“”Black Wall St. MediaContributor