Our Senior Director, Molecular Genetics and Biobank Operations, Dr Jumi Popoola shares some of her personal highlights from her one year journey with 54gene.
My time at 54gene has been truly memorable. When I initially made the decision to join the 54gene team, it was such a scary, yet exciting risk. Looking back now, I can pen it down as the biggest undertaking I have ever embarked upon. As scientists, we are prone to seeing things in black and white and opting for the safest option. This was me, pre-54gene.
Some of my family and friends wondered about my decision as not only was I choosing to leave my old job, I was also moving countries from England to Nigeria. Some of them even advised against it but I remained undaunted because the opportunity to work in my home country for a company that was the very first of its kind, giving back my talents and expertise was not lost on me. I was ready to take the opportunity head-on and now when I look back, I have no regrets.
My fondest memories at 54gene have really been the people. I have never worked with a team of people whose passion for their work goes beyond just being colleagues to being great friends. Beyond the work we do, there is a genuine kindness outside of work where co-workers check in on each other, share their support and celebrate each other’s wins. It’s a real work family.
In my time at 54gene, I have learnt more than I have taught. Working very closely across teams has introduced me to different fields I would never have been privy to. From the field studies we do to the scientists whose work differs from mine, to even liaising with the tech team on projects and getting to understand some of their jargon, it has been a pleasure learning from all of them.
My greatest achievement at 54gene has to be training the interns that have been under my tutelage in the past 10 months from complete novices to lead scientists. This gives me a huge sense of pride that is priceless for me. My team growth and improvement gives me the greatest sense of joy. In the coming year, I look forward to us establishing the genomics research laboratory facility to full capacity, while also learning some new processes that will be introduced for the first time in Nigeria. It’s amazing that if you had asked me this just a few weeks back, my response would have been quite different. Everything I was hoping to achieve in the coming year has been completed in the past two months. Within this time frame, we have deployed advanced molecular diagnostics labs in Nigeria and created novel solutions for quicker testing of COVID-19 across 5 states in the country.
I am so proud to be affiliated with such a fast-growing company whose impact is bound to shape health care in Africa and across the globe.