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Latifa Jackson, PhD


July 25, 2018 

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Dr. Jackson received her Bachelor’s degrees in Cell/Molecular Biology and Genetics (B.S.) and French Language and Literature (B.A.) from the University of Maryland at College Park (1997). She received her Master’s degree in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (2011) from University of Arizona. She completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Science (Fall 2014) in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems at Drexel University. Her dissertation research investigated the use of gene locality in identifying genomic regions of interest for chronic and infectious disease and how disease risk and resistance alleles segregate in human populations. She uses bioinformatics, functional genomics and evolutionary biology approaches to study genetic patterns that contribute to disease phenotypes within a biological anthropology framework.


Describe your research interests and how you chose this area of research.

I am interested in the effect of environmental stressors on immune weathering in African American young adults. The environmental stressor I am particularly interested in is violence exposure.

How does GHUCCTS help you to achieve your research goals and advance your career in clinical and translational research? How will the CTSA program help to advance knowledge and treatments for patients with the disease(s) you study?

GHUCCTS helps me achieve my research goals by providing me a network of scholars to bounce ideas off, and exposes me to new research both in my area and in the translational science community.

Why is it important to have both disciplinary and ethnic/cultural diversity in medical research? How does diversity contribute to your research? How does diversity enhance scientific discovery?

Ethnic diversity is about bringing people with different life experiences and perspectives to the scientific bench and asking them to contribute to the wellbeing of our increasingly global community.

How does clinical translational research benefit our communities, both directly and indirectly?

Translational science promises to increase the health status of underserved communities. The inclusion and advocacy by scientists who are invested in these communities is essential to see this to fruition.