Note: Each year, we partner with Dr. Amy Sheck’s students at the North Carolina School of Science and Math to profile some unsung heroes of the Duke research community. This is the fifth of eight posts.
Meet Dr. Oyindamola Adefisayo – Oyinda to her friends – a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Duke. She’s exploring bacterial factors in host-pathogen interactions using mice.
During our interview, parallels in our journeys became clear. Even as a high school senior, I could strongly identify with Dr. Adefisayo’s work and share similar passions. I envisioned myself evolving into an inspiring scientist just like her and felt a strong connection with my aspirations as a high school senior.
Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Dr. Adefisayo came to the U.S. via the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg. Like me, she left home at 16 for a two-year residential program for teenagers. It was filled with passionate and driven students like I’m with at NCSSM. Oyinda earned her B.A. in Biology at Clark University, specializing in the genetic basis of wing and eye development in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster.
Her Ph.D. at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City focused on Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis. She studied mycobacteria, examining DNA damage response pathways, antibiotic resistance, and mutagenesis. The work connected with her knowledge of Nigeria’s high tuberculosis burden as she sought practical applications. She found that a delay in the machinery of DNA copying itself triggered a damage repair pathway called PafBC.
Beyond the lab, Oyinda’s passion for ballroom dancing reflects her belief that science is an art, since there’s so much creativity and artistic sense that goes into being a scientist. This resonated with me too. I use painting as an outlet during my research on environmental stressors and antibiotics at NCSSM.
I was inspired by Dr. Adefisayo’s beliefs and passions. She continues her scientific career by delving deeper into protocol development, data analysis, and global knowledge-sharing. Her goal is to learn from bacterial and host genetics and contribute to simplifying and expediting life science research for professionals worldwide.
Guest post by Emily Alam, North Carolina School of Math and Science, Class of 2024.