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Professor Michèle Ramsay – Director of The Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Professor Michèle Ramsay, who is a Professor in Human Genetics, holds the SARCHI Chair for Genomics and Bioinformatics of African Populations at the University of the Witwatersrand and is a director of The Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

The Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience (SBIMB) is a multi-disciplinary research institute dedicated to investigating genetic variation amongst African populations and the impact of genetic variation on health and disease. Research undertaken by SBIMB has an impact on African Science through its focus on African populations living in Africa addressing human genetics, interactions with the environment and implications for health and disease.

Prof. Ramsay discusses some of the research projects that she is involved with, such as H3 Africa, which is one of the bigger symposiums considering the 3Hs of human, hereditary and health; which encompasses 40 different projects covers 35 African countries aimed at understanding genetic variation and the impact it has on health. This is a pioneering field that women are very much a part of and Prof. Ramsay is mindful of female inclusion and for women to strike their own personal balance between family and work. She emphasises that SBIMB operates in teams where members support one another, acknowledging that different types of support will be required during various phases of people’s careers.

In terms of leadership, Prof Ramsay encourages women to take up leadership roles and understand the power that comes with positions of leadership from access to resources and determining where they are allocated to being able to influence institutional culture in a top down approach to drive transformation and create opportunities for women. Prof. Ramsay has served as the immediate past-president of the African Society of Human Genetics and the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies, as well as co-chair of the International Hundred Thousand+ Cohorts Consortium (IHCC) and several other structures.

In closing Prof. Ramsay encourages women to follow their dreams, be true to themselves, nurture body and mind and as each person fulfils their path they should enrich the lives of others.

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