Dammy Shittu, Research Technician, Life Sciences  

“We get to work alongside independent African research groups and communities rather than taking over and making decisions for them. As a Black Brit, I am proud to be a part of that.”

Since finishing my postgraduate degree in Molecular Medicine I have been using my genetics and bioinformatics skills in my role as research technician. More recently, I have been a minor sounding board for mental health awareness, the technician’s registration programme and disability positivity. 

What I like about my workplace is the increasing representation. I enjoy discussing differences and similarities between customs and educating colleagues about Nigerian delicacies and traditions. It was great to work with someone from the same tribe as myself which, sadly, isn’t commonplace in my line of work….yet! 

My current role allows me to get creative. I do a lot of genetic cloning within mosquitos amongst other techniques to help reduce their ability to transmit diseases such as malaria. As this is important work, my lab had to minimise but continue day-to-day work during the pandemic. Assisting my lab manager with the running of the lab has been insightful. I believe we are one of the largest at Imperial – around 25 scientists, postdocs and PhD students coming together and collaborating with groups around the world.  

What is great is we get to work alongside independent and self-sufficient African research groups and communities rather than taking over and making decisions for them. As a Black Brit, I am proud to be a part of that.  

I have been fortunate to help oversee high school students from less represented backgrounds who have been temporarily working with us to experience working in a real research lab. I’ve helped them to understand what we do and the various roles available. 

While I am still at the start of my career, I want to continue developing new and specialist skills suited to my role. Until then, I’m currently plant mother to 20 (reduced since Covid as overwatering became a problem). I picked up crochet from a fellow Imperial scientist over lockdown – building on my cool knitting skills. I am also looking forward to planning a long family holiday next summer.  

A lot of my free time is spent taking care of my new Assistance Puppy in Training which often feels like another part-time job – with loads of cuddles in between!  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.