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February Member Spotlight - Oyinade Kehinde

1.      How long have you been a member of PGRN, and how did you first join PGRN? 

I joined PGRN on July 20, 2020. My joining was in a quest to satisfy my lack of knowledge in the field of pharmacogenomics due to my relentless pursuit in optimizing patient care within my institution, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria.

2.      What is your current position/role, and what do you enjoy most about it?

As a clinical pharmacist, I encountered a persistent challenge; the variable response to psychotropic medications among patients, coupled with the occurrence of adverse drug reactions. Witnessing the financial strain and emotional toll this took on patients and their caregivers, along with the frustration among psychiatrists grappling with treatment decisions, stirred a passion within me to seek solutions.

As I wanted to learn more and make a difference, I jumped into precision medicine and pharmacogenetics. Even though my country didn't have much training or support, I didn't let that stop me. I believed in immersing myself in the global community of experts, which led me to become a member of PGRN from a developing country.

3.      How has PGRN helped your career in pharmacogenomics?

This affiliation has not only provided me with access to cutting-edge research and resources but also connected me with mentors whose guidance proved invaluable in navigating the complexities of pharmacogenetics. One such mentorship opportunity arose when I reached out to Akinyemi Oni-Orisan and Laura Ramsey. Their willingness to share their expertise and offer collaborative opportunities propelled my journey forward, reinforcing my belief in the power of mentorship and collaboration in driving innovation.

With the support of PGRN, I'm ready to address the issues in psychiatric treatment in my country and globally. My strong dedication to improving patient care with precision medicine keeps me motivated to push limits, explore new methods, and promote the use of pharmacogenetics.

4.      What do you see as the most exciting advances in pharmacogenomics over the next 2-5 years?

I'm excited about a big change in clinical pharmacogenetic testing becoming widely used in various medical specialties globally. I think this change will happen because clear, consistent, and comprehensive practice guidelines will be created. These guidelines will address more inclusion of under-represented populations with diverse genetic make-up, making sure everyone has fair access to these tests.

Global collaboration among researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and stakeholders is crucial for improving pharmacogenetic practices. By working together, we can bridge gaps, create a unified approach to gene-based therapies, and enhance healthcare. This effort aims to bring innovation, accessibility, and inclusivity, ushering in a new era of healthcare excellence where everyone gets personalized treatments based on their genetic makeup and medical needs.

5.      If there are no restrictions to travel, where would you like to go in the next 3-6 months?

I would pick the Maldives. The idea of being on these private islands with powdery white sand and distinct white beaches is an exciting prospect. Staying in one of those fancy overwater bungalows, stepping right into the clear lagoon – it would be a dream come true for me.

6.      What’s something about you (a fun fact) not many people know?

My participation in the Calypso dance club in elementary school. It all began with a spontaneous decision to try something new, from learning the lively steps of traditional Caribbean dances to performing in front of a cheering audience during school events, every moment spent in the Calypso dance club was filled with excitement and a sense of accomplishment.

February Trainee Spotlight - Vincent Nyangwara

1.       How long have you been a member of PGRN, and how did you first join PGRN?
I have been a member of PGRN for 3 years. I joined the network through my current PhD supervisor, Prof. Collen, who serves as chair of the PGRN developing country committee.
2.       What is your current position/role, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I am early career counselor in PGRN and a PhD student in Human genetics at the university of Witwatersrand in South Africa. First, I enjoy sitting in the PGRN board meetings and making a crucial decision on behalf of young folks around the globe. Secondly, I enjoy using an individual’s genomic make up to prescribed a medication, reducing drug sides effects like cardiotoxicity.
3.       How has PGRN helped your career in pharmacogenomics?
I have interacted with many peers and mentors in PGRN of whom now I look up to in my career growth as a Pharmacogeneticist.
4.       What do you see as the most exciting advances in pharmacogenomics over the next 2-5 years?
In the next 2-5 years, I foresee discovery of new associations between genetic variations and drug responses which may lead to a more comprehensive understanding of pharmacogenomic influences on drug response. Moreover, continued improvements in the efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness of genetic testing technologies, will make them more accessible for broader populations.

Personal questions

5.       If there are no restrictions to travel, where would you like to go in the next 3-6 months?
To be honest, I like travelling around the world. With no restrictions, I see myself somewhere in the cold winter of Canada or Caribbean Island, spending time with my fiancée.
6.       When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your time?
Work is important, but family is the reason we go to work. So when not at work, I spend most of my time with my fiancée. Taking her out for a walk or dinner are some of my favorite moments.

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