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Ayo Bolaji

Computational Biologist

Public Health Agency of Canada

Created On: July 4, 2023
Education Pathway: University
Related School Subjects:
Readability:
8.8

Learn About My Career

I assist in the monitoring of microorganisms, bacteria and viruses that may have an effect on our health.

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Saki, Oyo State Nigeria, lived there until I was 7 years old, moved to Ibadan, Nigeria and left when I was 14 for London Ontario, Canada.

I now live in: Winnipeg, Manitoba

I completed my training/education at: My B.Sc. in Biology was earned at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and my PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology was earned at the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Both degrees provided me with a solid foundation in genetics, cells, and host-pathogen relations. During my postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Manitoba from 2019 to 2021, I became interested in computational biology. I was interested in finding a biological alternative to using fertilizers to safeguard Canadian crops such as canola, soybeans, and maize. I developed the Nanopore sequencing platform as well as data analysis procedures for finding and analyzing the genes of interest in bacteria.

I work at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory. I am a Genomics Liaison Officer between the Federal and Manitoba governments. I assist in the monitoring of microorganisms, bacteria and viruses that may have an effect on our health. I also engage in investigations of these organisms. In my day-to-day work, I use computational biology tools. This includes software, algorithms, and math. These tools help us understand the genomics of pathogens of public health concern. I also make certain that the information gained is communicated to doctors and epidemiologists. I make sure the information is in a form that is easily understood by non-researchers. This is important because the information I provide is used to make public health decisions and policies.

I had always known I wanted to be a researcher. But I wasn't sure what kind. During the COVID-19 epidemic, I worked as a computational biologist at the National Microbiology Lab. This allowed me to understand how my skills could be used to help make better public health decisions. Being the only minority in the room was always difficult for me in school. But now, my views and opinions are valued. My research findings have aided in the development of health policies that have been carried out on a national and provincial scale. Today, I consider it a privilege.

I like being able to provide light on the nature of a disease and to understand what makes it more contagious than expected. When I figure out complex parts of an organism's genome, this information can be used to drive treatment for patients. It might also help responses to outbreaks. It might even be used to modify public health policies.

I am also an Adjunct Professor at Providence University College. Here I teach a second-year Genetics course. Because it is a small university, I love the small class size. It is always rewarding for me to watch students grasp complex concepts like gene editing and gene therapy. It’s great to see them plan for a future career in genetics/genomics.

I love going on long bike rides with my husband. I also enjoy spending time on the phone or in person catching up with my parents and siblings

Always keep learning and learn something new daily. I find that no knowledge is ever wasted.

What I do at work

I work at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory. I am a Genomics Liaison Officer between the Federal and Manitoba governments. I assist in the monitoring of microorganisms, bacteria and viruses that may have an effect on our health. I also engage in investigations of these organisms. In my day-to-day work, I use computational biology tools. This includes software, algorithms, and math. These tools help us understand the genomics of pathogens of public health concern. I also make certain that the information gained is communicated to doctors and epidemiologists. I make sure the information is in a form that is easily understood by non-researchers. This is important because the information I provide is used to make public health decisions and policies.

My career path is

I had always known I wanted to be a researcher. But I wasn't sure what kind. During the COVID-19 epidemic, I worked as a computational biologist at the National Microbiology Lab. This allowed me to understand how my skills could be used to help make better public health decisions. Being the only minority in the room was always difficult for me in school. But now, my views and opinions are valued. My research findings have aided in the development of health policies that have been carried out on a national and provincial scale. Today, I consider it a privilege.

I am motivated by

I like being able to provide light on the nature of a disease and to understand what makes it more contagious than expected. When I figure out complex parts of an organism's genome, this information can be used to drive treatment for patients. It might also help responses to outbreaks. It might even be used to modify public health policies.

How I affect peoples’ lives

I am also an Adjunct Professor at Providence University College. Here I teach a second-year Genetics course. Because it is a small university, I love the small class size. It is always rewarding for me to watch students grasp complex concepts like gene editing and gene therapy. It’s great to see them plan for a future career in genetics/genomics.

Outside of work I

I love going on long bike rides with my husband. I also enjoy spending time on the phone or in person catching up with my parents and siblings

My advice to others

Always keep learning and learn something new daily. I find that no knowledge is ever wasted.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

  • Science

When I was a student, I would describe myself as someone who:

  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked helping people
  • Liked reading
  • Always knew what I wanted to do
  • Learned best by doing
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