Considering she is still a junior scientist, Krystal Tsosie (Diné) has invested an incredible amount of time into her research interests and passions. Originally from Arizona, she received a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and two master's degrees (in bioethics and epidemiology) from Arizona State University. She is now pursuing her PhD in Genomics and Health Disparities at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Similar to last week's highlighted scientist, Dr. Náníbaaʼ Garrison, Tsosie works with Indigenous communities to maintain governance over their genetic material. She also co-leads a long-term study investigating pre-eclampsia—a pregnancy disorder characterized by high blood pressure and kidney and/or liver damage—in Ojibwe women, and hopes to identify genetic factors that may be contributing to high rates of pre-eclampsia in Indigenous communities.
Tsosie also co-facilitates the international Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics (SING) workshop. Through SING workshops held in the US, Canada, and New Zealand, participants can gather and discuss cultural and ethical concerns related to genomics (genomics is the study of all of a person's genes, including interactions of those genes with each other and with the person's environment).
Tsosie is inspiring in her advocacy for underrepresented groups in medicine and genetic research! You can follow her on Twitter and watch her TEDx talk on DNA and identity here.
Written by Sara Wilbur