Alumnae: Alumnae Stories

Alumnae Stories

Spelman Alumna Janina Jeff Soars as a Human Geneticist

May 2017

janina jeffJanina M. Jeff, Ph.D., M.S., is a human geneticist, educator, and minority science technology engineering math (STEM) activist. She received her Ph.D. in human genetics, a masters in applied statistics from Vanderbilt University and her B.S. in biology from Spelman College.

Dr. Jeff finished her postdoctoral training with Dr. Eimear Kenny and Erwin Bottinger at Mount Sinai hospital genetics and pharmacogenetics and now works at Illumina as a global bioinformatics specialist.  

As an expert in statistical design and interpretation of large-scale genomic data, her research career was largely focused on the discovery of genetic loci that impact admixed populations, Hispanics and African Americans, for complex common diseases. Additionally, she is known for her expertise in population genomics, specifically in developing and implementing pipelines to handle complex genetic ancestry for genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in electronic medical records.

View Dr. Jeff 's Talk at "She Geeks Out"

(Dr. Jeff's presentation is from 27:00-40:00)

Dr. Jeff has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in biology, genetics, and statistics. She is currently an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University in the College of Arts and Sciences. She has also taught K- 12 STEM courses. During her graduate career, Dr. Jeff served as the 1st grade scientist for the Scientists in the Classroom Partnership with Nashville Public Schools and Vanderbilt University.  

As a product of the New Orleans Public Education School System, she has been passionate about serving her community as early as high school. As a junior at McDonough #35 High School, Dr. Jeff and her peers started a non-profit, Initiating a Circle of Education, ICE. Dr. Jeff's commitment to the community continues today, as she is dedicated to educating her community about STEM careers to ultimately change the face of STEM for generations to come.