Dr. Fatimah Jackson, Director

Dr. Fatimah Jackson (fatimah.jackson@howard.edu) received her Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. (cum laude with Distinction in all Subjects) from Cornell University. Her doctoral dissertation research was on The Relationship of Certain Genetic Traits to the Incidence and Intensity of Malaria in Liberia, West Africa. She has conducted research on (and is particularly interested in): 1.) Human-plant coevolution, particularly the influence of phytochemicals on human metabolic effects and evolutionary processes and 2.) Population substructure in peoples of African descent, developing Ethnogenetic Layering as a computational tool to identify human microethnic groups and differential expressions of health disparities. Trained as a human biologist, Dr. Jackson has published extensively in such journals as Human Biology, Biochemical Medicine and Metabolic Biology, Journal of the National Medical Association, American Journal of Human Biology, Annals of Human Biology, BMC Biology, and most recently the American Journal of Public Health. Dr. Jackson’s research has been funded by: USAID, Ford Foundation, Huber Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, NIH (NIMHD and NHGRI), Wenner-Gren Foundation, and EPA. Dr. Jackson has taught at Cornell University, University of California – Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Maryland – College Park (where she is Distinguished Scholar Teacher and Professor Emerita), University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and now at Howard University. She has been a Visiting Scholar at University of Georgia and University of Khartoum in Sudan and she was a Senior Fulbright Fellow in Egypt. She has been awarded the Nick Norgan Award for 2009 Best Article Published in Annals of Human Biology. In 2012 she was the first recipient of the Ernest E. Just Prize in Medical and Public Health Research, Avery Research Institute, College of Charleston and Medical University of South Carolina (University of South Carolina). In 2012, she was also Coined by Rear Admiral Dr. Helena Mishoe, National Institutes of Health, NHLBI and US Public Health Service.

Christopher Cross, Assistant Curator

Mr. Christopher Cross  (christopher.cross@bison.howard.edu) is a Ph.D. student studying  Neurogenetics in the Department of Anatomy at Howard University in the School of Medicine.  Mr. Cross has been named Assistant Curator for the W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory, where he aids the Director in coordinating the inaugural Cobb Research summer program at Howard University. In addition, he currently serves as a Congressional Science Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee of Science, Space, and Technology. He is a member of the Howard University Graduate Student Council & Assembly, the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Mr. Cross received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009. He completed his M.S. in Neuroscience in the Department of Anatomy at Howard University in May 2014. His thesis was titled, “Sexual Dimorphism in the Levels of DNA Repair Proteins, OGG1 and NEIL1 and Somatic Instability in a Fragile X Premutation Mouse Model.” This research was funded by a graduate research fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Mr. Cross brings well honed skills in anatomy, quantitative assessment, and genetics to the Lab and, as a Howard graduate, he is very familiar with the university’s organization structure.  

Photo Credit: Mitya Ku

Nicholas Guthrie,  Undergraduate Researcher, Webmaster, Producer, The Backbone

Mr. Nicholas Guthrie  (nicholasguthrie@outlook.com) is currently a senior at Howard University, who received his high school diploma from Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland. His research work includes; studies in bacterial viruses with PHAGES at Howard University, novel drug delivery systems using Zeolites at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, and most recently enzymatic studies at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. He is an active participant in the Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Program and is listed as a co-Author on ‘Whole genome comparison of a large collection of mycobacteriophages reveals a continuum of phage genetic diversity,’ published in eLife.  Nicholas served 2 years as a teaching assistant for the honors biology classes (PHAGES) and a research mentor for those undergraduate students. He also serves as the webmaster on the staff of the W. Montague Cobb Research Lab, building and updating their site frequently. Furthermore, he is the producer of The Backbone, a scholarly journal published from the Cobb Lab twice each year. Outside of academia, he enjoys both throwing and theater, previously a track and field coach for Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland and a technical director with Act Two @ Levine School of Music at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland.


Sherese Taylor, Research Associate

Ms. Sherese Taylor (sherese.taylor@howard.edu) is the Administrative Assistant for the W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory at Howard University. She supports the laboratory and staff with many of their research and administrative initiatives. Ms. Taylor brings solid administrative skills to the position and a strong commitment to the missions of the Lab and Howard University. 

Ms. Taylor received her B.A. in Global studies with a concentration in culture, power, and place, and a focus in Latin American Studies at the University of Minnesota. She not only completed her degree, but also completed her certificate in International Development. With her degree, she was able to establish a program at the University of Minnesota that promoted and gave tools on cross cultural communication. Since then, She has been involved with many international communities, most notably Ecuador where she was able to investigate the lack of African- Ecuadorian teachers within predominately African regions. Most Recently, Ms. Taylor has been working on the sociological implications of artificial intelligence and robotics and has presented a paper entitled: "Shifting the Techonogical gaze: African American Perspectives and Insight on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics" at a national conference. 


J'Aron Heard, Post-Baccalaureate Researcher 

J’Aron Heard (jaron.heard@bison.howard.edu) received his B.S in biology from Howard  University in 2015. His research studies include: rates of degradation on DNA in bone caused by environmental factors, effects of different environmental storage conditions on aDNA, and implications for aDNA extraction. He is no stranger to the Arts and Sciences. J’Aron is has worked with Howard University’s NCAS program for 3 years under Dr. Vernon Morris volunteering with local DC Schools promoting the STEM careers tutoring and presenting at science fairs across the disciplines of chemistry and biology. He is also highly engaged at the Smithsonian Institute as a volunteer in the Invertebrate Biology coral collections and Parasitology division.


Keely Clinton, Doctoral Student

Keely Clinton (keelyclinton@gmail.com) is a first year doctoral student in the department of biology at Howard University. She is currently involved in research of ancient DNA extraction in the W. Montague Cobb Lab located on Howard’s campus. The aspiring intentions of Ms. Clinton include finding a link between the genome of individuals past and present that will aid in preventative measures against genetic diseases. Keely received her B.S from Benedict College in South Carolina where she began research in the field of genetic engineering. Based on this interest her most important projects to date are “The Future of Genetic Engineering in Medicine” and “What genes are linked to PRS activity?” While attending Benedict College, Keely interned at The Free Medical Clinic as a pharmacist assistant linking her two interests of genetic engineering and medicine. In her spare time, Keely is heavily involved in athletics, this includes being a member of the club basketball team 1867.

Dr. Bradford Wilson, Research Associate

Dr. Bradford Wilson (bradford.wilson@howard.edu)received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. from Howard University.  His doctoral dissertation research was on The Characterization of Variation in the Vitamin D Receptor Promoter and Association of Ancestral Haplotype with Prostate Cancer in African Americans.  He is interested in the genetics underlying the biology of health disparity conditions and diseases including common cancers (breast, and prostate), hypertension and its sequelae and pharmacogenomics.  Dr. Wilson is also a Senior Research Associate at the National Human Genome Center (NHGC) at Howard University where he is conducting his NIH-funded pharmacogenomics research.  Dr. Wilson has lectured on cancer genetics and modes of inheritance in the Graduate and Medical Schools at Howard University, respectively.

Dr. Muneer Abbas, Research Associate

Dr. Muneer Abbas (m_abbas@Howard.edu) is an Assistant Professor of Microbiology in the College of Medicine at Howard University. He is also the National Human Genome Center (NHGC) Sequencing Core and Molecular Genetics Laboratory Manager . He is the Director of the National Human Genome Center and the Sickle Cell Center Biorepositories. His aim is to  establish a centralized biorepository infrastructure at HU that will speed the translation of basic research to treatments and cures. Dr. Abbas has interests in Immunogenetics in Health and diseases. He is a co-investigator on an R01 grant entitled "Violence Exposure, Immune Function & HIV/AIDS Risks in African American Young Adults". His role includes supervision and performance of DNA extractions from archived tissues, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping, DNA sequencing and high throughput data analysis.

Dr. Michael Campbell, Research Associate

Dr. Michael Campbell (michael.campbell1@howard.edu) first obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Anthropology at the University of Toronto and then earned a Master of Science degree in Human Biology at Oxford University. Dr. Campbell went on to obtain his PhD in Biological Anthropology at Columbia University in New York City and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania where he studied the evolution of genetic and phenotypic variation in diverse African populations. Dr. Campbell then applied his knowledge of African populations to study the genetic basis of ethnic disparities in cancer susceptibility in African Americans as research faculty in the Department of Biostatistics at Yale University. Dr. Campbell has recently joined the Department of Biology as an Assistant Professor at Howard University where he will continue his research on the genetics underlying health disparities and other complex traits in populations of African descent.

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Dr. Brian Laurence, Research Associate

Dr. Brian Laurence is a Professor and the Assistant Dean for Research at Howard University College of Dentistry (HUCD). He graduated from HUCD in 1994 and then joined the faculty at Howard in 1995 after completing a general practice residency. He then went on to receive his PhD in clinical epidemiology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Heath in 2005. Much of his research to date has been studying the association between sickle cell disease and oral health outcomes, performing secondary data analysis of the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) and publishing extensively on methods in evidence based dentistry.

Undergraduate Researchers