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Georgia Mae Dunston

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Information about Georgia Mae Dunston

Profile image of Georgia Mae Dunston

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Geneticist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Chinese Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Oceans
Favorite Quote:
All things are possible to the one that believes.

Birthplace

Born:
8/4/1944
Birth Location:
Norfolk, Virginia

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Geneticist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Chinese Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Oceans
Favorite Quote:
All things are possible to the one that believes.

Birthplace

Born:
8/4/1944
Birth Location:
Norfolk
See how Georgia Mae Dunston is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Geneticist Georgia Mae Dunston was born in Norfolk, Virginia on August 4, 1944 to a working class family. As a child, Dunston developed an interest in the biology of race and decided to continue her study of biology after graduating from high school. She earned her B.S. degree in biology from Norfolk State University in 1965 and her M.S. degree in biology from Tuskegee University in 1967. Dunston went on to study at the University of Michigan, finishing her Ph.D. degree in human genetics in 1972. She then accepted a position at Howard University Medical Center as an assistant professor which she held from 1972 to 1978.

From 1975 to 1976, Dunston completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute where she studied tumor immunology. She later served as a scientist there in an immunodiagnosis lab that was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At Howard, Dunston was appointed director of the human immunogenetics laboratory in 1985. At this time, she focused her research on diseases that are common in the black community as well as genes and immune reactions that are unique to African American populations. From 1991 to 1994, Dunston served as associate director of the Division of Basic Sciences at Howard University Cancer Center. She was promoted to full professor in the Department of Microbiology at Howard in 1993 and became chair of the department in 1998. Inspired by the Human Genome Project, begun in 1990, Dunston focused her attention on the genetic heritage of the African American population. Dunston’s work in human genetics and diversity resulted in her founding the National Human Genome Center at Howard in 2001.

Dunston is the recipient of several awards including the Howard University College of Medicine Outstanding Research Award, NAACP Science Achievement Award and the Howard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member Award. She has been a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Sigma Xi and the National Academy of Sciences Review Committee on Human Genome Diversity Project. Georgia Mae Dunston lives in Washington, D.C.


Georgia Dunston was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 5, 2012.

See how Georgia Mae Dunston is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Georgia Mae Dunston's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her mother's growing up in Princess Anne County, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston discusses her father's unique name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her patrilineal ancestors
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her father's education and social background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her father's near death experience and religious enlightenment
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her family's religious background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her siblings and growing up in Norfolk
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston reflects upon her experiences and interests as a young girl
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about being introduced to philosophy and science
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Georgia Mae Dunston discusses what distinguished her from her siblings
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her interest in biology, skin tone bias and race
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her transition to Ruffner Junior High School during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her experience at Booker T. Washington High School, and her desire to become a biologist
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about receiving a state scholarship to attend college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about being a first generation college student
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston recalls some of her influential college professors and peers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her peers at Norfolk State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston remembers getting her first 'C' and learning biology in college
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about graduating from college and searching for employment opportunities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her introduction to the field of genetics
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her experience with academic challenges, love and heartbreak at Tuskegee University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree at the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes how her experience with research expanded her scholarly opportunities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about George Washington Carver
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston comments upon being unaware of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment while she was at Tuskegee University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about being the only African American in the human genetics program at the University of Michigan in the mid-1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about exploring different belief systems at the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about the study of human genetics being influenced by social stereotypes
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about race and genetics
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her doctoral work on characterizing a human blood-group variant first found in a native South American population
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about receiving an opportunity to pursue a post-doc at Howard University and NIH
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her relationship with her doctoral advisor
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about Dr. Willie Turner's role in her appointment at Howard University and the NIH
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about Dr. Willie Turner's mentorship at Howard University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her first experience with the NIH research grant process
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about African American geneticists and Howard University's program in human genetics
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes the establishment of the doctoral program and the first doctoral students in microbiology at Howard University in the 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her role in establishing the Human Immunogenetics Laboratory at Howard University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her work in the field of immunogenetics
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about the role of the Howard Immunogenetics Laboratory in providing clinical services for the transplant program
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about how Howard University became involved in the Human Genome Project - part one
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about how Howard University became involved in the Human Genome Project - part two
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her initial meeting with Francis Collins in the 1990s, and her involvement with studying the genetics of diabetes in Africans
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her involvement with starting the African American Hereditary Prostate Cancer Study
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about recruiting geneticist, Rick Kittles, to the African American Hereditary Prostate Cancer Study at Howard University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about Rick Kittles' departure from the African American Hereditary Prostate Cancer Study at Howard University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about factors that affect gene expression and regulation
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston reflects upon her legacy and talks about the genetic basis of diversity in humans
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community today
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her family and reflects upon her career's findings
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about how she would like to be remembered, and describes the power of understanding the human genome