Olajumoke Olufemi #WomeninScience

This photo from Olajumoke Olufemi was the winner of the 2019 AuthorAID "Capture your Research" competition. Her research helps in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, detecting the transfer of resistance genes along the food chain and establishing that Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteria can be acquired from the community.

What excites you most about your research?

Antimicrobial resistance is a global threat and having the opportunity to embark on research in this field is a worthwhile adventure. I am pleased that my research into channels of acquiring antibiotic-resistant bacteria from the community will help buttress previous findings and also help fill some of the knowledge gaps that previously existed.

The excitement I have from my research journey is fuelled by the fact that I am not just identifying problems but also creating solutions. My research offers me a platform to engage in critical thinking, hence helping me harness qualities that make me a better researcher and person.

What challenges have you faced?

As an early-career researcher, facing challenges is inevitable. Some of the challenges I have faced have included inadequate facilities, funding, access to laboratory consumables and limited access to data and publications in line with my specific research.

What would you say to women and girls who might be interested in going into your area of research?

I’d love to encourage women and girls to pursue a career in research centered around antimicrobial resistance (AMR). You must see a decision to engage in antimicrobial research as an ample opportunity to help solve a global public health challenge. You might be holding within yourself novel ideas that could help curb this global crisis.

Hence, women and girls must not shy away from pursuing a career in the sciences; they must arise to change the current narrative where we only make up 30% of the world’s researchers. There are many research areas in AMR you can pursue, some of which cut across drug discovery, development of new antimicrobial agents, etc. If you are keen on details, passionate about creating solutions then this is a field for you.