Meet the Team!

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Project Leader & Graduate Researcher

Gretchen Johnson

Gretchen Johnson ( is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Biology at Howard University. She is conducting research for her doctoral dissertation on the historic Liberated African population discovered on St. Helena Island who were liberated by British anti-slavery efforts but subsequently died on the island. Valuable history, legacy and the opportunity to preserve one of the only remaining historical Liberated African populations of the transatlantic slave trade will be fulfilled in her research.

Ms. Johnson earned her Master of Science degrees in Forensic Science and Medical Science from Boston University School of Medicine; Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Also, Ms. Johnson is a recipient of National Geographic’s Explorer Grant and is a Just-Julian Fellow. Her main areas of research and expertise include Forensic Genetics, DNA Analyses and Molecular Biology. Outside of academia, Ms. Johnson enjoys playing the violin, piano, other artistic endeavors and traveling. My academic profile can be viewed here:

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Undergraduate Researcher

Imade Ojo

Imade Ojo( is currently a junior biology major with a minor in chemistry. She has been working in the W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory for the past two years as a researcher and volunteer. Imade has also been selected as a Louis Stokes Alliance for minority participation researcher. Her past work involves literary analysis and data collection from the New York African Burial Ground. Her current work with the Cobb Research Lab and Gretchen Johnson includes assisting in the research campaign, molecular analysis, and data collection from multiple sources. She is very excited to work on the St. Helena project and looks forward to learning more about the people and genomic history of the island.

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Webmaster & Undergraduate Researcher

Whitney Griffith

Ms. Whitney Griffith ( is currently a Junior, Computer Science major, concentration in Computational Biology at Howard University. She has done research on "The Correlation Between African-American Life Experiences and Type 2 Diabetes" based on the Cobb Collection. Also, she is currently working on "The Establishment of the Cobb Research Lab's Information System", a project geared towards optimizing the research done within the lab through bar coding technology, cloud solutions and graphic user interfaces. The Comprehensive Information System is packaged in the form of a mobile application, available in the App Store and Google Play. She is a recent inductee in Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the only Computing and Information International Honor Society, where, she will be serving as the 2017-2018 Treasurer. She is passionate about combining medicine and technology. Aside from this, her other passion is soccer and the steel pan, the national musical instrument of Trinidad and Tobago.