Recommended by: Charles Rotimi, National Human Genome Research Institute
Before becoming a geneticist, Fasil Tekola Ayele worked in public health. In particular, he focused on a disease called podoconiosis that is marked by swelling of the feet and legs. While podoconiosis is triggered by exposure to volcanic red clay soil, only a portion of people exposed to the irritant develops the disease. Families, though, tend to have a number of affected individuals.