Namandjé Bumpus (Courtesy Photo)

By AFRO Staff

Namandjé Bumpus recently was named chair of the the department of pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

The appointment distinguishes the 39-year-old as the first African-American woman to lead a department at the prestigious school and the only Black woman currently chairing a pharmacology department at any medical school in the nation.

“Being an African American woman in science, I had not only the glass ceiling, but the solitude of often being first,” she said as quoted in a university press release. “One of the reasons I push and work so hard for these leadership roles is I feel like I need to be there as an advocate, and I need to be there as an example.”

Bumpus first joined Johns Hopkins in 2010 as assistant professor in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, becoming an associate professor in 2015. She also broke ground as the school’s first associate dean for Institutional and Student Equity, a role she held from 2015 to 2017.

Bumpus earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Occidental College in Los Angeles—becoming the first in her family to hold a college degree. She went on to earn a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Michigan, and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in molecular and experimental medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

Craig Hendrix, who hired Bumpus and has been a mentor and collaborator praised her accomplishment.  

“She has a very high level of energy, a heart for students, a heart for diversity and equity and justice, and a heart for science. She’s red-hot in all those areas. It’s a tremendous combination.”