Nine outstanding young African scholars nominated by the African Academy of Sciences have been selected to participate in two prestigious Nobel Laurate meetings. The list of the scholars is below.
67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany
John Onyango Adongo, PhD Candidate, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Guest researcher at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Germany
Heavy metal ion (HMI) pollution is a global threat that is seemingly neglected but especially more significant in developing countries. As a material scientist collaborating with HZB Berlin, Mr. John Onyango Adongo, who also lectures physical-organic chemistry at the department of chemistry, Egerton University, Kenya, focuses on the fabrication and characterization of potentially renewable organo-silicon based chelating surfaces towards forensic detection and extraction of HMI's.
Key Publication: Fabrication and Characterization of Surfaces Modified with Carboxymethylthio Ligands for Chelate-Assisted Trapping of Copper. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b05131
Sarah D'Souza, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Ms Sarah D'Souza is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Pharmacy at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town. Nanotechnology has been her passion for the last nine years. Currently, her research focuses on the expansion of marine natural products with medicinal potential and further application of these extracts wand compounds with nanoparticles (Nps). D'Souza's research interests include the synthesis and conjugation of differently shaped, biocompatible Nps to a variety of macrocyclic compounds called phthalocyanines for potential cancer treatment in the form of photodynamic therapy. Her studies also led her to research semiconducting Nps called quantum dots. The results of the research have been published in international journals and also been presented at national and international conferences.
Ousmane Ilboudo, Assistant Professor, University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Blaise Kimbadi Lombe, PhD student, University of Wuerzburg, Germany
Mr Blaise Kimbadi Lombe was born in 1988 in Kabinda, a city located in the central part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). After completing his primary and high school studies in 2005, he moved to Kinshasa, the capital city of DRC, to study chemistry at the University of Kinshasa where he obtained the Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies (master's degree) in 2013. Both, his Bachelor and master's studies were supported by the Excellence Scholarship Program BEBUC, which empowers excellent young Congolese students to accomplish their studies rapidly and in depth in order to become professors and to renew the academic staff in their country. In 2014, sponsored by the German Collaborative Research Center 630 (‘Novel Agents against Infectious Diseases’) and, since 2015, by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), he has been conducting his PhD studies under the supervision of Prof Gerhard Bringmann at the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the University of Würzburg, Germany. His ongoing PhD project in the field of natural product chemistry deals with the isolation, structural elucidation, and biotesting of complex, novel-type naphthylisoquinoline dimers from Congolese Ancistrocladus plants.
Marian Asantewah Nkansah, Senior Lecturer, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, GhanaDr Marian Asantewah Nkansah is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana (KNUST) with nearly a decade of university teaching and research experience. She holds a PhD in environmental chemistry from the University of Bergen, Norway. Nkansah’ s research interests span a wide range of fields including finding solutions to environmental problems associated with levels and fate of toxic substances and has published widely in these areas. She serves as a thesis assessor for the School of Graduate Studies KNUST and assessor for staff promotion of the Methodist University College of Ghana among other bodies. Nkansah teaches Practical Chemistry, Nuclear/Radiochemistry, Chemistry and Society, and Petroleum Chemistry (a course she introduced in the Department). She is a two time beneficiary of SPIRE a grant instituted by the University of Bergen for collaborators in the South. She is also a reviewer of various academic journals and Director and co-founder of the Gaudete Institute (TGI), a charity organisation. Nkansah is a member of the Ghana Young Academy (GhYA) and is one of the scientists in the first cohort of Affiliates of the African Academy of Science representing Ghana for 2016-2020.
Nolwazi Nombona, Lecturer, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Nolwazi Nombona's masters project in electrochemistry at Rhodes University initiated her interest in research. She designed and synthesised phthalocyanines (Pcs) for use as electrocatalysts in the detection of carcinogens in food samples. Nombona also tested the Pcs for their potential use in the fabrication of ‘smart textiles’ at the University of Gent in Belgium.
Her PhD focused on the use of Pcs as photosensitisers in photodynamic therapy (PDT). I synthesised unsymmetrical Pcs and linked them to drug delivery agents such as folic acid, silver/gold nanoparticles, liposomes and polymers. She studied the photophysicochemical behaviour of the conjugates and tested their PDT effectiveness on choriallantoic membranes of live chick (at the University of Geneva, Switzerland), on breast cancer cells (at the National Laser Centre, CSIR) and on bacteria.
After completing her PhD, Nombona worked as a scientist at Mintek (Nanotechnology Innovation Centre) where she was involved in various research projects aimed at designing and developing electrochemical immunosensors for the detection of communicable diseases. She also headed a project focused on the fabrication of optical sensors based on nanofiber mats for application in water purification. She is currently a Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where she teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Nombona is supervising 3 MSc students and 2 PhD students. Her research involves the integration of molecules with nanomaterials towards the development of electrochemical sensors often dubbed as ‘electronic noses’ for detection of pathogenic diseases and carcinogens. She is also working on developing optical diagnostic systems for point-of-care applications. To date, she has co-authored 15 peer-reviewed journal articles and graduated 3 honours students.
Collins Obuah, Lecturer, University of GhanaDr Collins Obuah completed his secondary school education in 2000 at Adisadel College at Cape Coast, Ghana; and proceeded to the University of Ghana in 2002 where he obtained a BSc Honours in chemistry in 2006. He joined the Department of Chemistry at University of Johannesburg as an MSc student in 2010 under the mentorship of Prof James Darkwa and obtained his MSc degree in chemistry (Cum Laude) in 2012. He continued his studies as a PhD student under the same mentor. Obuah has been a tutor, a demonstrator and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Johannesburg and currently lectures at the Department of Chemistry, University of Ghana. Obuah has won several awards including the SACI-Sasol Postgraduate Medal of Excellence and the NRF Innovation Bursary for 2014.
Obuah’s PhD research investigated ferrocenylpyrazolyl nickel and palladium complexes as catalysts for the conversion of olefins to industrially useful materials. These catalysts produced low and high carbon content oligomers and alkylaromatics from the low carbon content oligomers. The products obtained from these catalytic reactions are valuable raw materials for the manufacture of lubricants and biodegradable detergents. The presence of ferrocene in the catalyst allowed the ease probe of the electronic property with various analytical techniques. This and many research works have been presented at several local and overseas conferences and have yielded 15 publications in high impact factor international to his credit.
6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences
Samar Mahmoud Mohamed Abdelmageed, Assistant Lecturer, British University, Egypt
Ms Samar Abdelmageed is an Assistant Lecturer at the Business Administration Department, Faculty of Business Administration, Economics and Political Science, the British University in Egypt (BUE). She graduated from the Statistics Department, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University, Egypt. She obtained her master’s degree in International Business Administration from Ajou University in South Korea as a scholarship granted from Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). She is currently a PhD student majoring in finance at the Business Administration Department in Ain Shams University in Egypt. Samar has worked as a statistical researcher at the Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) where she participated in preparing many studies and reports about different economic and social issues in Egypt through which she complemented her academic and educational background with practical and hands-on experience in empirical social research. She has been working at the BUE since October 2011 till present. She has been selected to represent the BUE and spend the summer semester of 2016/2017 at the University of Economics in Katowice in Poland as part of an Erasmus exchange program. Her research interests include a variety of topics in economics, finance, statistics and business administration.
Eleni Yitbarek, PostDoctoral Research Fellow, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Dr Eleni Yitbarek is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Prior to that, she obtained her PhD from Maastricht University in Economics and Governance. She had also received a master's degree from Maastricht University in Public Policy and Human Development, specialising in social policy financing. Since an early age, Eleni has a keen interest on economic development, particularly in the role social and economic policies play in it. She is particularly interested in questions such as: why some people remain poor while others become prosperous? What drives social mobility in developing countries? In her relatively young academic career, Eleni is making a contribution to applied research in poverty dynamics, socio-economic effects of idiosyncratic and transient shocks, gender-based social mobility in the context of Africa. She hopes one day her research will have a significant and concrete contribution towards informed policy making that aims to improve the lives of the many poor.