Central Africa

Apinjoh Tobias Obejum

Field: Biosciences
Country: Cameroon


Obejum is an early career researcher and Lecturer based at the University of Buea in Buea, Cameroon. With a PhD in Biochemistry (University of Buea, Cameroon) and Genetic Manipulation (University of Nottingham, UK), he has been studying malaria epidemiology and immunology in pregnant women and children since 2003. His research interests include infectious disease (especially malaria) epidemiology, pathogenesis and immunology. He is currently focusing on population genetics and drug resistance testing of Plasmodium falciparum across different micro-ecological zones of Cameroon, aiming to produce information on the genetic structure of these parasite populations critical to the detection of signatures of natural selection in the parasite genome. Dr Obejum was a Malaria Genomic Epidemiology (MalariaGEN) Data Fellow for Cameroon and is a member of the Plasmodium Diversity Network Africa (PDNA).

Denis Zofou 

Field: Biochemistry / Pharmacology
Country: Cameroon

Zofou is a Senior Lecturer and researcher at the University of Buea.
He researches new therapies for tropical and non-communicable diseases such as malaria and diabetes, respectively, using traditional medicine. He has been working with collaborators to identify and develop new drug molecules and to design phytomedicines from partially purified plant extracts. Dr Zofou and collaborators have made a substantial contribution towards exploring the African pharmacopoeia, as an available and affordable alternative source of new therapies for the treatment of malaria in particular. They have succeeded in isolating and testing more than 50 pure compounds from selected medicinal plants used in in Cameroon as antimalarials.
Dr Zofou is currently leading two research projects:  focusing on lead development for malaria treatment from selected compounds previously identified, and a second project aimed at designing two improved antimalarial phytomedicines from medicinal plants.
He has co-authored a book chapter on African medicinal plants and their pharmacological properties and 28 scientific articles in internationally renowned journals and won the 2014 TWAS-ROSSA Young Scientists Prize in Applied Sciences, in recognition of his studies on anti-malarial products for the treatment of drug resistant malaria. Dr Zofou is a member of editorial boards of the Journal of Biotechnology and Biomaterials in the US and Corresponding Editor of the International Journal of Ethnomedicine and Pharmacognosy in Nigeria. He has contributed as reviewer in several scientific journals.

East Africa

Dickson M Andala

Field: Materials chemistry
Country: Kenya
Andala is a Senior Lecturer for materials chemistry at the Multimedia University’s Department of Chemistry in Kenya. He has a PhD in nanotechnology/materials chemistry from State University of New York at Binghamton, USA. He undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at Pennsylvania State University in 2011. Dr Andala is involved in policy development and capacity building in the area of nanotechnology. He chaired the Committee on establishment of nanotechnology in Kenya and is a stakeholder in the ‘Development of National Research Agenda: Role of Science, Research and Innovation in stimulating Economic growth (i.e. Vision 2030)’ spearheaded by National Commission for Science Innovation and Technology. He is the Editor in Chief for the Kenya Chemical Society. He was also involved in setting up the Pan-African Centre of Excellence in Nanomedicine. He is involved in promotion of Chemical Safety and Security in Kenya and the drafting of the Global Chemists’ Code of Ethics (GCCE) spearheaded by American Chemical Society in partnership with OPCW. He is currently supervising 8 PhD students and several masters students and has 14 publications in peer reviewed journals and two books. He has organised, given talks and attended several local and international conferences on nanotechnology and materials science. His research interests include the development of metal nanoparticles, metal and metal oxide nanofibers and nanotubes. He is currently a member of Kenya Academy of Sciences; American Chemical Society, Kenya Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, African Materials Research Society, ANSOLE and Materials Research Society and an IUPAC-Affiliate.

Askwar Hilonga

Field: Chemistry
Country: Tanzania
Hilonga is a Senior Lecturer at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Tanzania. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree (BSc.Ed, 2004) and Master (M.Sc. Chem, 2007) from the University of Dar es Salaam. Hilonga obtained his PhD from the Hanyang University (2010) and continued with post-doctorate studies for two more years at the same university until 2012. Hilonga obtained a Master in Public Health (MPH) from Sahmyook University, Korea in 2012.
From 2007 – 2012 Hilonga worked with an environmentally responsible Nanotechnology R&D Company - E&B Nanotech Co. Ltd in conjunction with the Hanyang University to disseminate modern nanotechnologies desired for large-scale inexpensive commercial/industrial production. Dr. Hilonga has a “global-mind” after performing various activities in multi-cultural societies in several countries such as Rwanda (2004), Kenya & Namibia (2005), China (2006), Belgium (2008), South Korea (2007-2012, 2014), Vietnam (2010), Thailand (2011), Ethiopia (2012 and 2013), India (2013 and 2014), South Africa (2014 Twice), Norway (2015), and United Kingdom (2015). He has published 39 scientific articles in internationally recognised journals and authored one book. He has won five awards in 2015 and 2016 including the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation and the National Health Innovation Award.
Awards and grants in 2015 - 2016
1. Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, June 2015 - by the Royal Academy of Engineering
2. Pitch@Palace Africa, Dec 2015 - by the Duke of York, Prince Andrew
3. National Health Innovation Award (via The President of Tanzania), Oct 2015 - by National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR)
4. Technologies for the Under-served Communities Dec 2015 - by IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers, UK)
5. Won DFID grant of GBP 350,000 though Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) - 2016

Shubi Felix Kaijage

Field: Electronics and Information Engineering
Country: Tanzania
Kaijage received his Doctor of Engineering (Electronics and Information Eng.) and Master in Engineering (Electrical and Electronics Eng.) degrees from University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan, in March 2011 and March 2008, respectively. Since February 2014, he has been working with Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Tanzania as a Lecturer and Head at the department of Communication Science and Engineering (CoSE).
Between September 2011 and December 2013, he worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Research Center of Terahertz Technology in the College of Electronic Science and Technology, Shenzhen University, P. R. China. He has also worked as a Research Assistant (RA) for about three years since 2008 in the Fiber Optics Lab, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan.
Dr Kaijage has published over 25 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals and more than 50 research papers presented in various international conferences. Furthermore, he is a recipient of numerous international awards and grants (from the USA, Japan and China) as recognition to his scholarly works. He is also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) and the Optical Society of America (OSA) and an Affiliate of the African Academy of Science.
Dr Kaijage specialised in optics and photonics, optical fiber and photonic crystal fibers, fiber optics communication, fiber to the home, terahertz wave technology, smart grid, radio frequency identification and wireless sensor networks technology.

Lucy Kananu Murungi

Field: Crop protection
Country: Kenya

Murungi is a crop protection expert in the Department of Horticulture at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). Her role in the department includes, but is not limited to, capacity building and research. Dr Murungi, who holds a BSc, MSc and PhD in Horticulture from JKUA, has specialised on the ecological interactions between plants and pests found below- and above ground. She recently completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) where she was evaluating allelochemicals involved in the interactions between high value vegetables and root-knot nematodes. Dr Murungi is a principal investigator and a collaborator in various vegetable integrated pest management projects both locally and internationally. She has published several scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals and is supervising a number of postgraduate students working on various crop pests. Recently, she was awarded the first prize for demonstrating progressive laboratory research of the 2013-2015 fellows when she completed her two-year fellowship with the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). Dr Murungi belongs to six professional associations one of them being the Horticultural Association of Kenya where she is serving in the executive board as the secretary. She is working closely with various stakeholders in order to apply scientific knowledge to develop simple and affordable tools to solve pest problems at the smallholder farmer level and improve food security.

Fredros Okumu

Field: Health sciences
Country: Kenya
Okumu is a Research Scientist at Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania where he is also Head of Environmental Health and Ecological Sciences Department. He is an Associate Professor of Public Health at University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and a Visiting Researcher at Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), in Brazil. Dr Okumu originally trained as a Health Officer in Moi University, College of Health Sciences, Kenya. He has two masters in applied parasitology (University of Nairobi, Kenya) and in geo-information science, earth observation and environmental modelling (Lund University, Sweden). He obtained a PhD in infectious tropical diseases from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2012 and is currently completing an MBA in International Health Management (MBA-IHM) at University of Basel & Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland. Since 2008, Dr Okumu has been studying human-mosquito interactions and developing synthetic attractants for disease-transmitting mosquitoes. He and his colleagues have developed and tested various outdoor mosquito control and surveillance devices to complement existing malaria interventions and accelerate efforts towards elimination. His other interests include quantitative ecology of malaria vectors, crowd-sourcing approaches for disease surveillance, mathematical simulations to predict effectiveness of interventions, improved housing for marginalized communities, and prevention of child malnutrition. Dr Okumu was awarded the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Young Investigator Award in 2009 and a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Research Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine (2014-2019). He is also currently a co-chair of the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (MalERA) consultative group on Tools for Malaria Elimination (2015-2016), a co-chair of the WHO-Vector Control Working Group on New Challenges and New Tools for Malaria Elimination (2015-), a member the Editorial Board of the Journal, Parasites and Vectors and an advisory board member of the Dutch Malaria Foundation.

Southern Africa

Edson Gandiwa

Field: Environmental Science
Country: Zimbabwe
Gandiwa holds a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and Health from Zimbabwe’s University of Science and Technology (2004), an MSc in tropical resource ecology from the University of Zimbabwe (2007), and a PhD in wildlife conservation and management from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands (2013). His career has focused on wildlife ecology and conservation. He started his career in wildlife conservation in 2004 when he joined the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority as an ecologist based in Gonarezhou National Park. He worked as an ecologist for almost 9 years before joining Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe in 2013 as an Associate Professor in the then Department of Wildlife and Safari Management. In 2014, he was appointed the inaugural Executive Dean for the School of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation where he currently provides academic leadership in terms of research, teaching and engagement with industry/community on wildlife related issues. In September 2015, he was appointed as a Full Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. To date, he has published 72 scientific articles as peer-reviewed journal articles, two book chapters, and several conference proceedings and technical reports, contributed  knowledge which has been vital to sustainable conservation and is involved in community outreach through education related roles.

Banothile Makhubela

Field: Chemistry

Country: South Africa
Makhubela has a PhD from the University of Cape Town in South Africa with her research focusing into the design, synthesis and characterisation of novel platinum group metal based organometallic complexes supported on macromolecules and biopolymers for applications in catalysis, with an emphasis on clean catalytic transformations in aqueous media, metal catalyst recycling and sustainability.

Dr Makhubela received the UCT Science Faculty, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and National Research Foundation (NRF) Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowships in 2012. Her postdoctoral studies involved the design synthesis and evaluation of new PGM metal-containing polymers and metallodendrimers as anti-cancer agents. This work has revealed promising insights into the cytotoxic mechanism of ruthenium and osmium containing complexes/macromolecules against cancer cells, that should aid rational design of metallo-drugs in the future.
She is an NRF Research Career Advancement Fellow, a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Hope Fellow and Young Affiliate Member of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).
Her current research is directed at developing organometallic complexes and nano-catalysts to promote the catalytic transformation of carbon dioxide and renewable bio-derived feedstock to valuable chemicals, fuel additives and biodegradable materials.

Christina Thobakgale-Tshabalala

Field: Biochemistry
Country: South Africa
Thobakgale-Tshabalala is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the HIV Pathogenesis Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa. She received her PHD in immunology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and also trained as a postdoctoral fellow with the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard (USA). For the past few years, her research focused on understanding cellular and viral factors that influenced disease progression in HIV-infected infants and findings from this work yielded numerous important findings which had an impact in changing treatment guidelines for children worldwide. She has authored and co-authored 21 publications and presented her research at various local and international conferences.

She currently supervises seven postgraduate students and her research group contributes to science by understanding the innate immune responses and their impact to control HIV & TB infections.
Dr Thobakgale-Tshabalala is a Wellcome Trust Fellow in Public Health and Tropical Medicine; a member of the South African Academy of Science; a South African ambassador for a global project aimed at young girls to encourage uptake of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) subjects and has been recognised by the Ministry of Science and Technology for the Distinguished Young Women in Science award.

West Africa

Adewale Adewuyi

Field: Industrial Chemistry
Country: Nigeria
Adewuyi has a PhD in industrial chemistry from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. His research focuses on the industrial applications of underutilised seeds and seed oils in tropical Africa which cuts across synthesis of surfactants, biofuel and major oleochemicals and their use in waste water treatment, environment, medicine and food.  
He has published over 45 research articles in highly reputable internationally recognised journals and he has presented over 10 papers at local and international conferences; many of which have won awards. Dr Adewuyi is a prolific writer and a dynamic speaker. He is a recipient of several awards and grants such as the University of Ibadan Postgraduate School Scholarship (2007); the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Fellowship (Hyderabad, India, 2008) and the African Union-TWAS Young Scientist National award (2014). Presently, Dr Adewuyi Adewale is a lecturer at Redeemer’s University, 

Augustina Angelina Sylverken

Field: Clinical Microbiology
Country: Ghana
Sylverken has a masters in clinical microbiology from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Her masters research was on the transmission of Wuchereria bancrofti in southwestern Ghana. After her masters, Dr Sylverken was enrolled as a PhD candidate on a project funded by the UBS Optimus Foundation. Part of the initial training was conducted at the prestigious Bernhard Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine in Germany where she gained knowledge and insight into the use of state of the art technologies in discovering viruses. She is currently involved in a German Research Foundation (DFG) BAT project team that is using wildlife, human interaction and livestock to study the transmission interface of several viruses with focus on Coronaviruses. She is responsible for ensuring that the project runs smoothly, supervising the laboratory works of PhD students, informal teaching, preparing manuscripts and writing proposals and spearheading all academic related activities at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine.

Akomian Fortuné Azihou

Field: Tropical Ecology
Country: Benin
Azihou is a lecturer and researcher at University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin) and a guest lecturer at the University of Parakou (Benin). He is member of the Laboratory of Applied Ecology and external collaborator of the Laboratory of Biomathematics and Forest Estimation. From 2010 to 2013, he was a member of the Interim Steering Committee of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network. His current research interests include plant strategies, community assembly, dynamics of forest and savanna ecosystems and conservation of natural resources. Some of his fellowships and grants include the National Fund for Scientific Research and Technologic Innovation (FNRSIT, Benin) Research Grant (2015); International Foundation of Sciences (IFS) Collaborative research grant (2015); National Office of Wood (ONAB, Bénin) Research grant (2013, 2015); Rufford Small Grant (RSG) for Nature Conservation (2012); IUFRO-SPDC Sponsorship, International Union of Forest Research Organizations (2012); Research Grant for Excellence, West African Economic and Monetary Union (2011); Student Travel Award, International Association for Landscape Ecology (2011); Bursary, Conservation Science Group, University of Cambridge, (2010); Beninese Government Scholarship (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). He participated in 20 conferences and workshops in Japan, China, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, USA, Kenya, Tanzania, Togo, Niger and Benin. Dr Azihou has published 13 papers in peer-reviewed journals, three dissertations and one book chapter.

Marian Asantewah Nkansah

Field: Chemistry
Country: Ghana
Nkansah’s research interests span a wide range of fields including finding solutions to environmental problems associated with levels and fate of toxic substances like heavy/trace metals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and petrochemicals in food, water, soil, rocks, sediments and the interaction of these pollutants with each other in the environment.
Dr Nkansah has nearly a decade of university teaching and research experience. She has published widely in the area of heavy metals and PAHs in the environment. She collaborates with Scientists in Bern -Switzerland and Bergen-Norway. She is a two time beneficiary of SPIRE a grant instituted by the University of Bergen for collaborators in the South. She serves as a thesis assessor for the School of Graduate Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and assessor for staff promotion of the Methodist University College of Ghana among other bodies. She is also a reviewer for academic journals including the Journal of Science and Technology, KNUST and the Journal of Hazardous Materials.  She is a Member of the Council of Convocation of KNUST and the Director of ‘The Gaudete Institute’, a charity organisation. Dr Nkansah teaches practical chemistry, nuclear/radiochemistry, chemistry and society, and petroleum chemistry (a course she introduced).

Eucharia Oluchi Nwaichi

Field: Environmental biochemist
Country: Nigeria

Nwaichi is a Lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt Nigeria with vast work experience in diverse industries including Dangote Group, Coca Cola, and Shell Petroleum Development Company. She is an environmental biochemist with an interest in environmental assessments, monitoring and remediation and most recently is focused on finding sustainable and safe clean up strategies for remediation of petroleum impacted environments, findings which are well consumed.  Her wide affiliations and awards/ grants/ fellowships have brought distinction in her scholarship in the areas of research, visibility and social responsibility to many of her University’s host communities. Dr Nwaichi’s selfless and distinctive way of improving the lot of students has earned her successive awards from student bodies beyond her department. She  has  devoted  her time to engaging host communities and ‘polluters’ for a more synergistic and sustainable success in the area of recovery of petroleum impacted environment, in spite of attendant security challenges in the zone. Awards and recognitions to her credit include the prestigious Commonwealth Fellowship, the 2015 University of Port Harcourt Distinguished Merit Award for diligent and meritorious service to the University, UNESCO L’Oreal International Fellowships FWIS, among others. Dr Nwaichi has published widely and has made several paper presentations at both local and international conferences, symposia and meetings.