Six Nigerian scientists have made the list of 25 others whose research and innovations are contributing to solve Africa’s and the world’s pressing challenges as the next Fellows of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Fellows Class. This makes Nigeria the country with the largest number of scientists in the group.
All under 42 years, their works would be showcased at the forum’s next Global Gathering 2020 in Nairobi, Kenya on March 2020. There, the NEF Fellows will present their groundbreaking solutions, which they forum hopes could keep alive the hope of Africa producing the next scientist in the mold of Albert Einstein.
The NEF Fellows are selected by an International Scientific Program Committee, using a rigorous process that comprises academic and scientific merit, a strong publication record, patents, awards and a track record of funds independently raised for research.
As part of the selection criteria, potential NEF Fellows are required to demonstrate the relevance of their research or innovations to humanity’s grand challenges, as well as a passion for raising Africa’s scientific profile and inspiring the next generation of scientific leaders.
Launched in 2013 by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), the Next Einstein Forum’s (NEF) work is shaped by the belief that the next Einstein will be African. We are working to make Africa a global hub for science and technology. The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the centre of our efforts at NEF, is Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance.
Dr. Youssef Travaly, NEF’s Vice President of Science, Innovation and Partnerships, said this Class of Fellows was selected in record timing because of the quality of their profiles, adding that the forum is looking forward to their contributions to its foresight work and public engagement programs.
“We are tremendously pleased to welcome the new class to the growing NEF Community of Scientists, and the thirty-five Fellows that preceded this cohort. This Class was selected in record timing because of the quality of their profiles and we look forward to their contributions to our foresight work and public engagement programs like Africa Science Week,” said.
Thierry Zomahoun, Founder and Chair of the Next Einstein Forum and President and CEO of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), said, “I am excited to announce the 3rd class of NEF Fellows for two reasons. The first is that we are almost at parity, with 11 women in the class. The second is the variety of fields and countries from where the Fellows come from.”
The selected Fellows are doing cutting-edge research in renewable energy, nanomaterials and nanotechnology, food security, precision medicine, health systems, climate science and urban planning. A first for this class, according to Zomahoun is that two social scientists are among the selected Fellows. “We strongly believe their current and future discoveries will solve global challenges and we are excited to introduce you to them,” said.
The Fellows are:
Dr. Ademola Adenle (Nigeria) is leading research in science and technology policy in addressing sustainable development challenges such as climate change, food insecurity, energy and health innovation in Africa.
Dr. Daniel Akinyele (Nigeria) is immersed in unveiling deeper insights into planning, developing and managing new electrification systems for energy-poor communities using the social-technical-economic-environmental-policy, or STEEP.
Dr. Obidimma Ezezika (Nigeria) is studying processes that help contribute to developing new industrial models for effectively taking health interventions to scale in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr. Blesssing Mbabie (Nigeria) seeks to cover the real-time status of antimicrobial resistance and social factors that drive it, discovering natural drugs with high potential inhibitors of antimicrobial resistance mechanism.
Dr. Ebele Mogo (Nigeria) is involved in research that aims to transform societal systems that recognizes African contextual realities when designing healthy communities and preventing non-communicable diseases.
Dr. Eucharia Nwaichi (Nigeria) leads research projects that aim to find sustainable and safe sanitation strategies for the remediation of petroleum-impacted environments in the Niger Delta.
Dr. Geoffrey Siwo (Kenya) hopes to combine artificial intelligence with genetic data and scientific knowledge as a means of accelerating the discovery of fundamental principles that could enable equitable development of precision medicine.
Dr. Jesse Gitaka (Kenya) works on malaria elimination, prompt diagnosis and management of sub-clinical maternal bacterial infections that eliminate still births, prematurity, maternal and newborn sepsis and mortality.
Dr. Cecil Ouma (Kenya) leverages current research on energy materials and associated technologies, with hope to innovate cheap and small-scale off-grid technologies for rural and peri-urban settlements in Africa.
Dr. Fanelwa Ajayi (South Africa) seeks to develop various nanoparticles particularly with the use of edible substances, such as fruits and vegetables, and finding additional applications for them.
Dr. Salome Maswime (South Africa) leads a research initiative to scale up the implementation of the perinatal problem identification program model to four other healthcare systems in Africa.
Dr. Zaheer Allam (Mauritius) investigates the dynamics shaping urban life in the Anthropocene to better build policies enhancing both livability and economic levels in future cities, set to host the majority of humans on earth.
Dr. Ibrahim Cissé (Niger) is interested in developing high resolution methods of microscopy that go directly inside living cells, and single bio-molecules which could decode human genome from DNA into RNA.
Dr. Menattallah Elserafy (Egypt) studies DNA repair mechanisms, working to understand cellular processes which deciphered will change diagnostics and pave roads for personalized therapies.
Dr. Alpha Keita (Guinea) hopes to develop, together with his team in the Guinea and France, the reservoirs of viruses to better understand the natural history of Ebola virus spread.
Dr. Agnes Kiragga (Uganda) hopes to merge data science and machine learning methods to available “large data” and existing health records to predict and prevent HIV among high-risk groups in Africa.
Dr. Eric Lontchi (Cameroon) investigates ways of combating the burgeoning epidemic of obesity and diabetes, hoping to uncover new insights into the pathogenesis of, and potential treatments for diabetes.
Dr. Vidushi Neergheen-Bhujun (Mauritius) is determined to connect the dots between the role of functional food and cancer prevention.
Dr. Marian Nkansah (Ghana) focuses on developing public knowledge on toxic chemicals from unusual places, and the associated risk on local communities, strengthening the intersection of scientific evidence and policy.
Dr. Badre Abdselam (Morocco) seeks to contribute in the design and implementation of regional policies on young scientists’ intentional mobility within Africa to optimize brain circulation.
Dr. Dyllon Randall (South Africa) hopes to change our modern sanitation systems to focus on resource recovery rather than mere treatment, moving communities to rethink “waste” as valuable resources.
Dr. Samson Rwahwire (Uganda) is using his knowledge of material science and nanotechnology to modify bitumen for road construction utilizing green nanoscience as a crosslinker for plastic waste.
Dr. Cheikh Sarr (Senegal) is interested in developing a prototype of a self-driven vehicle, equipped by a lot of sensors networks in order to facilitate the mobility of people with disabilities.
Dr. Sara Suliman (Sudan), co-inventor of a four-gene biomarker, investigates why genes involved in electrolyte regulation across mammalian cell membranes might confer susceptibility to the world’s deadliest pathogen: Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Dr. Jessica Thorn (Namibia) uses social-ecological system modelling and participatory scenario planning to investigate and measure the impact of development corridors in land use, livelihoods, ecosystem, and social coherence.