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NIH welcomes a new generation of African scientific leaders to campus

June 7, 2023

Five women and five men from nine African countries have won African Postdoctoral Training Initiative (APTI) fellowships. The 10 scientists were competitively selected from 296 applicants to learn new techniques and new skills that will enable them to conduct innovative health research. The four-year postdoctoral fellowships begin with a two-year stint in various laboratories at the National Institutes of Health followed by another two years of research at their home institutions in Africa.

The fellows’ research projects encompass African-specific health priorities, including human immunobiology, microbiome research, drug discovery, genomics, HIV, malaria, maternal, neonatal and child health. This is the third cohort of APTI Fellows, who will begin working at NIH host labs in October 2023. Fogarty International Center implements the APTI program, which was established in 2019, in partnership with the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

Transforming Africa through science

“This joint effort brings outstanding early-career African researchers to NIH and strengthens our research partnerships and research capacity in Africa over the long run,” said Dr Peter Kilmarx, acting director of Fogarty and acting associate director for International Research at NIH. “We’re thrilled to welcome these 10 new exceptional scientists with diverse research interests.”

The APTI program aims to strengthen research ability in African countries and to develop ongoing scientific partnerships by awarding four-year fellowships to early career scientists. The fellows are trained and supported with the expectation that they will become future scientific leaders able to advocate for research and innovation in Africa. The 10 new fellows join two active cohorts in the APTI Program.

“Investing in early-career scientists is a vital ingredient in the transformation of Africa into a knowledge-based and technology-led continent,” stated Dr. Peggy Oti-Boateng, executive director of the AAS (a not-for-profit organization seeking to transform lives on the African continent through science). “The AAS is committed to facilitating research and innovation exchanges to enhance African research leadership to transform lives in the continent and deliver the ‘Africa We Want.’”

BMGF, a multibillion-dollar private trust and the largest philanthropic organization in the world, noted that it is imperative to strengthen African scientific leadership to advance health and development goals on the continent. As part of the APTI partnership, BMGF provides seed funding for fellows' research once they return to their home institution.

2023 African Postdoctoral Training Initiative Fellows: Cohort 3

  • Alphonsus Ugwu
    Home institution: Redeemer's University, Nigeria
    Research area: Human immunobiology for surveillance
  • Amadou Niangaly
    Home institution: Faculty of Pharmacy - University of Sciences, Techniques and Technology of Bamako, Mali
    Research area: Malaria monoclonal antibodies
  • Carine Kilola
    Home institution: Stellenbosch University, South Africa
    Research area: Maternal and child health
  • Daniel Amoako-Sakyi
    Home institution: University of Cape Coast, Ghana
    Research area: Microbiome and immune responses in children
  • Diana Marangu
    Home institution: University of Nairobi, Kenya
    Research area: Respiratory health in children
  • Kaelo Seatla
    Home institution: Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership, Botswana
    Research area: HIV genomics
  • Lobe Maloba
    Home institution: University of Buea, Cameroon
    Research area: Drug discovery
  • Rita Boateng
    Home institution: Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Ghana
    Research area: Malaria mol surveillance / antimalarial resistance
  • Vinie Kouamou
    Home institution: Charles River Medical Group, Zimbabwe
    Research area: HIV vaccine development / cure
  • Yaovi Hounmanou
    Home institution: Polytechnic School of Abomey-Calavi, Benin
    Research area: Genomics for surveillance

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