Training the next generation of African scientific leaders in global health

Ten outstanding early career scientists from nine African countries have been awarded four-year fellowships that will build their capacity to conduct cutting-edge research in global health. The fellowships will be awarded through the African Postdoctoral Training Initiative (APTI) programme, which is implemented by the African Academy of Sciences in partnership with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The APTI programme was established in 2019 to strengthen research capacity in African countries and develop ongoing scientific partnerships. APTI Fellows are trained and supported to become scientific leaders who can advocate for increased research and innovation projects in Africa.

This is done through four-year postdoctoral fellowships where APTI Fellows join various laboratories of the NIH Institutes or Centers for two years before returning to their home institutions in Africa for another two years of program support. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s support to the postdoctoral fellows includes seed funding for their research upon their return to their home institution.

Dr Peggy Oti-Boateng, Executive Director at the African Academy of Sciences, says “Investing in early-career scientists is a vital ingredient in the transformation of Africa into a knowledge-based and technology-led continent. 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”.”

This third cohort of the APTI Fellows (APTI 3) – five women and five men – will assume their positions in NIH host labs in October 2023. Their research activities shall focus on specific global health research priority areas including human immunobiology, microbiome research, drug discovery, genomics, HIV, malaria, maternal, neonatal and child health.

“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 the Fogarty International Center 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 3 Fellows represent the best research talent on the continent, competitively selected from 296 applicants. The 10 new fellows join two other active cohorts whose details are available on the APTI Programme webpage.

Cohort 3: African Postdoctoral Training Initiative Fellows (2023)

Fellow: Alphonsus Ugwu

Home institution: Redeemer’s University

Country: Nigeria

Research area: Human immunobiology for surveillance

Fellow: Amadou Niangaly

Home institution: University of Sciences, Techniques and Technology of Bamako

Country: Mali

Research area: Malaria monoclonal antibodies

Fellow: Carine Kunsevi Kilola

Home institution: Stellenbosch University

Country: South Africa

Research area: Maternal and child health

Fellow: Daniel Amoako-Sakyi

Home institution: University of Cape Coast

Country: Ghana

Research area: Microbiome and immune responses in children

Fellow: Diana Marangu

Home institution: University of Nairobi

Country: Kenya

Research area: Respiratory health in children

Fellow: Kaelo Seatla

Home institution: Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership

Country: Botswana

Research area: HIV genomics

Fellow: Lobe Maloba

Home institution: University of Buea

Country: Cameroon

Research area: Drug discovery

Fellow: Rita Boateng

Home institution: Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research

Country: Ghana

Research area: Malaria mol surveillance / antimalarial resistance

Fellow: Vinie Kouamou

Home institution: Charles River Medical Group

Country: Zimbabwe

Research area: HIV vaccine development / cure

Fellow: Yaovi Hounmanou

Home institution: University of Abomey-Calavi

Country: Benin

Research area: Genomics for surveillance