AFRIQUE DU SUD :: A young Cameroonian scientist awarded a prestigious prize by the Academy of Science of South Africa.
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) has awarded a young Cameroonian scientist the prestigious Sydney Brenner Fellowships at its Annual Awards Ceremony held in Stellenbosch (South Africa) on 14 October 2015.
The award was established when Dr Sydney Brenner donated a portion of his 2002 Nobel Prize to permit ASSAf, in partnership with the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, to offer a postdoctoral Fellowship for research in molecular biology to be undertaken in South Africa over two years by an outstanding young scientist.
The Cameroonian 2015 recipient of the Sydney Brenner Fellowship is Dr Justin Nono Komguep.
Nono Komguep is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town. He completed his BSc, BSc (Hons) and MSc in Biochemistry with distinction at the University of Yaoundé 1 working on the influence of hemoglobinopathies on antimalarial therapy.
As a result of his work he was awarded a PhD Fellowship of the German research foundation to join the University of Wuerzburg and work on the characterisation of secreted products of parasitic helminths and their potency in facilitating infection. In 2013, he was awarded the highest distinction (Summa Cum Laude) for his PhD work that enabled the characterisation of novel immunomodulatory parasite factors.
In 2014, under a National Research Foundation (South Africa) Postdoctoral Fellowship, he joined the University of Cape Town (South Africa) to work on the identification of host protective mechanisms against helminths, with a focus on schistosomes. In 2015, he was awarded a Claude Leon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship (South Africa) to further his work on schistosomes by generating and employing a novel murine model of inducible gene deletion. Currently, as a Sydney Brenner Fellow, Dr. Nono Komguep will be generating and characterising more transgenic murine models to identify host factors that could confer resistance against Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia).
When asked about his future plans, Dr. Nono voiced his plan to establish as a researcher back in his home country, Cameroon. A tedious task but that He said could be facilitated by the network his long stay abroad has helped him build. In Dr. Nono’ s opinion, the Cameroonian Diaspora is hugely talented but surprisingly not used as much as it could or should be by the motherland. “It is a pity as this is increasingly apparent in the considerable extends of brain drain Cameroon in particular but several African nations in general are still suffering from” Dr. Nono concludes. “but there is more and more hope, as many of us are now realizing that no matter how much you contribute to foreign lands’ prosperity, your value will always be linked to how well your land of origin is doing.”