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  • #IAmNYAS: Ifeoma Ezenyi

    She’s not only searching for ways to help fight malaria, Ifeoma Ezenyi, PhD, is also exploring cultures and cuisines both near and far.

    Posted 3/21/2016

    Working today as a Research Fellow in Pharmacology and Toxicology at Nigeria's National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Ifeoma Ezenyi, PhD, spent her time as a doctoral candidate searching for compounds that could help prevent malaria. Not only did that work help her secure her PhD, it also garnered her a L'Oréal-UNESCO Regional Fellowship for Women in Science. These fellowships, which focus on bridging the gender disparity in STEM and encouraging women to pursue STEM careers, reach women in 111 countries around the world.

    Learn more about Ifeoma and her work below.

    What has been one of the most rewarding moments of your career?

    Getting recognition for my work and being awarded a L'Oréal-UNESCO Regional Fellowship for Women in Science. It gave me a confidence boost and helped me complete my doctoral studies in record time. 

    Tell us a bit more about your doctoral studies?

    My study was designed to reveal antimalarial compounds present in plants employed in Nigerian ethnomedicine. Candidate plants were selected after a literature search and a pilot study conducted on extracts of the plants to assess their safety and efficacy in rodents. Three promising extracts were subjected to successive, rigorous purification processes employing different antiplasmodial and cytotoxicity tests as guides to select compounds with high selectivity for malaria parasites. Mechanistic tests were also conducted on the compounds to gain insight on modes of their parasiticidal effect.

    What kinds of things do you like to do outside the lab?

    I like reading science fiction and visiting new places. I recently visited Harare, Zimbabwe, which commands attention for its beautiful wildlife. The people were so warm and very accommodating; I look forward to visiting again soon. And I enjoy cooking local south-eastern Nigerian dishes, especially when entertaining guests. Occasionally (when I can find the time), I try out some recipes I was introduced to during a three-month stay in India. And I have a deep passion for music. I find classical music most relaxing. I also have basic skills for playing the violin.

    Why did you become a Member of the New York Academy of Sciences?

    To meet with a wide diversity of scientists across different disciplines, facilitate career development, and access new scientific information. 

    What's the best piece of career advice you've received?

    Don't just say what you want to do, do it!

    Take that same advice in your own career - don't just imagine connecting with a global network of scientists, do it today! If you join the Academy at the Professional Membership level before April 30th, you can save 20% on your Membership by using Promo Code "PRO2016" when you enroll.

    Read other #IAmNYAS profiles here.

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