Professor Francis Amara is from the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics at the University of Manitoba, Canada. He was appointed in 2018 as the IUBMB Ambassador for Africa and is to teach and train future leaders in STEM and Bio-molecular Sciences.
Activities in Progress
- Promoting and celebrating STEM outreach in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
- Supporting collaboration between FASBMB and the Emerging Infectious Disease Network to encourage African scientists to participate in this network: Towards a coordinated strategy for intercepting human disease emergence in Africa – The Lancet Microbe.
- Initiated contact between FASBMB and the Journal of Biochimica et Biophysical Acta-Molecular Basis of Disease (BBA-Molecular Basis of Disease) and BB reports, to encourage African scientists to contribute to the “Special Issue of Biochemistry in Africa.”
- Initiated contact with FASBMB to support the IUBMB Trainee Initiative to academic institutions in Africa through its National Society membership.
- Promoting adjoint appointments for Canadian researchers at Sierra Leone Medical School. Professors Etienne Leygue (Department of Biochemistry & Medical Genetics) and Jason Kindrachuk (Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease), at the University of Manitoba, Canada, visited Sierra Leone, West Africa, in the spring of 2019 and 2021, respectively.
- Promoting collaboration between Canadian Universities Researchers and FASBMB.
- Providing advice to African undergraduate and graduate students about graduate studies and postdoctoral positions, respectively, at North American universities.
- IUBMB to promote a campaign for donation of research equipment to FASBMB selected researchers to support African universities.
- IUBMB to encourage faculty from overseas universities to participate in FASBMB conferences.
Other activities that were undertaken on behalf of the IUBMB to advance the international molecular life sciences community in Africa are highlighted below:
A workshop on “Basic Microscopy” was delivered to science teachers in Kenema, Sierra Leone.
An advertisement was placed for Dr. Ibitade Jawonisi, a Biochemist from Nigeria, West Africa, to recruit international collaborators to provide in-kind service to publish an illustrated, cartoon-Biochemistry Textbook for Nigerian and African students at the undergraduate level.
Since 2019, career advice on applying to graduate Molecular Bioscience programs in North American universities has been provided to several students from Africa. Specifically, students from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin, Liberia, and Gambia. This advice was given through correspondence and online platforms.
In June 2019, an online information session on the many opportunities offered by the IUBMB was delivered to medical students, the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.
- Celebrating Outreach in Africa
While in Sierra Leone, Professors Amara, Leygue, and Kindrachuk established teaching and research partnerships with the Departments of Biochemistry, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. They are planning to return to Sierra Leone late this year to develop courses in Molecular Biology, and deliver hands-on activities in Enzyme kinetics. During this period, Professor Amara will oversee progress made so far in construction of the STEM and Biomedical Center, Kenema, Sierra Leone. In future, this Center will serve as the hub for volunteers from IUBMB membership to deliver seminars, and professional development workshops, for universities across Africa.
STEM Education Center in Kenema, Sierra Leone, West Africa