BIO Africa Innovation Hub – The Mail & Guardian

bit2Big > Africa News > BIO Africa Innovation Hub – The Mail & Guardian


The BIO Africa Innovation Hub is a novel approach to support the bio-innovation pipeline in Africa. AfricaBio has partnered with Emory University to conceptualise building a digital entrepreneurial ecosystem to address the immediate (Covid-19) and long-term needs of bio-innovation in Africa. The Hub will host six portals (marketplace, idea center, funding and market access, training, scientific research, and communications) to support bio-innovators through their stages of innovation. 

Emory University provides support to the project through their accelerator program, Advancing Healthcare Innovation in Africa, sponsored by Dr Dennis Liotta and managed by Bethany Larkin, both of Emory University.  

Scientific Resource Hub 

New research, data, and ideas from around the world circulate quickly. It is difficult to stay up-to-date on the latest, trusted information. African bio-innovators need a dependable, central source of curated information to fast-track their research and guide them through business growth. AfricaBio and Emory University joined forces to create the Scientific Resource Hub in response to the rapidly changing innovation space during the Covid-19 pandemic.    

The Scientific Resource Hub connects innovators in Africa with trustworthy data to inform their innovations, provide a strong evidence base and spark new ways of thinking. With a vision to expand to additional topics, the Hub currently provides curated Covid-19 resources for the African innovator including gateways to research, events and webinars, and up-to-date blogs on key Covid-19 topics such as diagnostics, treatment and prevention.  

Emory University provides research and content creation through a team of science and public health students led by Dr Constance Shreckengost (Emory University); Dr Theresa Gillespie (Emory University); Dr Raveen Parboosing (University of KwaZulu-Natal); and Dr Jeffrey Mphahlele (Vice-President for Research at the South African Medical Research Council) to provide scientific leadership and ensure information quality. The BIO Africa Innovation Hub hopes to become an important go-to resource for African innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists. 

Rising Stars at the BioAfrica Convention 2020

The Women in STEM sessions provide forums to deliberate on critical and topical issues affecting the under-representation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) globally. The 2020 discussions, both facilitated by Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, will centre on the role of women in STEM, with a session of women in leadership in the sector as well as a special focus on celebrating young women who will be future leaders in STEM, and how to mobilise grassroots support for girls to increase their numbers through practical tools. 

The Women in STEM: Rising Stars session will feature: 

Kerigo Odada

Kerigo Odada is a human rights lawyer based in South Africa and specialising in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Africa.  She has more than five years of experience in working with adolescent girls and young women nationally, regionally and internationally. She serves as a board member of The Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights. Odada has in-depth understanding of the nexus between law, society and human rights, and is keen on using this knowledge to advocate for a more human-centred design approach in initiatives focusing on adolescent girls and young women’s SRHR.

Dr Lenine Liebenberg 

Dr Lenine Liebenberg (PhD) is a scientist based at the CAPRISA (Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa) Mucosal Immunology Laboratory. She is an honorary senior lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a Royal Society & African Academy of Sciences Future Leaders Independent African Researcher Fellow, and an Affiliate Member of the African Academy of Sciences.  Liebenberg’s combined academic training in medical virology, microbiology, genetics and immunology direct the scope of her research in understanding the immune responses of human genital mucosa. Her research employs cutting-edge technologies that have been useful in documenting methods to improve genital cell isolation from men and women, and in characterising genital and systemic immune factors facilitating HIV infection, viral shedding and HIV transmission. Her current research centres on understanding the female genital immune and microbial environments to inform the design of effective biomedical interventions to prevent infection by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Dr Rose Hayeshi

Rose Hayeshi holds a PhD in Biochemistry, with eight years’ experience in the field of pharmaceutical sciences gained through training and research positions held in Zimbabwe, Sweden, The Netherlands and South Africa. She is employed at the DST/NWU Preclinical Drug Development Platform at North-West University, Potchefstroom.  Half of her time is spent on research and academic responsibilities as an associate professor. The other half is spent as study director for preclinical testing in compliance with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Good Laboratory Practice guidelines.

Dr Yumna Moosa

Dr Yumna Moosa’s research focus at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform is on the use of next generation sequencing (NGS) technology and bioinformatics methods to survey the microbiome and virome to advance women’s health. She is a PhD student from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban and the Student Council President: South African Society for Bioinformatics (SASBi). She has a Pure Mathematics degree and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB).

Andiswa Candice Sehoma

Andiswa Sehoma is an Access Campaign Advocacy Officer who negotiates with officials, meets pharmaceutical bigwigs, discusses making medicines affordable, then mobilises people and pickets for broader access to life-saving drugs. A co-ordinator for Doctors Without Borders, she has campaigned to reduce the prices of new tuberculosis drugs, and has now turned her attention to Covid-19 and to campaign against profiteering in medicines and vaccines.

For more information, visit: https://www.bioafricaconvention.com/


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