As the world continues to fight the unparalleled challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, African women in STEM are yet again demonstrating their leadership in their various communities and countries. Not only are they on the frontlines of the response effort to treat and stop the spread of the virus, but they are also spearheading advances in health and safety in their roles as scientists, researchers, innovators, researchers and communicators.
At Levers in Heels, we remain committed to ensuring that the voices of African women in STEM are heard, especially in these unprecedented times, as they share their solutions for a safer, healthier, and gender-equal world.
Here are our 100 African Women in STEM leading the fight against COVID-19:
1. Joyce Ngoi (Kenya)
Joyce Ngoi, together with her team of scientists at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), was responsible for the successful sequencing of genomes of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic – obtaining important information about the genetic composition of the viral strains in 15 of the confirmed cases in Ghana back in April 2020.
Genome sequencing allows for the compilation of the most comprehensive information about an organism’s genetic makeup. Using advanced next-generation sequencing (NGS) methods, scientists are able to track and compare viral mutations to understand the origins of imported strains and to discover if any novel strains are emerging locally.
“We anticipate that this will form the basis of further genomic analysis of the virus in Ghana.” – Joyce Ngoi
Joyce is a Kenyan Molecular Biologist and an expert in several next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms. She currently manages and runs the next generation sequencing (NGS) facilities at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), both of which are located at the University of Ghana. Joyce also has over 8 years’ experience running molecular diagnostics in the context of clinical trials.