A lecturer at the Department of Pharmacology at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr Priscilla Kolibea Mante, has received the L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science International Rising Talent Award for 2018.
The award ceremony, which took place at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris, recognised Dr Mante for embarking on research in the area of epilepsy, which has not been explored.
She is currently exploring how a complicated structure like the human brain could be altered for it to positively affect the lives of people suffering from epilepsy, which is scientifically known as “exploring the anticonvulsant activity of the plant alkaloid cryptolepine and its solid-lipid nanoparticles in the management of neurocysticercosis-induced epilepsy.”
By identifying a way to help cryptolepine permeate more efficiently into the central nervous system, the risk of convulsion should be reduced, helping patients to manage their condition as effectively as possible.
Dr Mante, the only African among 15 recipients of the award in 2018, received one of two L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science in sub-Saharan Africa post-doctoral fellowships.
Fourteen fellows, 12 doctoral and two post-doctoral – from five countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria) —were also recognised at the programme in Paris, according to a press release issued by L’Oreal.
The release indicated that a jury of independent experts selected the award winners from more than 480 applicants.
They were selected for the scientific excellence of their work.
“It’s very rewarding to know that my research could significantly alter complicated structures like the brain and positively affect people’s lives,” the release quoted Dr Mante as saying.
She believes that the biggest challenge for women in science is how to manage negative perceptions of ambition in women and overcome gender stereotypes.
Having faith in the future, she is convinced that her generation has been fortunate to receive strong support and believes that women can tap into that and spearhead their careers to higher levels.
“The world will make room for us,” she said, and added: “The more women push for senior roles, the harder it will be to ignore them.”
Dr Mante, who now considers herself a “champion” of mentorship who regularly supports younger scientists in pursuing their dreams, said: “Sometimes it’s important to hold your mentees’ hand and guide them towards opportunities they never knew existed.”
Five outstanding Laureates, one from each continent, were also honoured for their significant contribution to science.
These exceptional women were recognised for the excellence of their research in the fields of material science, mathematics and computer science and they will each receive €100,000.