Dr Godfrey Mayoka, a Lecturer in the School of Pharmacy at JKUAT, has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) Fellowship, after a rigorous selection process.
The fellowship is tenable at the Drug Discovery and Development Centre at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, as he undertakes research on identification of drug leads for the treatment of malaria and schistosomiasis (commonly known as Bilharzia).
The desire to embark on this research was necessitated by need to keep the research fire burning after his doctoral studies. The JKUAT lecturer felt it was important to target tropical diseases (such as Malaria) whose research has been neglected yet the diseases continue to plague Africa, thus hampering the continent’s social and economic welfare. The fellowship will be an extension of his doctorate research.
AREF offers support for new PhD graduates to undertake research under a mentor for a period of up to nine months at a well-equipped host institution, followed by a re-integration phase of three months at the recipient’s home organisation which enables the researcher to apply what they have learnt. Based on this, the JKUAT don plans to extend his knowledge in a triadic approach.
“I plan to transfer the new knowledge to my colleagues in academia who are interested in research, the technical staff and the students – both final year Biomedical students and the Postgraduate students. When students are mentored, they can achieve a lot. So far, two of my mentees in undergraduate, have presented at a conference which is a great accomplishment.”
Dr Mayoka is an accomplished scholar in Pharmaceutical studies having graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from the University of Nairobi, and a Master’s degree in Drug Discovery from the University of London on a Commonwealth scholarship. In 2018, he received his doctorate in the field of drug discovery at the University of Cape Town.
He has experience in conducting extensive research in other diseases like Tuberculosis at a Research Institute in Harare, Zimbabwe for almost two years. Notably, he has also won various accolades in the past which include Excellence and Alumni Awards at UoN and the coveted Pfizer Award.
Leveraging on this Fellowship, Dr. Mayoka hopes to spur collaborative drug discovery and development efforts within the region and continent to combat Africa’s most challenging health problems, which require a lot of time and money to research.
“I would like to encourage my fellow academicians to keep looking for such opportunities because the academic journey should be intertwined with research and this is the only way we can solve our problems in Africa.”