Professor Joseph Igietseme and His Affair with Infections, Immunity & Vaccines

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John Igietseme

While my previous post on the exceptional Elsie Kanza extolled the virtues of amazing women, this serves as a reminder that there are truly cerebral men on God’s green earth.

It is trite that great things have been achieved by those who did not enjoy the restrictions of regular education, but it is fact that some men [and women] were created to bask in the unspoiled world of academia.

Joseph Igietseme is the Chief of the Molecular Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Centre for Infectious Disease, [CDC] in Atlanta USA. He also maintains an Adjunct Professor position at the Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory Medical School, Atlanta (GA, USA).

His long and impressive resume can only be recited but in summary; Professor Joseph graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Science and was subsequently trained in Infection and Immunity at the University of Miami School of Medicine Florida, USA and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Arizona, USA with a focus on T-cell immunity and the regulatory role of dendritic and epithelial cells in T-cell response; [sorry, what?!]

With a PhD in Immunology and Microbiology from Georgetown University, Washington DC USA, he was subsequently appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences from 1993 to 1996 and worked as an Associate Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Morehouse School of Medicine from 1998 to 2002. This doctor gentleman has had an on-going love-affair with infections, immunity, vaccines and the like. To throw some medical jargon your way, I would say his area of specialization and research borders on the ‘identification of correlates of protective immunity, elucidating the cellular, molecular and biochemical mechanisms of immunity, and designing effective delivery systems for vaccines against Chlamydia, herpes simplex viruses, Neisseria gonorrheae and other microbial agents of sexually transmitted diseases …’

The Edo-State, Nigerian-born doctor who is a high flyer in the medical research circuit, has over 200 peer-reviewed research publications, reviews articles and presentations. He is a member of the American Association of Immunologists, American Society for Microbiology, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Georgia Academy of Science and a reviewer or editorial board member of several biomedical journals.

In 2010, the top scientist and researcher at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) led others to win the prestigious Charles C. Shepard Science Awards, which recognizes excellence in scientific achievements by CDC scientists and authors of outstanding scientific papers. The Shepard awards is named after Dr. Shepard, a former CDC scientist, whose career was marked by the pursuit of scientific excellence and given to authors of the most outstanding peer-reviewed research paper published by CDC scientists during the preceding year on an annual basis. Professor Joseph’s research paper, which was titled, ‘Role of T lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of Chlamydia disease’, had other co-authors, including two other Nigerians Dr. Francis Eko and Godwin Ananaba.

Professor Joseph’s expertise in the US scientific research community is underscored by the fact that the American government through its agencies like the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate about $20 million to support his research over the last decade.

An active member of the Nigerian Diaspora in the United States, he is a co-founder and member of several ‘diasporan’ socio-cultural organizations, including, Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO), and the Arkansas Association of Nigerians (AAN). That’s Professor Joseph; the all-round man.

Africans have yet more reasons to be proud! Our fathers and sons are dictating policies world-over. You might not be addicted to infections and vaccines, [I sure am not!] but you know you have what it takes to add to our ever growing database of Africans who make our chests swell with pride!!!

 

© 2013 – 2017, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.

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