Northwestern University’s Center for Synthetic Biology and Synbio Africa Announce Inaugural Recipient of the Research Experience for Africans Fellowship  

Northwestern University’s Center for Synthetic Biology (CSB) is pleased to announce George Peter Magoola as the inaugural recipient of the Center’s new Research Experience for Africans (SynBrREA) Fellowship. The pilot program was launched in December 2023 in collaboration with Synbio Africa, a Ugandan-based professional organization dedicated to building a healthy, safe, and sustainable world through synthetic biology. Magoola, who is from the East African Republic of Uganda, will join a cohort of ten US students at Northwestern for a ten-week summer program of mentored, research-intensive activities and instruction in the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology.

“After careful consideration and review of sixty (60) outstanding applications, we selected a candidate whose passion for synthetic biology and commitment to advancing research in Africa stood out prominently,” says Geoffrey Otim, Founder & CEO, SynBio Africa, Research Associate, National University of Singapore. “We are delighted to award this fellowship to Mr. Magoola, whose exemplary commitment at SynBio Africa, academic record, research experience, and dedication to making a positive impact in the field of synthetic biology have distinguished him among the fellow candidates.”

As the recipient of the 2024 SynBREA Summer Program Fellowship, Magoola will have the opportunity to engage in immersive research experiences in the lab of Danielle Tullman-Ercek, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern, where he will receive cutting-edge training at the interface of engineering, biology, chemistry, physics and applied mathematics. The program’s carefully designed curriculum will expose students to a variety of laboratory techniques as well as the skills necessary for success in their future STEM careers, including ethics, responsible conduct of research, communication, and networking.

“We are excited to work with George this summer, both at the CSB community level and within my lab,” says Tullman-Ercek, Co-Director of CSB. “His science background and past experiences with SynBio Africa make him the ideal person to take part in our inaugural program. We are hopeful that he can take what he learns from his hands-on research and workshops and translate that into new ideas and opportunities, both for his own scientific work as well as programming ideas to extend this impact to other members of SynBio Africa.”

“We extend our heartfelt congratulations to George and express our sincere gratitude to all applicants who demonstrated their passion and enthusiasm for synthetic biology research,” says Otim. “Your commitment to scientific inquiry and innovation is truly inspiring, and we encourage you to continue pursuing your academic and research aspirations.”

Future applicants are encouraged to stay tuned for updates on the SynBREA Summer Program and student journeys of discovery and innovation in synthetic biology.

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Building on the achievements of the SBA 1.0 and 2.0 conferences held in 2021 and 2023, SynBio Africa is set to organize the SBA 3.0 International Synthetic Biology, AI, and Biosecurity Conference in Nairobi, Kenya from July 17 to 19, 2024.