Faces – Young Scientist Profile: Robert Akpata
Today on „Faces“: Robert Akpata from Benin.
About Faces: „Faces“ is a new series on the Lindau Blog. It highlights the remarkable young scientists who participate in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and shares their stories and thoughts.
On his research interests:
“It is well known that migration of individuals with chronic HBV infection from endemic countries contributes substantially to the prevalence of chronic HBV infection in low-endemic countries. Now that in recent years treatment for chronic HBV infection has greatly improved with new antiviral drugs such as entecavir and tenofovir becoming available, the question arises whether an active effort should not be undertaken to identify individuals with chronic HBV infection so that they can be offered treatment; according to a recent economic analysis, this is a cost-effective intervention. Despite this and the great number of subsaharan african migrants living in Germany, recommendations for HBV screening of migrants do not exist in the country. That’s why I’ve decided to carry out this research In order to support policy making.”
On the challenges of a scientist’s life:
“Well, I come from a developing country and the greatest obstacle scientists have to face there is the lack of financing and of the required facilities to carry out researches that can meet international standards.”
On his road to Lindau:
“I have been proposed by the DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Program who has granted me a scholarship to do my internship. Then I sent my application but as I heard that there are thousands of applications from all over the world, I didn’t have too much hope. So I was very excited when I received the mail informing me that I got selected.”
On his expectations on the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting:
“At the end of my internship, I’ll become head of department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases in a great hospital in my country and join its academic team. I hope this meeting will greatly help me to face efficiently those tasks ahead by offering me the opportunity to discuss with experts about how one becomes a good researcher, the difficulties to expect and how to overcome them and also allow me to bind valuable contacts for future fruitful exchanges. If possible I’d like to meet Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, the 2008 Nobel Prize of Medicine Laureate for her discovery of HIV, because I’m willing to specialize in HIV/AIDS research.”
On his motivations:
“Infectious diseases are the leading cause of death in Africa. My strong will is to contribute to finding the best ways to prevent or manage them efficiently, thus taking a great part in the development process, since diseases are one of the biggest obstacles to development.”