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H3Africa Community Spotlight – Ruth Nanjala


Congratulations to Ruth Nanjala on being the first prize winner of the Fellows Speed Presentations at the 19th H3Africa Consortium Meeting that took place from 29 May to 1 June in Abuja, Nigeria.

The title of her presentation was “Evaluating the accuracy of genotype imputation in the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) region in selected African populations.”

Ruth is a Fellow with the Eastern African Network for Bioinformatics Training (EANBiT) project at Pwani University/ University of Cape Town. She was also the first prize winner of the Fellows speed presentations at the 17th H3Africa Consortium meeting last year.

We caught up with her and asked her a few questions about her studies and career.

What is your research interest?

My research interest is in Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) genetics.

How do you feel about winning first prize the second time?

I am excited and motivated by the fact that I keep pushing for more successes.

Can you give your thoughts about young women in science?

I hope they get inspired by my story that it is possible to succeed as a young woman in science. Cultural stereotypes should not be a hindrance for them to pursue their ambitions.

How do you see the future of Genomics research in Africa?

There is a revolution, and the future is quite promising. Initiatives like H3Africa and the African Society of Human Genetics (AfSHG) have helped push the boundaries of genomics research in Africa, attracting global attention.

How has H3Africa helped you in advancing your career and opened doors for you?

H3Africa gave me an opportunity to pursue an MSc. Degree in Bioinformatics thus acquiring useful knowledge and skills in Bioinformatics. I also got to collaborate and expand my network with brilliant scientists. My Master’s project, based at the University of Cape Town, served as a baseline for my Ph.D. project of interest, thus enabling me to successfully compete for a Ph.D. in HLA genetics at the University of Oxford starting October 2022.