Meet Priscilla Kolibea Mante, the only Ghanaian and African to win the UNESCO science award in 2019

Ghana is making the headlines again on the globe after the United Nation's body responsible for science and education, UNESCO, awarded one of its descendants.

Dr Priscilla Kolibea Mante

A medical researcher Dr Priscilla Kobilea Mante, a Ghanaian, emerged as one of the UNESCO International Rising Talents in the world.

The programme, L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards Ceremony was held in Paris, France.

Dr Priscilla Kolibea Mante from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana was mentioned along with 14 other young women who received the award.

She was also the only African among the awardees and the first product from her institution to attain such a feat.

These recipients were described as promising young women scientists from across the world.

A brief biography of Dr Priscilla Kolibea Mante

Specialising in neuropharmacology and neuroscience, Dr Priscilla Kolibea Mante is researching alternative, plant-based therapeutic options to manage drug-resistant epilepsy and the neglected tropical disease, neurocysticercosis.

She is currently exploring the anticonvulsant activity of the plant alkaloid cryptolepine and its solid-lipid nanoparticles in the management of neurocysticercosis-induced epilepsy.

According to her, “By identifying a way to help cryptolepine permeate more efficiently into the central nervous system, the risk of convulsion should be reduced, helping the patient to manage their condition as effectively as possible. “It’s very rewarding to know that my research could significantly alter complicated structures like the brain and positively affect people’s lives.”

Dr Mante believes the biggest challenge for women in science is managing negative perceptions of ambition in women and overcoming gender stereotypes.

Having faith in the future, she is convinced that her generation has been fortunate to receive strong support, and believe women can tap into that and spearhead their careers to higher levels.

“The world will make room for us,” she says, adding that, “The more women push for senior roles, the harder it will be to ignore them.”

The expert guidance of both men and women throughout her career has been so important that she considers herself a “champion” of mentorship, regularly supporting younger scientists in pursuing their dreams. She concludes: “Sometimes it’s important to hold your mentee’s hand and guide them towards opportunities they never knew existed.”

In 2018, Dr Mante received one of two L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa post-doctoral fellowships.

The programme recognised 14 fellows, 12 doctoral and 2 post-doctoral from five countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria).

They were selected for the scientific excellence of their work from more than 480 applicants, by a jury of independent experts.

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