Career & Business

12 Women Scientists Changing The World… One Of Them Is Nigerian

Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

Photo: Bret Hartman/TED


The photo above was taken by Bret Hartman at the TED Fellows Retreat in California in August 2015. The 12 women are scientists and they represent a wide range of disciplines  —  from astrophysics, biology, genetics, archaeology, medicine, glaciology, data science and more. They come from different countries and one of them is Nigerian – Sheila Ochugboju Kaka.

Sheila Ochugboju Kaka (second row, last on the right) is a genetic virologist, below is her profile by Ted Fellows:

As a child growing up in rural Nigeria, Sheila Ochugboju Kaka was urged to stay indoors to stay safe from an untamed environment — an upbringing that piqued her curiosity about invisible things that can so easily kill a child: bacteria, viruses, scorpions in the sand. This curiosity led her to study baculoviruses as a postdoctoral research fellow at Oxford University, investigating genetic engineering as a way to produce commercially viable biopesticides. Today, Ochugboju Kaka is a science communicator and international development expert, promoting the intersection of art and science — such as the Wellcome Trust’s Danscience project, an exploration of the science of epigenetics through dance — to promote innovation and social change.

“It’s incredible to be amongst such a diverse mix of women scientists which in itself exemplifies the power that different perspectives, skills, experience and heritage brings to any discipline,” says Ochugboju Kaka. I’m also encouraged that nearly 20 years after I got my PhD in biochemistry, the image of women in science is finally shifting. What a beautiful change that makes.”

Read the story and profile of all the 12 women here.

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