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Nigerian prodigy, Tony Okeke, wins science award in USA

By Emma Nnadozie

A Washington, DC, USA, based nonprofit organization, Health and Environmental Sciences Institute, (HESI), Genetic Toxicology Technical Committee (GTTC), has selected Tony Okeke, the NNPC Science Quiz Champion, as a GTTC Professional Development: 2023 Award Winner.
Tony was given this award in recognition of his strides in the last four years of his study as a Biomedical Engineering student in Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
HESI has a mission to collaboratively identify and help to resolve global health and environmental challenges through the engagement of scientists from academia, government, industry, clinical practice, research institutes, and NGOs.
As a Winner of the award, Tony will receive fund and be afforded the opportunity to attend relevant scientific conferences, workshops, training courses, etc to build core competences and transferable skills and or share their research, and be availed with other related opportunity that contributes to professional development.
This award also provides Tony the opportunity to join the HESI community to learn about the emerging projects and science at HESI. It is also an open invitation for Tony to attend the 2024 GTTC Annual Meeting to learn about current GTTC projects and network with, and gain insight from, experts in the genetic toxicology field.
Perhaps, his interesting profiles are better captured by a look at his internships with some institutions in the US. His first internship was with the Ivy League, University of Pennsylvania, and UPENN. Subsequent internships have been with the multinational.
Pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Collegeville, PA, USA. Sources at GSK told our reporter that Tony is one of the most impressive students they have encountered in the past two decades and as an international student from Nigeria pursuing a joint MS/BS degree in Biomedical Engineering with a Concentration in Bioinformatics (MS) and Neuroengineering (BS) respectively with a 4.0 GPA, Tony is well deserving of the GTTC Award as it will provide him with professional development
opportunities that he would, otherwise, not be able to participate in as a student. As an intern working in the GSK lab from the Spring of 2022, he had a major impact in the application and advancement of data analysis related to genomics.
What sets Tony apart from other students is that he is an international student from an under developed country (Nigeria) with a passion for understanding the mechanisms by which biological responses occur and how genomic data analysis and the application of new bioinformatics tools are dependent upon each other to have an impact– this comes across in his inquiring about the mechanics of different experimental techniques and in his participation in laboratory meetings.
Recall that Tony Okeke at 16, won the coveted prize of the national championship in the 2018 keenly contested NNPC Science Quiz Competition which featured 15,480 science students/participants in Nigeria. Early this year, he led a group of 6 international students in the United States to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) Medical App.
File: USA 23/07/23
Pix: Tony Okeke 23/07/23

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