Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Porto
Clive Jabangwe is a Marie Sklodowska Curie (MSC-ITN; H2020) early-stage researcher (ESR), who is currently doing his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Porto. He is a member of the Neuro-skeletal Circuits Research Group (PI: Prof Meriem Lamghari) located in Porto at the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (I3S).
Clive´s project under the European Union´s H2020 Precision Medicine for Musculoskeletal Regeneration, Prosthetics and Active Ageing (PREMUROSA) as ESR 8 seeks to investigate the effect of the pro-inflammatory environment on the neurotrophic vs. nerve repulsive ability of cartilage-engineered constructs. He has a keen interest in understanding how macrophages influence the innervation profile of diseased diarthrodial joints. He also uses 3D circular microfluidic devices technology to model the pro-inflammatory environment using polarised macrophages and neuronal cells.
Clive obtained his MSc in Medical Biotechnologies from the University of Eastern Piedmont’s School of Medicine, in Novara (Italy 2018). In the laboratory of molecular oncohematology, his research aimed at refining the genetic-based stratification of FCR-treated CLL patients by integrating their mutational profile, IGHV mutational status, and FISH karyotype in a prognostic model for FCR-treated CLL patients and also discover new molecular subgroups among FCR-treated CLL (doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.219550) using high-throughput next-generation sequencing technology. Also, during this time as a master’s student, Clive was a visiting intern in the Laboratory on Molecular Medicine at the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno (Czech Republic). Clive was a two-time recipient of the hematology research training grant from the Associazione Italiana contro le Leucemie and held a teaching assistant fellowship within the Medical Biotechnology Programme offered by the Hematology Department.
Clive Jabangwe did his undergraduate studies at the Midlands State University in Gweru, Zimbabwe, where he obtained an honours degree in Biological Sciences in 2015.
WiredUp had a Q & A interview session with Clive Jabangwe, a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Porto
Who is Clive Jabangwe; what is your background?
I am a young Zimbabwean researcher currently doing my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering under the Marie S Curie ITN fellowship. I am a passionate guy with a deep interest in seeking knowledge and also disseminating it.
So, my background is in life sciences. I obtained my BSc in Biological Sciences from the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe in the lovely small town of Gweru. From there I went on to graduate with a dottore magistrale in Medical Biotechnologies for my MSc in Italy, again in a small city called Novara. During my master’s is where my research interests were born. I knew then exactly what I wanted to focus on.
Give us an example of how you practically share your passion for the STEM field?
I always want to get young people involved in STEM. I share opportunities, I give career guidance whenever consulted, and also, I try as much as I can to get involved in scientific initiatives; e.g. expos.
What challenges have you faced as an African getting into STEM?
I can say for me, my challenges had more to do with finances. I could see so many opportunities available but just not a way around the financial hurdle. Scholarships are available, but the avenue is also highly competitive.
How have you overcome, or are working to overcome, some of these challenges?
I have an amazing family. They supported me greatly and eventually we found a way to make things work out. My mother is instrumental in me overcoming this challenge. I have also been a recipient of scholarships, grants, and my current fellowship. I have a very strong supportive structure.
How do you think we can start to get more African children exposed to STEM?
Make it fun and interactive! Education that emphasises the beauty and possibilities that come with STEM. The most important initiative I envision for encouraging more African children into STEM lies in giving children the tools that are necessary for STEM culture. We need well-established men and women in STEM to visit, talk and share their stories and successes. Not only this but also sharing their failures too. If children can identify themselves in those who have done great work in various STEM fields, then they can also envision themselves in those positions and become inspired to aspire.
We have so many great profiles who, once educated outside of Africa, remain in the diaspora. They have their reasons. But I feel that if we can collaborate and have a STEM international society that grooms and paves the way for children with an interest in the same fields, then surely, we can see a huge transformation taking place. I have spoken long on this because I am very passionate about it.
What advice would you give to young people who are interested in the STEM field?
I would say to anyone who is interested in STEM, follow that passion and don’t waiver. Look for and engage people you already know (or otherwise anyone in your field of interest). Usually, these people will find time for you and offer advice. Dream big and do not let your excuse be finances. Why? Because there are other possible avenues to get to where you want to be (I am an example).
Africa needs to advance and be at the same cutting edge; be it in medicine, energy, engineering, transportation, or communication. The only way is the STEM way. Young people in STEM are the present and future of solutions to such challenges.