Biography

 

Cynthia Okoye

Cynthia Okoye

  • Scholar
  • Nigeria
  • 2018 PhD Pharmacology
  • Fitzwilliam College

I remember learning about DNA and genetic inheritance at my high school in Lagos, Nigeria and being captivated by the fact that so much about life could be explained at the atomic or molecular level. I knew then that my curiosity about the chemical processes of life was unstoppable. At the age of 16, I moved to Johannesburg, South Africa where I completed my A-Levels in biology and chemistry at African Leadership Academy. I went on to earn my B.A. with Hons in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Williams College, MA, USA, where I completed a year-long honors research project under Professor Kathryn Hart. In this project, I characterized the effect of clinical and synthetic missense mutations on an enzyme that confers resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, and assessed the relative fitness of beta-lactam resistant bacteria to better understand their medical relevance.

In 2017, I was a summer undergraduate fellow at Upstate Medical University, where I characterized and synthesized stimuli-sensitive polymers for therapeutic applications. I also interned at National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the summer of 2016, where I optimized a low-cost and sensitive protocol for mycoplasma detection in malaria parasite cultures. In addition to my research background, I have taught science at elementary and high schools in Nigeria and the United States. At Williams, I served as the dance teaching assistant for an African dance ensemble and as the Chair of Veritas Forum at Williams, an organization which strives to promote dialogue between people of different spiritual worldviews. I am thankful for the strong support of mentors and colleagues who motivate me to strive for my best and I continually seek opportunities to further develop my skills as a scientist, teacher and leader.

Previous Education

Williams College