Adelaide Nieguitsila is a Gabonese UMAPS alumna who has continued to excel in her work after her semester as a scholar at U-M. Nieguitsila is a Professor in the Department of Biology at the Faculté des Sciences de l'Université des Sciences et Techniques de Masuku (USTM), in Franceville, Gabon. She spent a semester working with U-M professor Lutgarde Raskin in 2018, where they worked on detection methods of waterborne parasites and established a protocol for its effective implementation in Gabon. ASC recently caught up with Nieguitsila to find out more about her work since returning to Gabon.

Nieguitsila told ASC that since her time as a UMAPS scholar, she has “had the opportunity to have different international and intersectoral partnerships and collaborations. These partnerships are both in the private and public sector, and developed from my research, teaching, and collaborations at U-M.”  Her time in Ann Arbor led to significant scholarly breakthroughs for Niegutsila, who has built upon this success by setting up different projects.

Nieguitsila recently established a collaboration with a medical laboratory in Gabon to detect waterborne parasites. Through this collaboration, she can teach and support Gabonese students as they conduct their laboratory experiments and research. She has also set up a project to assess and treat drinking water for Gabonese people. Nieguitsila’s work revolves around enhancing peoples’ safety and health.

Another project, which is also concerned with water and health, involved Nieguitsila spending a week on the Ogooue River. On this trip, she worked with a scholar to determine the biodiversity and health of ecosystems surrounding the river. This research had a specific focus on parasites found throughout the riverways. This forms part of her commitment to “expand the avenues to study waterborne parasites in Gabon by learning more about its waterways and ecosystems.”

Not having a laboratory dedicated to the environment at her university, she collaborated with seven other academics to set up a multidisciplinary environmental laboratory in May 2020. The scholars’ primary objective is to study environmental impacts on air, water, and soil. This laboratory is also working with the Universite de Toulon La Garde in France to establish an inter-university partnership to produce a Master’s degree for Gabonese students in the near future. 

As part of a unique project developed after her time as a UMAPS scholar, Nieguitsila established Gabon’s first peer-reviewed academic journal. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Scientific Research is a quarterly publication in both French and English. Nieguitsila told ASC that “there are many people that can’t write in English, so we aim to allow people to write and publish articles in French.” The journal, which is focused on life science, immunology, and microbiology, published its first issue in January 2020, and Nieguitsila expressed excitement about the response the journal has received so far. She is eager for invitations from scholars to translate the French articles into English, as part of its ambition to reach a wider audience. 

ASC is proud to follow up with alumni from its UMAPS program, and Nieguitsila shows just how much can be developed after a semester at U-M. ASC looks forward to tracking her future progress.