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2012-2013 UMAPS Alumni

Francis Aitpillah is a fellow of the West African College of Surgeons. He is a general surgeon with a full-time commitment to research, teaching and clinical practice in general surgery. His primary research has focused on ethnicity-related variation in breast biology. His current research project is entitled: “Chemo-Resistance of Breast Cancer Stem Cells.” The objective of this study is to test the hypothesis that breast cancer stem cells are relatively resistant to chemotherapy compared to the differentiated cells which form the bulk of the tumor, thus contributing to tumor resistance to chemotherapy and relapse following therapy. Frances is working with Lisa Newman, Professor of Surgery and Director, University of Michigan Breast Care Center. 


Vivian Etsiapa Arhin-Sam is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Pharmaceutics at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). She received her master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Microbiology from KNUST in 2009. Her research interests include environmental microbiology and quality assurance of natural products and antibiotic resistance. Vivian will spend six months at U-M expanding her research on the mechanism of resistance and transfer of resistant genes of E. coli and S. aureus isolated from humans and poultry. She will also write a review paper on susceptibility patterns and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi, and Staphylococcus aureus isolates from poultry litter and farm hands in the Ashanti and Greater Accra regions of Ghana. Vivian is working with Betsy Foxman, Department of Epidemiology.

Mercy Badu is a Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). She received her master’s degree in Organic Chemistry, Bioanalytical and Biomaterials from KNUST in 2006. Her research interests include characterization and quantification of fatty acids from selected plant oils. She will use her time at U-M to write a review paper on the characterization of fatty acids using spectroscopic and chromatographic methods and rubber biosynthetic pathways. Mercy is working with Philip Andrews, Department of Biochemistry and Kristina Hakansson, Department of Chemistry.

Francis Bwambale is a lecturer at Makerere University School of Public Health, Regional Centre for Quality of Health Care located in Kampala, Uganda. He also provides leadership in monitoring and evaluation to regional capacity building programs in quality of care in Africa at the School’s Regional Centre for Quality of Care. Francis received his master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Makerere in 2005.  During his six month UMAPS fellowship, he will be working with mentors, Jody Lori and Cheryl Moyer to design a collaborative research project on health care provider abuse and disrespect in childbirth in rural facilities in Uganda.

 Innocentia Jabulisile Mhlambi (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. She received her Ph.D. in IsiZulu Literature from Wits in 2008. Her research interests include popular culture, African-language literature and Black-themed African films. Brenda will spend six months researching and writing articles on two operas, Mzilikazi Khumalo’s Princess Magogo kaDinizulu and Vundla, Ndodana-Breen and Willensky’s Winnie the Opera. She will also be finalizing an article on the use of izithakazelo (honorific names) and the internet in post-apartheid South Africa. Finally, she will write a review paper on black opera in South Africa. She is working with Naomi Andre, Residential College and Women's Studies.

Justin Munyakazi (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is a Lecturer at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa. He received his Ph.D. from UCW in 2009. His interests include numerical methods for differential equations, singular perturbation problems, applications of mathematics in biology, and computational mathematics. Justin will spend four months at U-M developing novel numerical methods to solve singularly perturbed convection-diffusion problems and writing a review paper on the same topic. Also, he will learn how mathematics is taught to first-year students in order to adapt and bring innovation to his teaching strategies. Justin is working with Dr. Robert Krasny, Department of Mathematics. 

Eve Nabulya (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Literature at Makerere University in Uganda. She received her master’s degree in Literature from Makerere in 2008. Her research interests involve the relationship between the natural environment and human behavior in drama and performance. Eve will spend six months at U-M reviewing literature for her PhD thesis and expanding her research in ecocriticism and dramatic communication theory. She is working with Jennifer Wenzel, Department of English.

Riashna Sithaldeen (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is a Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She received her Ph.D. in Archaeology in 2011. Her research interests include mammal phylogeography, baboon population histories, phylogenetics, palaeoenvironments, and climatically-driven habitat change. Riashna will spend four months in Michigan preparing manuscripts based on her Ph.D. research which investigated the role of climate and landscape change in shaping diversity in southern African chacma baboon. She will also use this time to develop a research program that will begin in 2013. Finally, she will work on a review paper on modelling mammal response to climate and landscape change using phylogenetic and phylogeographic techniques. Riashna is working with Lacey Knowles, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Emilia Udofia is a Lecturer in the Department of Community Health at the University of Ghana Medical School, Korle Bu in Ghana. She graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka with a degree in Medicine and Surgery in 1994. Emilia is now a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health in the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. Her professional experience includes HIV/AIDS care, treatment and support. Her research interests involve maternity care services and environmental health. During her UMAPS fellowship she plans to enhance her research skills and develop her Ph.D. project on the quantification, characterization, composition and management of medical waste in district hospitals and communities in Southern Ghana. She will also write a review paper on medical waste management in Africa. Emilia is working with Professor Jerome Nriagu, School of Public Health Epidemiology.