Preparing for a Career in Protein Engineering
Solomon Oguche grew up in north central Nigera and earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Jos. He first experienced the joy of laboratory work during his fourth year of studies, when he was required to undertake a research project.
As Nigeria is home to the largest number of diabetics in sub-Sahara Africa, Solomon was motivated to study the synergy between the aqueous extract of lemongrass, and metformin, the leading drug used to help diabetics lower their blood sugar levels. While lemongrass has been shown to have anti-diabetic effects and is commonly used in Nigeria, Solomon wanted to examine the interplay between both remedies. His research, conducted using animal models, demonstrated that diabetes benefitted from using both concurrently.
After graduating, Solomon completed his mandatory national service at the Ministry of Agriculture, where he taught data analysis at a private institute. At the same time, he was planning his next step and began researching graduate programs. Specifically, Solomon wanted to specialize in protein engineering, with the hope of eventually earning a PhD and contributing to the cure of infectious diseases in Nigeria and worldwide.
When he came across the Hebrew University’s International Graduate Bio-Medical Sciences Program he realized he needn’t look any further. The program boasted top-notch classes and excellent research and laboratory opportunities.
For the first time in his life, Solomon traveled abroad – arriving in Jerusalem. Today, alongside his classes he conducts cancer biology research in the lab of Prof. Nataly Kravchenko-Balasha. Solomon enjoys learning about running a lab, as he hopes to eventually become a principal investigator and contribute to humanity through his scientific research.
"The international bio-medical science program is superb. It has been an eye-opening experience for me, as I’ve come to understand the nitty-gritty of scientific research. Gaining hands-on research experience and learning how to manage a laboratory will be invaluable for my future"
Although he had tried to prepare himself for life in Israel by reading up about the country online, he’s found daily life much more peaceful and relaxed than he expected. He shares an apartment in the Kiryat HaYovel neighborhood with another Nigerian student and enjoys studying and researching alongside Israeli and international peers. The only thing he misses – is the food back home.