Computational Life Science in Kenya
RWTH Professor Anna Matuszyńska, Junior Professor of Computational Life Science, leads the workshop at Embu University in KenyaCopyright: © William Wachira
How can computational modeling techniques be integrated into research work? Professor Anna Matuszyńska, holder of the Junior Professorship for Computational Life Science at RWTH Aachen University, imparted the necessary skills and knowledge to young researchers from seven East African universities. Matuszyńska worked with the scientists on computational life science as part of the 2023 Hackathon Workshop at Embu University in Kenya in the area of computational modeling.
The RWTH professor accepted the invitation of mathematician Dr. Marilyn Chepkurui Ronoh from Embu University in Kenya. Ronoh invited Matuszyńska to teach junior researchers during the hackathon workshop on computational life science. The hackathon covered various aspects of computational modeling and focused specifically on its application in the fight against HIV. Participating students came from a variety of disciplines, including mathematics, statistics, engineering, agriculture, and biology.
Professor Matuszyńska has been working with Kenyan institutions since 2021, when she applied to the Volkswagen Foundation for funding under the "Knowledge for Tomorrow" program to organize a summer school in computational biology, in which Dr. Ronoh also participated. It was this that caused the Embu University mathematician to solicit a UNESCO-OSWD Early Career Fellowship Fund with a project entitled "Using Computational Modeling and Artificial Intelligence to Enhance HIV Testing, Status Awareness, and Disclosure among Adolescent Boys and Girls, and Young Men and Women in Kenya." OWSD, short for Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, is a program unit of UNESCO. The OWSD fellowship program supports outstanding female scientists to lead research projects and create centers of international excellence in the institutes where they work. Similar to Europe, there are initiatives in Africa that actively seek to involve women in various programs and offer them space to participate in policy-making.