Get to Know Dr. Priscilla K. Mante, the Only African to be Awarded the UNESCO Science Award in 2019
Photo Credit: Twitter / @pk_mante

Get to Know Dr. Priscilla K. Mante, the Only African to be Awarded the UNESCO Science Award in 2019

Ghanaian neuropharmacologist, Dr. Priscilla Kolibea Mante, is committed to ensuring young people have the opportunity to share their talents in STEM with the world. 

In an interview with Business Insider she says, “Sometimes it’s important to hold your mentee’s hand and guide them towards opportunities they never knew existed.”

After earning her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in 2013, she was hired at her alma mater as a senior lecturer. According to Hello Bio, she supervises 20 undergraduate students per year, guiding them to hone their skills and interest into feasible projects. 

In addition to investing into the academic and professional growth of her students, Dr. Kolibea Mante has peer reviewed over 20 scholarly articles while working on her own research in resistant epilepsy. According to World Science Forum, Dr. Kolibea Mante studies isolated medicinal compounds from the Ghanaian flora for activity against drug-resistant epilepsy types. She focuses on establishing definitive biological markers in human body fluids that guide diagnosis and a pharmacological management of drug-resistant epilepsy in Ghanaian patients.

According to Business Insider, her research could drastically improve the quality of life of individuals living with epilepsy. 

“By identifying a way to help cryptolepine permeate more efficiently into the central nervous system, the risk of convulsion should be reduced, helping the patient to manage their condition as effectively as possible,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to know that my research could significantly alter complicated structures like the brain and positively affect people’s lives.”

In 2019, she was recognized for her accomplishments as one of 14 L’Oreal-UNESCO International Rising Talents in the world. Dr. Kolibea Mante was the only African recipient. She is also the recipient of several grants and fellowships including the 2019 OWSD Early Career Fellowship and 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Fellowship as well as being a University of Michigan African Presidential Scholar.

She leads her mentees by example and is making strides to ensure the next generation of scientists do not have to face gender stereotypes. 

“The world will make room for us,” she said, according to Business Insider. “The more women push for senior roles, the harder it will be to ignore them.”