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Dr Woldegebriel Assefa Woldegerima

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Dr Woldegebriel Assefa Woldegerima is an AIMS Cameroon Alumnus of the 2014 cohort. He is currently a Postdoc Research Fellow at the DST/NRF SARChI Chair in Mathematical Models and Methods in Biosciences and Bioengineering at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He joined this Postdoc research after completing a PhD in August 2018 at the University of Buea with a co-supervision from the USA. As part of his PhD, he also have travelled to the USA as a Pre-doctoral Research Associate for three months. Recently, Dr. Assefa was selected to be part of a short-term mentorship program in the One Health Cluster UNICEF project. All these and other achievements, he says, are due to the training and skills he got from AIMS in 2013-2014.

Earlier in Ethiopia. Dr. Assefa had graduated with a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia and obtained sponsorship from the Ethiopian Ministry of Education (currently named Ethiopia Ministry of Science and Higher Education) to pursue his MSc in Mathematics at Addis Ababa University. He heard about AIMS for the first time from his MSc thesis supervisor at Addis Ababa University. Two and a half years later, he joined AIMS Cameroon.

“My stay at AIMS was full of surprises, great experiences, memories, as well as stressful and sleepless nights, but they were worth it. My AIMS Cameroon experience has been my most valuable. They include the opportunity to live and share with students from different African countries and cultures, values, and academic backgrounds. Accomplishing complex tasks within a short period, either as individuals or in a group, was also learnt. Most importantly, my stay in AIMS as a student and then as a tutor helped me understand how mathematics can be applied to model, study, investigate and predict our real-world problems in health, climate change, engineering, etc. In addition to this, being in AIMS taught me how to fight and win personal difficulties, including adapting to different temperatures, cultures, individual behaviours, and challenges,” says Dr.Assefa.

In general, my time at AIMS enriched my life in many ways. It provided me with a platform where I could learn valuable knowledge and skills, which I used to diversify my study and research in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research group.

AIMS impacted Dr. Assefa to change his research career from Pure Mathematics to Applied Mathematics (Mathematical Biology and Data Sciences). The different levels of academic educational training and skills he acquired from AIMS, especially in terms of scientific computing programming, applying mathematical tools, techniques, theories to model and analyze real-world phenomena, scientific research writing, effective communication skills, etc. helped him to diversify his research skills and become more performant on the global landscape.

Currently, as a Postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Assefa is working on Mathematical and Statistical Modelling and analyzing novel Transmission-Blocking Interventions (TBIs), especially on Transmission-Blocking antimalarial Drugs (TBDs) and Transmission-Blocking Vaccines (TBVs).

This is in line with several scientists’ new research and innovation efforts towards global malaria control and elimination. He is also involved in other collaborative researches on another infectious disease modelling such as COVID-19, Cholera, TB, and Hepatitis.

Dr. Assefa says new mathematical models have the potential to radically alter drug and vaccine development, regulatory decision-making processes and lead to more affordable, more effective drug therapy and vaccine development as well as deployment. So, in his future research career, Dr. Assefa is interested in performing collaborations in a wide range of mathematical sciences applications, especially in health-related problems. In the long term, he sees himself working on expanding his expertise in Data Science and Machine Learning (ML) to model and solve real-world systems, particularly in the biological phenomenon and climate.

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