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October 21st, 2009

The truth about yams

It has taken 30 years of hard work for Professor Helen Asemota to get to this stage. However, that work is yet over. Yams and potatoes are foods many people don't think much of in Jamaica. They are always available and their use outside of being a replacement for our staple rice diet has not been thought of much.

Professor Asemota has thought of it. Hailing from Nigeria, the professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the department of medical sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI) has made the journey across the middle passage and is daily achieving feats that benefit Jamaica in untold ways. Those benefits have earned Professor Asemota the 2009 Gleaner Honour Award in the category science and technology.

Over those 30 years, and more, Professor Asemota has not only worked with a number of universities, but has been integral on a global level, of developing and executing new and improved research in her field.

While her work in biochemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology is renowned, has recently she added the fairly new and certainly very exciting area of nanotechnology to her extensive résumé.

Prof Asemota earned her professorial status at UWI but has found the time to also give service to Shaw University in North Carolina where she is head of the Nanobiology Division of the Shaw Nanotechnology Initiative - the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Research Centre. So respected is the woman that though she is only with Shaw University part-time, she is also the chairman of the Shaw Institutional Research Board.


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