Nathasia Muwanigwa, a scientist originally from Zimbabwe is now helping scientists, engineers and mathematicians from across African continent to give them visibility and inspire future generations.
“After high school, I moved to Cyprus for a Bachelor’s in science in Human Biology, with the idea that the degree would be a pre-med degree,” she said, “But in my final year, I got to do my own research project at a leukemia research institute – and discovered my love for being in the lab.”
She was then able to study her master’s degree in a highly competitive program in the Netherlands, on a full scholarship.
“The financial support came at the perfect time because the economic situation in Zimbabwe was getting pretty dire and it would have been challenging if my parents had to pay the tuition,” she said, “I battled a lot of impostor syndrome during my Master’s because my colleagues were all incredibly bright and many of them knew the ins and outs of how research in academia work, and I was still rather clueless.”
Now, she is based in Luxembourg, doing a PhD where she studies the molecular mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s disease using human stem cell derived brain organoids (aka “minibrains”).
“A young girl from Zimbabwe should not feel that being a neuroscientist isn’t for her because of where she is from, her gender or her ethnicity.”