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Personal story: Nigerian PhD student Soniran's visit to Cornell University, USA

January 20, 2017 - 11:13 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Soniran Temidayo is a Nigerian PhD student. He travelled to Cornell University in the USA to study malaria drug resistance. Members of MalariaWorld donated money to make this life-changing experience possible for Soniran. A big thank you to you all to make this happen!

Read here Soniran's personal story.


My research experience during the visit to Weill Cornell Medical College, New York.

In 2012/2013, MalariaWorld solicited financial support on my behalf from the scientific community to enable me to visit New York for my PhD malaria research. This gesture by MalariaWorld is the first of its kind, thanks to Dr. Bart Knols and Ingeborg Van Schayk. Out of gratitude to MalariaWorld and the entire people who supported me financially, I write this article on my experience in the United States.

I visited Weill Cornell Medical College (New York Presbyterian Hospital) and precisely Prof. Kirk Deitsch’s laboratory as a “Visiting Graduate Assistant” in December, 2014. During the first month of my visit to the lab., I had thorough hands-on training on ‘nucleic acid extraction from human blood, regular Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) amplification, PCR-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms (RFLP), agarose gel electrophoresis, and some knowledge of PCR primer design and real time PCR’. All of these were under the mentorship of Prof. Kirk Deitsch and Dr. Laura Kirkman. I really appreciated the lectures received from Prof. Kirk, the lectures aided my understanding of the basic underlying principles of the protocols and techniques of molecular biology. Prof. Kirk was really attentive and always there to help on my challenges. With the skills acquired, I worked on my Nigerian field samples (dried blood spots collected from both rural and urban areas) and studied biomarkers dictating Plasmodium falcparum drug resistance to Chloroquine (PfcrtK76T), sulfadoxine pyrimethamine (Pfdhfr at codons 108 and 164), and artemisinin (kelch 13 propeller protein mutation). Studies on copy numbers were partially successful in few samples due to the nature of the genomic DNA samples. The effect of the attitude and knowledge of malaria treatment by the human subjects on prevalence of drug resistant strains were also examined. However, some of my findings will be published soon.

I also appreciated the technical support of students and members of staff in the laboratory (people like Alexis Dziedziech, Susannah Fabri Calhoun, Uchechi Ukaegbu and Joan). I also found educative the weekly lab. seminars where research-in progress findings on “var. genes expression” are presented by a member of the lab. on a rotational basis.






Left to right: Laura Kirkman, Susannah, Kirk, Alexis, Julien and me

Of course, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, thanks to Prof. Kirk for the regular tea breaks and ice-skating experience in the company of the lab. team was wonderful.

Conclusively, I presented my post field seminar in my home institution (Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta) some couple of weeks ago and presently preparing for my open thesis PhD defense. I look forward to collaborating on malaria research where I can learn from the experience of other researchers and put my skills into practice.

Once again, I am using this opportunity to thank MalariaWorld, all members of MalariaWorld society, the Dutch Rotary Club, Prof. Kirk Deitsch, Prof. O.A. Idowu (my Supervisor) and others not mentioned who have supported my successful research experience in New York, U.S.A.

Soniran, Olajoju Temidayo
Parasitologist/PhD student
Department of Pure and Applied Zoology,
Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
Ogun State. Nigeria.
Mobile phone: +2348034121776



Submitted by BONIFACE AJA (not verified) on

Keep it up. We are also grateful for your efforts in making this research. Each time you spend without sleep will never go unrewarded. I equally thank Malaria world for giving you their support.

Olajoju Soniran's picture
Submitted by Olajoju Soniran on

I appreciate your comment.

Soniran O.T.(PhD)

Submitted by Adebiyi Adeniran on

congratulations. that was a really good experience. I wish you all the best in your PhD defence

Olajoju Soniran's picture
Submitted by Olajoju Soniran on

I appreciate your good will message.

Soniran O.T.(PhD)

Submitted by Abeba Reda (not verified) on

Congratulation ! ,Soniran, olajoju Temidayo. Thank you also for sharing us. I think malaria world did wonderful to support PhD students. currently I am PhD student may I get also this opportunity to work my PhD thesis . Best regards
Abeba Gebretsadik Reda

Olajoju Soniran's picture
Submitted by Olajoju Soniran on

I wish you progress in your PhD thesis.

Soniran O.T.(PhD)