Shazia Ruybal-Pesántez

PhD candidate in the School of BioSciences, and 2017 Dame Margaret Blackwood Soroptimist Scholarship recipient, Shazia Ruybal-Pesántez talks about her research and the impact of the scholarship on her studies.

Shazia Ruybal-Pesantez

I am a fourth year PhD candidate investigating the genetic diversity of parasites causing malaria in Ghana. My work involves an epidemiological investigation of the genetic diversity of the malaria parasite that is most lethal to humans. I have investigated how the patterns of parasite diversity change over time in a community of individuals from Bongo District, Ghana – an area that is endemic for malaria, to better inform control efforts in the region.

It is an honour to be recognised for both my academic achievements and my professional and entrepreneurial endeavours as CEO of a social enterprise. Academically, I had the opportunity to travel to the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene Annual Conference in Baltimore, USA, the largest international conference in my field, and present my research findings to leading malaria researchers. Here I had the opportunity to network with malaria researchers and the broader infectious disease community and discuss possibilities for my post-doctoral training. Importantly, this award also assisted me in receiving further funding opportunities.

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