By Sani Wilson Enemona
A Nigerian female student, identified as Halima A. Shuwa, has emerged Student-of-the-Year at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
Halima, who was sponsored by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), got the recognition because of her contribution to research during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The university, while presenting the award to her, stated that, Halima was chosen because of her “dedication and selfless commitment to research excellence.”
Daily Star Nigeria gathered that Halima dedicated her time throughout the pandemic to determine the immune response of hospitalised patients and predicted which patients would further develop long-term COVID-19 complications.
She later volunteered to research the immune responses in patients with long-term COVID-19 complications.
Halima hails from Shuwa Town of Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa state, but was born, brought up and schooled in Maiduguri, Borno state.
She studied Bachelors of Medical Laboratory Science at the University of Maiduguri, MSc Immunology at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto then got a PTDF scholarship to University of Manchester, where she did her PhD in Immunology.
Halima told Daily Star Nigeria that her major inspiration is the need to make her parents proud, stating that her parents did everything for her.
“I know I can’t repay them but I am on a mission to make them proud, so I hope striving to be the very best can and will make them happy and proud. I want to help young people especially women through guidance and mentorship then later on when I am more capable, I hope to establish a world-class research facility in Nigeria to help upcoming researchers with access to international research standards”, she said.
When asked her motivation, Halima said her greatest motivator is her husband, who supports and encourages her in every step she takes.
Halima has already published 7 papers in high impact journals during her PhD and has four more papers under review.
Towards the end of her PhD, Halima managed to secure multiple job offers from both the University of Manchester amd a number of pharmaceutical companies but she accepted the job offer from GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) where she will continue her cutting-edge research to discover an alternative cancer treatment targeting B cells in Immuno-Oncology settings.