Member Spotlight

Dr. Bright Senyo Ashimatey studies structural and functional biomarkers for assessing retinal degenerative diseases

Dr. Bright Senyo Ashimatey is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California

Dr. Ashimatey is currently a postdoctoral scholar-research associate at the Roski Eye Institute in the Keck School of medicine of the University of Southern California, USA. He received training as an optometrist from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, and served as a teaching and research assistant in the Department of Optometry and Vision Science of the same university. After receiving encouragement and support from the faculty he worked with, he pursued graduate studies at the Indiana University School of Optometry, USA, in the lab of Dr. William Swanson where he worked at developing a novel technique for assessing glaucomatous degeneration. Dr. Ashimatey’s dissertation work received an unconditional pass – a rare passing classification – from his dissertation committee.

At Roski Eye Institute, Dr. Ashimatey is further expanding his work to other retinal conditions. He is contributing to the development of new techniques for assessing the retinal vascular integrity, which is known to be compromised in a number of retinal degenerative conditions. This has the potential to establish a clinical protocol for assessing the functionality of the cellular components of the retinal blood vessels and has broad applications for assessing retinal diseases such as diabetic eye disease and glaucoma. Dr. Ashimatey is also collaborating on projects which are exploring new retinal biomarkers for assessing neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Ashimatey believes that his experience and career path give him some unique insights into assessing the structure and function of the eye, and he is passionate about contributing these insights to preserve the miraculous gift of sight. AFRISNET highlights his accomplishments as an example to students and professionals aspiring to pursue academic research through graduate school. Ashimatey would also like to use the opportunity to encourage any individual aspiring for graduate studies. He has come to believe that such aspirations only come about because they are achievable. “Once you set out to work at your goals, you will be surprised how everything suddenly falls in place to support you on your journey,” Dr. Ashimatey.

Dr. Lea Nyiranshuti’s work focuses on imaging tumors using radiotracers targeting immune cells

Dr. Lea Nyiranshuti is currently a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Dr. Lea Nyiranshuti performing an experiment in a laboratory

Dr. Lea Nyiranshuti is from Rwanda (Africa), and she is currently a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Dr. Nyiranshuti’s current research focuses on the development of radiotracers targeting immune cells (macrophages, neutrophils and T cells) for imaging the tumor microenvironment and for imaging tuberculosis granulomas by using positron emission tomography (PET). Dr. Nyiranshuti completed her bachelor’s studies (Magna Cum Laude) in Chemistry from California Baptist University (CBU).

Through a partnership between the Government of Rwanda and California Baptist University, Dr. Nyiranshuti obtained a merit-based full scholarship for undergraduate studies. After graduating from CBU, she went directly to graduate school at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), where she obtained a doctoral degree (PhD) in Chemistry. At UNH, Dr. Nyiranshuti’s research focused on design, synthesis and characterization of bifunctional ligands and fluorescent sensors for bioavailable Cu(II), Zn(II) and Fe(III).

Dr. Nyiranshuti is a zealous and highly motivated researcher, and by partaking in cutting-research in chemistry, she satisfies her deepest scientific curiosity while contributing to the betterment of the society. AFRISNET highlights her accomplishments as an example to students and professionals aspiring to pursue academic research through graduate school.