Governance and Leadership

Afrisnet is nonprofit organization that is governed by a board of experts in research, teaching, and outreach. Our board members work with a dedicated staff team to ensure that the organization undertakes and accomplishes impactful projects according its mission. You may refer to our bylaws for a better understanding of Afrisnet’s structure, objectives, and mode of operation. Please, meet our Board of Directors and Officers presented on this page. 

Board of Directors

Kwadwo Akuffo

Kwadwo Akuffo, PhD

Dr. Akuffo completed his Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree in 2011 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and obtained his Ph.D. in 2017 at the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland. Dr. Akuffo is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department in Optometry and Vision Science KNUST, where he continues to train the next generation of optometrists and vision scientists.

Dr. Akuffo has published over 20 scientific peer-reviewed articles and has contributed to several conference proceedings in his research field. He currently has external collaborations with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC; South Africa) where he is using data from the South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES) to investigate prevalence of Eye Disease and its associated risk factors in South Africa. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and a member of the Ghana Optometric Association (GOA). He was recognized for his scientific excellence as ‘Affiliate of the African Academy of Sciences’ following a competitive evaluation process.

In addition to his academic and research work, Dr. Akuffo is very passionate about mentorship and the career development of students. Throughout his mentorship, students have won several prestigious international awards including the Harvard Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program (CELP) Fellowship, the Frans Osterhoff Travel Grants, and the Lois Schoenbrun Student Travel Fellowship. Dr. Akuffo currently serves as a Board Member of the African STEM Network (Afrisnet) and is supporting Afrisnet to build a strong global network that connects young talents in Africa to capacity building opportunities.

Armin Moczek, PhD

Dr. Moczek was born and grew up in Munich, Germany and received his MS in Biology from the Julius Maximilians University in Wuerzburg. He then moved to the U.S. to work on his PhD which he obtained from Duke University, NC, in 2002 advised by Fred Nijhout, followed by a 2 year Postdoctoral Excellence in Research and Teaching fellowship at the University of Arizona funded by the National Institutes of Health. He started at Indiana University in 2004 where he is now a Professor of Biology. Dr. Moczek is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Australian-American Fulbright Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.His research focuses on the very early stages of innovation in evolution, and the interplay between genetics, development, and ecology in facilitating major transitions in evolution. He is also a co-leader of an international effort to expand traditional perspectives on what determines speed and direction in evolution to incorporate recent advances in the fields of evolutionary developmental biology, developmental plasticity, non-genetic inheritance, and niche construction. His work has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the John Templeton Foundation.In his parallel life he develops science modules for general and special education in support of Indiana Science Teaching Standards which he disseminates in teacher training workshops in collaboration with WonderLab Museum and through regular school visits. Dr. Moczek co-founded and co-directs the Jim Holland Programs, IU’s most successful summer programs aimed at increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. Dr. Moczek became involved in Afrisnet because he sees great potential in this effort to broadly recruit the next generation of the most talented, curious, and motivated minds to science


Soni Lacefield, PhD

Dr. Soni Lacefield is a Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College. She obtained her PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University. Dr. Lacefield runs a research lab studying meiotic and mitotic cell cycle regulation. The goal of her research is to understand how chromosomes mis-segregate, leading to conditions such as trisomy disorders and cancer. She also teaches cell biology to undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Lacefield became a member of Afrisnet after working with African graduate students at Indiana University, realizing that there are a lot of very bright and talented African students that may not have the opportunity to perform research due to a lack of resources. She currently supports the Afrisnet’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program.

Vincent Mwumvaneza, PE

Vincent Mwumvaneza is a professional Civil Engineer licensed in multiple states in the USA. Mwumvaneza is a co-founder of Afrisnet, together with Gabriel Gihana. Mwumvaneza holds a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from California Baptist University. Through Afrisnet, Mwumvaneza strives to expose African students to advanced education and research in STEM fields.


Aderonke Sakpere, PhD

Dr. Sakpere is a Lecturer in the Department of Comuter Science at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She is a researcher, an experienced teacher, and a dedicated educator. Her research focuses on developing efficient and computer-based solutions to imminent problems in resource-limited communities in Nigeria and beyond. Dr. Sakpere has a strong and demonstrated interest in mentoring young Africans in computer science, with a focus on women who are underrepresented in educational opportunities. Dr. Sakpere joined the Board of Afrisnet to help more African students gain hands-on training in research in computer science and beyond. 




Gabriel Muhire Gihana, PhD


Dr. Muhire Gihana is an HHMI Hanna Gray Postdoctoral Fellow at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He holds a Ph.D. in Genome Cell and Developmental Biology from Indiana University Bloomington, USA. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from California Baptist University, where he graduated top of his class. Dr. Muhire Gihana is a co-founder of Afrisnet, together with Vincent Mwumvaneza. Dr. Muhire Gihana’s research focuses on understanding how cellular morphology and polarity affect cellular division and disease. He has received multiple fellowships and awards from Indiana University and elsewhere. Dr. Muhire Gihana was raised in Africa, where he grew up with limited academic and research opportunities. Through Afrisent, he strives to increase the exposure of African students to advanced research, with the goal of improving Africa’s participation in global research output and increase the student diversity in American graduate programs.

Victoria Perez, PhD

Chief Financial Officer

Dr. Victoria Perez is an Assistant Professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Dr. Perez earned her Ph.D. in managerial science and applied economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation focused on the effects of private managed care on Medicaid. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Perez’s research interests include private and governmental financing of healthcare, insurance economics,  and regulation. Her research has been published in Health Economics and the International Journal of ServicesEconomics and Management. She has also worked as a research assistant and programmer in the health policy division at Mathematica Policy Research. Dr. Perez believes competent African students deserve access to cutting-edge research, and so she joined Afrisnet to offer her contribution.


Antoinette Antwi, OD

Associate Program Coordinator

Dr. Antoinette Antwi obtained her optometry degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Physiological Optics/Vision Science at the University of Houston College of Optometry in Houston, Texas. Her research interests span dry eye, myopia control, contact lenses, and refractive technologies. Her current PhD research focuses on understanding the therapeutic mechanism of light-based therapies for dry eye management. She has experience in both clinical trials and basic science experiments. Having been successfully mentored by Afrisnet for her PhD application, Dr. Antwi has joined Afrisnet to give back and to offer similar guidance to competent African students. She enjoys mentorship and believes it allows her to positively impact others and equally learn from the process.