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, 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
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 Services, Economics 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.