Helping train new doctors in the DRC

Seeding Labs Blog, Scientist Success Stories

Dr. Samuel Mampunza: Université Protestante au Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country four times the size of Texas, there are fewer than 5,000 accredited doctors.

Committed to values of quality teaching

The Congo Protestant University, a private university committed to values of quality teaching, African leadership, and transparent business practice, recognized the needs of the country and drew up ambitious plans for a medical school. One problem they faced was that few of their students had received practical hands-on training in science. The Dean of the medical school, Dr. Samuel Mampunza, wanted his students to have a firm grounding in the basic sciences so he added two years of preparatory courses before his students even began their medical training.

Vital preventative and emergency care to underserved populations

Seeding Labs helped provide the equipment that supported practical lessons in biology, chemistry, and physics. In the fall of 2007, 200 students were enrolled in the program. Half of them were women. Their special 8-year curriculum will be capped by two years of service in rural clinics throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Mampunza’s students will provide vital preventative and emergency care to underserved populations who need it most.

Seeking therapies for neurodegenerative diseases

Seeding Labs Blog, Scientist Success Stories

Dr. Maite Castro Gallestegui: Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile

“I always thought it amazing that two cells can ‘talk’ and that this conversation is the basis for the regulation of events that are important in whole organism. The long-term goal of my research is to apply this knowledge to the study of neurodegenerative diseases.”Dr. Maite Castro Gallestegui: Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile

Helping cure neurodegenerative diseases

Dr. Castro became interested in science when she was in high school. She liked to read biology books as a hobby and loved her chemistry class. She went on to study biochemistry at Concepción University in Chile and completed her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the Universidad Austral in Valdivia. Upon finishing her PhD, she started her own lab to focus on helping cure neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr. Castro said, “I always thought it amazing that two cells can ‘talk’ and that this conversation is the basis for the regulation of events that are important in whole organism. The long-term goal of my research is to apply this knowledge to the study of neurodegenerative diseases.”

A major fire causes a setback

In December of 2007,  this goal suffered a setback. A major fire devastated Dr. Castro’s lab and her entire department. In total, seven senior scientists and their 90 trainees lost everything.

Seeding Labs was proud to help. We worked with Castro’s team and colleagues to rebuild and restock the lab so they could continue their research.