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Dr. Mante’s Prescription for Future Scientists

May 17, 2022

Have you ever stopped yourself from doing something you really wanted to do because you were afraid to fail and make a fool out of yourself? Have you ever taken the easier path, hoping that it would mean a guaranteed success? Dr. Priscilla Kolibea Mante is here to tell you how fear-based decisions are getting in the way of your greatest achievements.

The fear factor

Growing up in Ghana, Priscilla always dreamed of one day changing the world, either by becoming the first African president of the World Bank or by developing a cure for an incurable illness. She was always a straight-A student in school and when she got to her senior year in high school, she struggled with imposter-syndrome and chose the arts and humanities track out of fear, hoping that it could be easier and thus help maintain her top-student reputation. However, after completing the first term in the arts and humanities track, it became clear to her that the subjects were not as interesting to her, so she confronted her fears of possibly struggling with the sciences and asked to switch tracks. Priscilla then went on to pursue pharmacy at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana.

(Photo: Pharmedia)

In the end, life takes you where you want to be. Just don’t make fear-based decisions. Have the confidence in yourself to overcome a more challenging path.

Dr. Priscilla Kolibea Mante, Senior Lecturer and Neuroscience Researcher at KNUST

She started working as a teaching assistant and researcher when she met her mentor Prof. Eric Woode and was inspired by his vision of developing neuroscience research in West Africa. He was focused on pain, depression and epilepsy research in particular, and after working closely with patients diagnosed with these conditions and seeing their struggles, Priscilla made it her personal goal to find a cure for epilepsy. She pursued her pharmacology doctorate at KNUST rather than studying abroad, and is currently a senior lecturer and researcher in pharmacology at her alma mater.

IP knowledge is power

(Photo: Pharmedia)

Priscilla’s neuroscience research on alternative plant-based therapeutic options to manage drug resistant epilepsy won her the L’Oréal-UNESCO Regional Fellowship for Ghana in 2018, and she was selected as one of L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Programme’s International Rising Talents for Africa and the Arab States in 2019. As part of this achievement, Priscilla participated in the WIPO Training Course on Intellectual Property and the Sciences in 2019. The partnership between WIPO and UNESCO started in 2018 to provide the female scientists identified by the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Programme with the IP knowledge they need to protect and add value to their research.

Her appetite for intellectual property (IP) training opportunities grew and she took part in the IP Asset Management for Business Professionals Course (AICC) in the Republic of Korea, which is jointly organized by the WIPO Academy, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the Korea Invention Promotion Association (KIPA), and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). To continue building her IP knowledge and skills, Priscilla also enrolled in a number of WIPO Academy distance learning courses. She now makes sure to pass on this learning by sharing her knowledge of IP with her peers, other scientists and researchers at her university, and artists in her community, in particular her husband who is a musician.

I am sharing the good word of IP, because by sharing the knowledge, it prevents me from forgetting it.

Dr. Priscilla Kolibea Mante, Senior Lecturer and Neuroscience Researcher at KNUST

Empowering the future of science in Africa

After finishing a project and accompanying publication on the use of cryptolepine in neurocysticercosis in 2021, Priscilla started drug development for an epilepsy treatment which she plans on patenting with the support of her university, now that she is aware of her IP rights. She is also finalizing work on a diagnostic device that she hopes to protect with a patent once finalized. The main challenges she faces when doing scientific research revolve around the limited access to consumables and equipment in developing countries, regardless of how much funding is available.

It is an access issue that limits the availability of such key tools for research in Ghana, and the COVID-19 pandemic made the process of getting consumables and equipment much worse. We had zero access and our research came to a standstill.

Dr. Priscilla Kolibea Mante, Senior Lecturer and Neuroscience Researcher at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology

Priscilla’s determination is evident in her strong collaborations with research institutions abroad that support and facilitate various aspects of her research such as access to consumables and equipment.

Priscilla chairs the Ghana Young Academy where she mentors young scientists in her country by giving them research advice, helping them build their confidence and overcome any fears they have entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and informing them of the importance of IP to science. One day, Priscilla hopes to build on her mentor’s vision by establishing a “Central Nervous System Center of Research for Africa”, where scientists from the African Region can work on groundbreaking neuroscience research. Until then, she will continue to search for a cure for epilepsy, mentor future generations of science researchers in Ghana, and go on restaurant-hopping adventures with her husband.

Are you up for the challenge?

The WIPO Academy offers general and advanced distance learning (DL) courses on IP in seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish) on the WIPO eLearning Center. Registration for the second session of DL courses in 2022 is now open.

Register for a WIPO Academy DL Course

You can challenge yourself to learn more about a range of IP topics including copyright, patents, trademarks, IP management, genetic resources, access to medical technologies, software licensing, exports and more. You can follow the DL courses at your own pace, engage in discussions with IP experts and participants from all over the world, and receive an electronic WIPO certificate upon the successful completion of a course.

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