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Kenyan scientist George Njoroge feted in New York for drug discoveries

A US-based Kenyan research scientist has been honoured at a banquet in New York for his discoveries of drugs used to treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Dr George Njoroge was presented with a “pioneer award” from Face2Face Africa, a pan-Africa media company, for his sustained impact on science and medicine.

The 64-year-old Kiambu native holds more than 100 patents for his work on cancer and immunology.

Currently a senior research fellow at the global pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, Mr Njoroge plans to move next year to Naivasha, where he is establishing a biotechnology institute.

He said he hopes to attract 100 doctoral degree-holders from around the world to take part in the institute’s work on malaria, Aids, diabetes and cancer.

“Africa has to step up the plate and get involved by participating in the global scientific platform,” Mr Njoroge said in accepting the Face2Face Africa award on Saturday.

“We cannot afford to be left behind. In Africa, we have great brains and abundance of resources — we just need to embrace the power of biotechnology.”

He added in an interview that the latest of his numerous awards is particularly meaningful because it specifically honours persons of African origin.

Dr Njoroge credits his now-deceased mother, Alice Nyaucha, for having inspired his interest in science through her work as a practitioner of herbal medicine.

Dr Njoroge received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nairobi and earned a PhD in organic chemistry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

He is married to Esther Nyambura, who works at Eli Lilly as an accountant. The couple have two adult children, both of whom are studying for medical degrees.

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