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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Chidiebere Akusobi, 2016

MD/PhD, Harvard University

Chidiebere Akusobi is an immigrant from Nigeria

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MD/PhD in Infectious Disease at Harvard University

Born in Nigeria, Chidi and his mother immigrated to the United States when he was two years old. They reunited with his father who had immigrated two years earlier to attend nursing school. His parents left Nigeria due to political and economic strife and settled in the South Bronx, where they worked to build a better life for their children and the family they left behind in Nigeria.

As a child, Chidi dreamt of becoming a physician despite attending under-resourced inner city public schools where going to college was not the norm. He attributes the start of his academic journey to the Prep for Prep program, which prepared him to attend Horace Mann, a private school in The Bronx.

Chidi went on to attend Yale University where he majored in ecology and evolutionary biology and devoted his time to leading science outreach programs. His most memorable experiences were coordinating DEMOS, the largest science volunteer organization on campus, and designing the curriculum for a weekly afterschool science program run by the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

While at Yale, Chidi developed a passion for infectious disease research; his senior thesis on phage-host interactions won the William R. Belknap prize for excellence in biological studies. Upon graduating, Chidi was awarded a Gates Cambridge scholarship to pursue an MPhil in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge. Following his MPhil, Chidi worked as a Fellow for the Working Group on New TB Drugs, where he communicated breakthroughs in tuberculosis drug discovery research to the public and global TB research community.

Currently, Chidi is a second year MD-PhD student and campus leader at Harvard Medical School. He is involved with the WhiteCoat4BlackLives movement and the Student National Medical Association, where he works to increase the pipeline of underrepresented minority students in medicine. As a future physician-scientist, Chidi hopes to conduct pioneering research that contributes to the better treatment and cure of infectious diseases. 

Education
  • MPhil Biochemistry | University of Cambridge 2013
  • BS | Yale University 2012
Awards
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • William R. Belknap Award for Excellence in Biology
Work History
  • Working Group on New TB Drugs, Fellow | January 2014 - October 2014
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