Alumni Profiles
Beyond the Degree

Biotech alum Carol Ibe wins prestigious Gates-Cambridge scholarship to study plant science

PhD Candidate (Gates Scholar), University of Cambridge
Founding President, JR Biotek Foundation

Carol Ibe

I was born in Madison, Wisconsin but grew up in Nigeria, where I completed a B.Sc. in Microbiology. I also completed an MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a Specialization in Biotechnology from the Georgetown University and an M.S. in Clinical Embryology from the University of Oxford. In 2013, I founded JR Biotek, a biotechnology education-based company that is committed to training a new generation of scientists (in Africa) to utilize modern biotechnology techniques and approaches to improve agricultural productivity, human health, industrial development and environmental sustainability in Africa.

I must say that growing up in Nigeria gave me the opportunity to understand the struggles that many people living in Africa face, especially to provide food for themselves and their families. These experiences have contributed to the person that I have become today and motivated me to do more to help lift millions of people in Africa out of hunger, malnutrition and extreme poverty, hence my decision to pursue a Ph.D. in Plant Sciences. My Ph.D. research at Cambridge will aim to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying interactions between rice and both beneficial and detrimental fungi, and how these interactions may be enhanced for practical agricultural applications. Rice is a staple food in many developing countries; therefore, information gained during my Ph.D. may contribute to the development of rice cultivars with better adaptations to low-input rice agroecosystems, which is crucial for achieving global food security. I am deeply honored and very excited to join the Gates Cambridge Community, a global network of scholars who are committed to using their education, gifts and talents to improving the lives of others.