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Executive Board


 Jennifer A Thomson (South Africa)

Prof. Jennifer A Thomson is currently Emeritus Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She was Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand and Director of the Laboratory for Molecular and Cell Biology for the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, before becoming Head of the Department of Microbiology at UCT. Thomson has won numerous prestigious awards and fellowships, including the L’Oreal/UNESCO prize for Women in Science for Africa in 2004 and an Honorary Doctorate from the Sorbonne University.

Her research field is the development of genetically modified maize resistant to the African endemic maize streak virus and tolerant to drought and she has published three books on Genetically Modified Organisms: Genes for Africa, Seeds for the Future, and Food for Africa. She is a member of the board of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), based in Nairobi and vice-chair of ISAAA (International Service for the Acquisition of AgriBiotech Applications). Prof. Jennifer Thomson also serves on the National Advisory Council on Innovation of the South African Minister of Science and Technology.

Prof. Thomson has been an OWSD member since 1994 and was elected President in 2016. As the former Chair of the OWSD South Africa National Chapter, she led the very active Chapter in supporting its members through workshops on writing and presentation skills, mentoring OWSD fellowship holders and highlighting successful and emerging women scientists in the country as well as building regional collaborations among other activities.



Babalola Olubukola Oluranti (Nigeria)

As the former Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at North-West University, South Africa, Prof. Olubukola Babalola currently works as the Director of Food Security and Safety Niche Area as Principal Investigator, Microbial Biotechnology Laboratory. Her research focus involves current molecular biology techniques, and the use of bioinformatics and microbiological topics. Babalola’s active teaching and research track records supervising students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, cut across nations. Over 75 scholars of Microbiology have graduated under her research mentorship.

Babalola has been a member of OWSD since 2014 and was elected Vice-Presidnet of the Africa region in 2016. She was awarded in 1997 with  the first OWSD PhD Fellowship and is well known by her colleagues and students to encourage and help girls to improve themselves in their pursuit of an higher education and is passionate about mentorship.

Arab Region

Nashwa Eassa, (Sudan)

Dr. Nashwa Eassa is an Assistant Professor of Physics at Al Neelain University in Khartoum, Sudan. She earned a Master of Science in Material Physics and Nanotechnology from Linkoping University in Sweden and a PhD in Physics from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in South Africa. Her current research focuses on development of Titanium oxide nanoparticles and nanotubes structures for water treatment using solar radiation  and solar water splitting using photoelectric chemical cells (PECs) for the generation of hydrogen from water.

Eassa was an OWSD fellow in 2008 and has been an OWSD member since 2009. As an addition to her growing list of nominations and awards, Eassa received the Elsevier Foundation OWSD award 2015 and was elected Vice-President for the Arab Countries in 2016. Eassa founded the Sudanese Women in Science Organization (SWSO) and participates in establishing the OWSD-Sudan National Chapter.


Asia & Pacific

Atya Kapley (India)

Dr. Atya Kapley currently works as a Principal Scientist in the Environmental Genomics Division at the National Environmental Enineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur, INDIA. Kapley has worked in the area of environmental sciences and bacterial genomics for the past 23 years and specializes in bioremediation solutions for contaminated soil and water while solving problems of environmental contamination and treatment of industrial effluents. As improving water quality has been her main objective, she believes women play a key role in providing a clean and healthy environment for family and society. Kapley is a member of a number of committees amongst these, the Department of Biotechnology and the Ministry of Science and Technology, India.

As a National Chapter Treasurer with a strong focus on gender issues, Dr. Atya Kapley has served as an OWSD member since 2002 and was elected Vice-President for the Asia & Pacific region in 2016.  Motivated by a strong interest to support women and girls in achieving their desired goals, she has organized workshops and conferences to create a discussion platform for gender discrimination as well as to sensitize women scientists and other professionals for these issues.

 Latin America & Caribbean