JR Biotek-Plant Cell Atlas (PCA) Africa PhD Scholars Mentoring Program
Mentoring a new cadre of African crop scientists and global research leaders
The JR Biotek-PCA Africa PhD Scholars Mentoring Program aims to provide high-quality personalized mentoring to support the research career progression of outstanding PhD researchers involved in crop agricultural research in African universities. The program is designed to complement existing academic efforts by providing new perspectives and avenues for selected mentees to refine, develop and conduct high-quality research that generates meaningful outcomes aimed at addressing Africa’s challenges in line with the Sustainable Development Goals 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 4 (Quality Education) and 13 (Climate Action). The world class research training and mentoring will be a major boost to personal and professional development of the scholars, as well as provide them with unique opportunities for research capacity development, knowledge transfer, and equitable partnerships with scientists at world leading research institutions across the globe.
The Inaugural Ceremony (8th JUNE 2022)
We are excited to officially launch the inaugural JR Biotek-PCA Mentoring Program through a virtual opening ceremony taking place on 8th June 2022. The event will include a keynote delivered by Dr Nicola Patron (a research leader in synthetic biology at the Earlham Institute, United Kingdom), followed by presentations by Dr Seung Yon (Sue) Rhee (a leading plant scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Plant Science, Stanford University, USA), and Dr Carol Ibe (plant scientist at the John Innes Centre, United Kingdom and founder of JR Biotek Foundation, USA). The ceremony will also include panel discussion sessions by distinguished scientists from leading research institutions in Africa, Europe and USA, followed by a stimulating Q&A session and networking.
Meet the 2022 inaugural class of JR Biotek-Plant Cell Atlas
global mentoring program
MEET OUR 2022 MENTORS
Our mentors are research experts at leading research institutions across the globe. They are from a diverse research background and are committed to support a cadre of African crop agricultural scientists and future global leaders.
Dr. Samuel Leiboff
Assistant Professor, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, USA
Dr. Oluwaseyi Shorinola
Plant genetics, BASF Belgium
Dr. Margaret Frank
Assistant Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science Plant Biology Section, Cornell University, USA
The Organising Team
2nd June 2022
Mentor training at
8th June 2022
Official launch & opening ceremony at
13th June 2022
One-on-One mentoring commences
30th November 2022
Official closing event
About the PCA
The PCA (Plant Cell Atlas) initiative is a community resource that comprehensively describes the state of various plant cell types and integrates high-resolution location information of nucleic acids, proteins, and metabolites within plant cells. The PCA network offers a wide range of skills and resources in imaging, proteomics, genomics, nanotechnology, and data science, and we are pleased to work together to support the career development and advancement of exceptional early-career crop scientists across Africa.
About JR Biotek
JR Biotek Foundation is a United States non-profit (501c3) organization that is advancing bioscience education, research, and innovation for Africa’s sustainable development. We utilize a grassroot, bottom-up approach to upskill early-career agricultural scientists in African nations, equipping them with relevant skillset to solve pressing local challenges, particularly, food and nutrition insecurity. Our goal is to bridge the chronic scientific knowledge and skills gaps that are hampering the application of modern biotechnologies for sustainable food production. To date, we have collaborated with the University of Cambridge (UK) and universities and research institutions in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Benin Republic, and mobilized research experts from leading global research institutions to deliver world-class training aimed at strengthening local research capacity. These programs are having a far-reaching impact across 20+ African countries.