Dr Ayodeji Emmanuel Amobonye obtained his PhD in Biotechnology at the Durban University of Technology’s Virtual Summer Graduation on Wednesday, 01 December 2021.
Besides his extraordinary PhD dissertation titled: Biochemical characterization of selected carbohydrases from Beauveria bassiana and their potential applications; Amobonye has done exceptionally well in his studies, also publishing nine academic papers in his field of study.
“My DUT journey really began sometime in June 2016, when my supervisor Prof SK Pillai responded to my email that sought his assistance to be my PhD supervisor. Although I had positive responses from some other schools, Prof’s professionalism and expertise encouraged me to eventually choose DUT for my doctorate study. His guidance was also instrumental in me being awarded the NRF-TWAS African Renaissance PhD scholarship that facilitated my DUT journey. I can vividly remember the first day I set foot on DUT (23rd of January 2017) and all of the ups and downs ever since. Like all students, I have had more challenges than happy moments, but it is the end that justifies the means. I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by a very supportive research team, which includes my supervisors, Prof Pillai and Prof S Singh as well as Dr PK Bhagwat. They all played critical roles that ensured that my DUT journey is ending on a remarkable note,” he explained about his study.
Dr Amobonye feels very fortunate, privileged, and thankful to graduate with his PhD. “I am fortunate because it takes more than hard work and determination to succeed, so many other factors out of one’s control also come into play, and God ensured that all those conditions were right for me. Privileged because I would not have gotten here without the necessary support of my family, supervisors and the provision of the resources needed. For example, I am privileged to have been awarded the NRF/TWAS PhD scholarship, out of the many qualified applicants. And I am thankful because I owe this to God and all the people that had to go out of their way to make my dream a reality,” said Dr Amobonye.
Regarding publishing nine academic papers, Dr Amobonye said his main motivation is his passion to contribute to knowledge as well as his love for writing. He noted that he remembers being fascinated by the different scientists and authors that wrote the textbooks he studied in high school. At that time, he wished that he would come up with works that would someday serve as points of reference for the next generation and probably his peers.
“Moving forward, I want to be involved in research that will impart my immediate society as well as my continent. To this end, these studies will be focused on ensuring the sustainability of our environment. I also want to help in grooming the next generation of African scientists. I would love to assist them early in their career in identifying researchable societal problems and knowledge gaps as well as how to communicate effectively in the scientific world through writing,” added Dr Amobonye.
He also revealed that Biology had always been his best subject in high school. Currently, the best way to apply biological knowledge is via biotechnology. He feels it still is an area where Africa is lagging and hopes to play a significant role in bridging that gap.
His advice to students with an interest in the same field, is to work hard and work smart, as there are no short cuts. He further stated that they have to learn all the necessary rules of science at first, then they can apply their creative mind afterwards.