I am Cynthia Amakiri from the Ekpeye tribe in the Southern part of Nigeria and a graduate of Medical Biochemistry from Swansea University, Wales. My bachelor thesis focused on Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) in gynecological cancers. This project tested and identified novel target proteins suitable for ADC development and was performed in the lab of Prof. Dr. Deyarina Gonzalez.

I worked for a few years in the non-profit sector where I was introduced to the high burden of infectious diseases in Nigeria.

In 2020, I started my Master’s degree in Infectious diseases and One health under the Erasmus Mundus Program studying at Université de Tours, France, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain, and Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Germany. During this time, I was able to apply my knowledge in Biochemistry to the field of infectious diseases by focusing on Pathogen-induced cancers.

For my master’s degree internship, I worked in the lab of Prof. Dr. Abel Viejo-Borbolla at the Hannover Medical School on the immunomodulatory role of the KSHV complement control protein (KCP) in chemokine-mediated chemotaxis and angiogenesis.

My work demonstrated that KCP binds to chemokines and enhances chemokine-mediated chemotaxis making it the first viral chemokine-binding protein discovered in human gammaherpesviruses. I am now continuing my research work on tumor causing viruses in the Schelhaas lab by studying the mechanism and role of a novel endocytosis pathway used by HPV16 for cell entry.