Nigerian professor named as next president of Cambridge University college

Ijeoma Uchegbu

Ijeoma Uchegbu, a professor of Pharmaceutical Nanoscience and a pioneer in the field of nanoparticle drug delivery, has been named the 7th president of Wolfson College, one of the University of Cambridge’s 31 colleges. On October 1, 2024, she will take over as President in place of Professor Jane Clarke.

Uchegbu is currently a Professor of Pharmaceutical Neuroscience at University College London (UCL). She grew up in Hackney and Southeast Nigeria. She graduated from the University of Benin in 1981 with a degree in pharmacy and then went on to the University of Lagos to complete her master’s programme. She couldn’t complete her doctorate in Nigeria due to infrastructural problems.

She pursued postgraduate studies at the University of London after coming back to the UK, earning a PhD in 1997. Her dissertation was overseen by Alexander (Sandy) Florence, Dean of the school of pharmacy. She was employed as a lecturer at the University of Strathclyde from 2002 until 2004.

Her pioneering work on mechanisms of drug transport has led to the development of new treatments that promise to transform pain relief, including the enkephalin pain medicine candidate (Envelta), designed to address the opioid crisis.

Professor Ijeoma is poised to have a significant influence on the college’s future because to her innovative leadership and wealth of academic expertise. Her appointment offers a lot of experience and a new viewpoint that will surely help the college and its students grow and thrive.

She has received multiple honours, fellowships, and prizes for her work, and she is an honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in addition to serving on a number of academic boards and councils, including the Wellcome Trust and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

She has also played a leading role during her time at UCL as Pro Vice Provost for Africa and the Middle East, in forging new research partnerships in those regions and as UCL’s Provost’s Envoy for Race Equality, steering the organisation’s race equality agenda.

Responding to her appointment, she said: “I am so thrilled to be joining Wolfson College, an ambitious and forward-thinking College. It will be an honor to lead such a lively, diverse, and engaged student community in an environment where people are stimulated culturally, socially, and intellectually. I look forward to working with the Governing Body, staff, and students to help realize their ambitions and potential.”

Her leadership will surely create a research-heavy atmosphere that is conducive to innovation and critical thinking. Her commitment to inclusivity and community involvement also perfectly reflects the principles of Wolfson College. She is a firm believer in fostering an inclusive and varied learning environment where people from all backgrounds can succeed.