Washington, DC: The US-based Liberian infectious diseases scientist, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, has been awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Research” in Medicine by the Victor E. Ward Educational Fund at its 16thAnnual Crystal Award Gala which was held under the theme, “The Enabling Power of Science and Technology.”
“I am pleased to inform you that you have been chosen as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Research at the Ward Fund’s 16th Annual Crystal Award Gala. The Ward Educational Fund is pleased to present you with this award because of your outstanding commitment to science, particularly in the field of medicine with emphasis on infectious diseases,” said the Award Committee to Dr. Nyan in its communication from Ms. Vickie Ward who serves as Chair.
During the Award presentation, the Committee also recognized the personal struggles, determination, and perseverance of Dr. Nyan who was expelled from the University of Liberia Science College by the military government in 1988 for his activism for democracy and human rights. The committee also noted the scientist’s concern for humanity by making available his expertise and invention available to affected regions and poorer populations of Africa and the world in fighting infectious diseases.
Dr. Nyan is lead inventor of a rapid multiplex diagnostic test that can detect and identify many infectious pathogens, including HIV, Hepatitis viruses, Dengue, Ebola, Zika, and other infections. During the Ebola virus outbreak, his testimony to the U.S. Congress on September 17, 2014 advocated for a coordinated US-International assistance to the Ebola affected countries of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, and the creation of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Victor E. Ward Educational Fund was established in 2001 in honor of Professor Victor Ward, Chairman of the Chemistry Department of the T. J. R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology of the University of Liberia, who was killed during the civil crisis of 1990. The Ward Fund honors the memory and legacy of this fallen educator by promoting the study of chemistry at the University of Liberia as well as science and technology to Liberian Youths, especially to vulnerable young girls.
In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Nyan thanked the Ward Fund for the recognition. He also thanked the government of Germany which provided him his medical education at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the United States of America for his training as a biomedical scientist at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. In further appreciation, the scientist recognized the role and scientific contribution of the late Professor Ward to the College of Science and Technology of the University of Liberia, the institution which provided Dr. Nyan the fundamentals of his career. Dr. Nyan then stressed that he wants his invention produced to be affordable to the poorer communities to help humanity fight infectious diseases.
During his remark, the two youngest of Dr. Nyan’s four daughters spontaneously rushed on stage; one grabbed the microphone and excitingly thanked the Committee “for the trophy you gave my daddy; my daddy has two trophies now”, said the youngest (who is probably 3-4 years old) to the amazement of the Award Committee and audience. Dr. Nyan recently received several awards, including an Award in Science from the Liberian Awards in August 2016 and the Humane Order of African Redemption from the Liberian government when he served as the 169th Independence Day Orator on July 26, 2016, Liberia’s Independence Day.
Also receiving awards at the 2016 Gala were Mr. James Milton Weeks, Jr. a Liberian physicist and former student of Professor Ward’s, for Outstanding Career in Science. U.S. Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. received an award for Outstanding Public Service, while the Gbomai Bestman Foundation won an award for Outstanding Community Service in Maternal-Child Healthcare delivery to needed communities.