The Yoshi Suzuki Award celebrates exceptional doctoral research, recognizing the highest standards of academic excellence. Named after Yoshi Suzuki, a distinguished founding member of the International Society for Animal Genetics (ISAG), this prestigious award commends the outstanding contributions of young researchers in the field.
This year, the competition reached new heights, with record-breaking participation of over 100 scholars. Notably, the number of students presenting their research has doubled compared to previous years, thanks to travel bursaries offered in response to the travel limitations posed by the COVID restrictions in previous years.
The awards ceremony recognized the remarkable achievements of young scientists in each research category. However, the most coveted prize, the Yoshi Suzuki Award, was won by Sumaya Kambal.
Sumaya’s research showcased profound implications for livestock genomics in Africa and beyond. Her collaboration with the African Dairy Consortium played a crucial role in her work, as she analyzed whole genome sequences from forty-one indigenous cattle species across the continent. The depth and significance of her findings were on par with the novelty of her approach.
Support for Sumaya’s research came from the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, which empowers female scientists worldwide and fosters their vital role in global scientific development. Additionally, her ties to CTLGH and ILRI granted her access to the high-capacity computing facilities at ILRI, making her ambitious data analysis possible.
While Sumaya remains humble about her achievement, her PhD supervisor, Olivier Hanotte, reminds her of the tremendous accomplishment she has achieved, especially considering the challenges she faced to attend the conference.
Born and raised in Sudan, Sumaya’s life was uprooted by the conflict, leading to her family’s forced relocation. After three months of travel, they settled in the UAE. Obtaining a travel visa for the conference was an arduous task, with uncertainty lingering until a few days before the event. Throughout these adversities, Sumaya persevered and kept her focus firmly on her research, a constant source of strength and determination.
Sumaya expressed her gratitude, stating, “This achievement means the world to me, representing the resilience, determination, and passion that have driven me throughout my journey. It is a testament to the power of education and the boundless opportunities it can create, even amidst the most trying circumstances.”
Sumaya’s story exemplifies the transformative power of education and the unwavering spirit of young researchers in overcoming obstacles to make groundbreaking contributions to the scientific community.