Yvonne is a scientist and consultant with over 15-year experience in scientific and health research. She is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nexakili, a professional network that connects the global community of African and African-diaspora health professionals, scientists and technologists. Nexakili offers a global platform for African professionals to transfer knowledge and collaborate across regions, sectors and disciplines with other professionals all over the world.
Yvonne began her academic career in Canada where she pursued undergraduate studies in biology and chemistry before moving to the United States for her doctoral studies in immunology. Here she discovered a passion for cancer immunology. Upon completion of her doctorate, she won the inaugural Lloyd J. Old Memorial Award and a CRI-Irvington Fellowship from the Cancer Research Institute to undertake her postdoctoral research at the Curie Institute in Paris on the immunotherapy of cancer.
Over her scientific career, Yvonne has been passionate about the immune system and its dysfunction in diseases such as cancer. Naturally, her dynamic personality and African roots inspired her to seek a deeper engagement with the African continent and find a channel to transfer her skills back to her homeland. This spark fueled the creation of Nexakili – which aims to be the #1 platform linking professionals in Africa and its diaspora. Highly optimistic about the digital revolution and the future that it rends possible, Yvonne is particularly interested in how digital technologies can harness the skills of African professionals worldwide and spur interdisciplinary collaborations. She is keen on mobilizing the human capital of the African diaspora to accelerate the availability of innovative research in Africa and contribute more effectively to achieving the health and science objectives of the continent.
Yvonne is a Young Leader of the AfricaFrance Foundation and an UNLEASH Global Talent being among the world’s best talents working on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In August 2017, she was appointed by the French President Emmanuel Macron to join his Presidential Council for Africa, a consultative body that works towards the transformation of the relationship between France and Africa and the strengthening of links between the civil societies of these regions.