The University of Antwerp awarded an honorary doctorate to Prof Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum on Wednesday 15 May for his fight against Ebola. The Congolese professor has been working closely with the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in the field of Ebola for many years. In 1976, Prof Muyembe, together with former ITM scientists Prof Guido van der Groen and Prof Peter Piot, discovered the Ebola virus in Yambuku, DR Congo.
In the period from 1976 to the present, DR Congo experienced ten Ebola outbreaks in often remote areas of the country. Muyembe was always closely involved in controlling the outbreaks and built up extensive expertise on the disease. His nickname is not without reason the “Ebola hunter”.
"It is a great honour for me to receive the honorary doctorate," says Prof Muyembe. “I find it especially worthwhile to collaborate with Belgian universities and research institutions. Together with the ITM scientists, I have been fighting Ebola throughout my career. ITM and the Institut National de Recherche Biomédical (INRB) in Kinshasa, of which I am the director, are official partners. We work together on various scientific research projects." The cooperation between ITM and INRB is funded by the Belgian Development Cooperation.
The University of Antwerp awarded the honorary doctorate during a joint ceremony with four other Flemish universities. Each university awarded a scientist, who made a difference in university development cooperation, with an honorary degree. The academic session was organised by VLIR-UOS.
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