Sé·da·mi: Groundbreaking Malaria Vaccine Researcher


  • Completed her doctorate studies in 3 years
  • Co-founded and heads the Edmonton Beninese Association
  • Leads a groundbreaking research into anti-malaria vaccine at the University of Alberta

Meet Africa’s star Scientist:

Dr. Sé·da·mi Gni·de·hou -REPUBLIC OF BENIN

A groundbreaking research by some public health scientists at the University of Alberta, Canada holds huge promise for malaria-plagued Africa and other continents. It is a research that promises a vaccine to treat a special class of malaria patients: pregnant women.

The development of this anti-malaria vaccine is quite significant given that of the 627,000 malaria-associated deaths in 2012, half occurred in Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

Star Scientist

But more significant is this: the team of public health scientists working on this vaccine is led by a worthy daughter of Africa: Dr. Sédami Carine Gnidehou. In fact, Sédami, 39, has been at the forefront of the research into the impact of malaria in pregnancy.

Photo courtesy Sedami.

Born and raised in the Republic of Benin, West Africa, Sédami moved to France on the completion of her High School studies at the Collège de l’Espoir. After 11 years studying in France, she obtained a doctorate degree in Molecular Biology from the Université Paris XI, France, in November 2005.

Sédami completed her doctorate studies in 3 short years!

In 2011, Sédami, along with her team members at a French research institute, patented a vaccine candidate for pregnancy-associated malaria. That same year, the University of Alberta offered her appointment as a research associate in its School of Public Health.

Her work on the impact of malaria on pregnancy is topical and novel in that about 124 million pregnancies are at risk of being lost to malaria, each year, worldwide.

This novel research landed her a ‘Canadian Rising Stars’ award and a research grant in Global health as part of the Grand Challenges Canada program. Her research project – “A Sympathetic Pregnancy Vaccine: How Antibodies from Men can Protect Women from Malaria” – is sure to save millions of adult and unborn lives when the vaccine becomes commercially available.

The scientific research proceeds on the discovery by the team that certain antibodies produced in men who are victims of a particular malaria strain protect against multiple strains of malaria, including those identified in pregnant women.

Sédami believes that the same anti-malaria vaccine can be used to cure malaria in non-pregnant malaria victims.


Sedami at MAAFA 2014 with organizer Nii Koney II and a friend

Settling down in Canada

Sédami had fallen in love with Canadian hospitality during a series of vacations she had with her family in Canada. The offer of appointment by the University of Alberta made her decision to relocate to Canada, in 2011, much easier.

Despite moving to Canada just about 3 years ago, Sédami now considers Canada to be her home. As part of the acculturation process, Sédami plans to take skiing lessons in the near future.

When not in her laboratory at the University of Alberta, Sédami can be found lounging at home watching news channels or the ‘Voice’, which is her favourite TV program.

Her sterling achievements could be ascribed to her mantra: “never give up and always try to believe in God even when it is hard.” Sédami believes that “nothing is easy” and that “most success comes from sufferings.” 

Unveiling Sédami

Favourite books: The Bible and Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela's autobiography.

Favourite MovieThe Ten Commandments 

Favourite Musician: Benin's Alokpon

Fluent in 3 languages: Fon, English and French.

Sédami's community activism

Chair - Edmonton Beninese Association

Board Member - Centre d' Accueil (Centre for Francophone Newcomers)

Member - Association Canadienne-Française de l’Alberta (French Canadian Association of Alberta)

For more information on Dr. Sedami Gnidehou, contact us at info@afrospora.com
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A BIG WOW to you all ,job well done , loss for words , totally inspired , kudos to you and thank you and thank you .KEEP UP THE AWESOME WORK, you give us hope , you make us feel proud of our heritage , you make us proud to be of African origin , and thank you for sharing our gifted brothers and sisters . What an amazing platform to celebrate , honour and be inspired . Merci , Asante , Thank you

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