Prof. Gassama is a Senegalese national and Professor in plant biotechnology at Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD), Senegal. She is a well-known scientist and has held high ranking positions in the academia, governance and policymaking. She was Senegal’s Minister of Scientific Research in 2005 and chaired African Union’s high level panel on emerging technologies in 2017.
She is highly respected for many firsts, including her study on the utilization of the neem in the treatment and prevention of malaria. She is also the first woman to attain the level of full professor in fundamental sciences in Senegal and remains one of the few high-profile women scientists dedicated to the field in Africa today. As a member of the Advisory Board of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and Female Education in Mathematics and Science in Africa (FEMSA), she not only promotes the education of girls in science and mathematics, but also mentors young women and encourages them to become more involved in science.
Prof. Gassama was the Vice Chair of National Academy of Sciences and Techniques of Senegal in 2013 and the Chair of the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology in 2005. She has chaired and has been on several committees, and has consulted for several international organizations including UNEP, IDRC, CORAF and FAO.
For her contributions to science, Prof. Gassama was recognized with Senegal’s highest order, Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Lion. She also received the Cauri d’Or for scientific excellence in 2019.