I have a Disease called Eritreanism: Prof. Aman Russom

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Eritrean Prof. Aman Russom, invents use of an ordinary DVD player into a low cost, one-micrometer resolution lab scanner
Eritrean Prof. Aman Russom, invents use of an ordinary DVD player into a low cost, one-micrometer resolution lab scanner

By Shabait,

ESTABLISHING a center for nanotechnology is his long term plan. He has a vision to broaden an access to a multidisciplinary center where Eritrean students could have hands on experience in different disciplines. Integration of multi disciplines and thereby making a difference is what he always aspires.

Applying nanotechnology in the health sector is among the top most of his ambition. Making Eritrea beneficiary of an up-to-date technological breakthroughs in a way that feats to local demand is what he feels a timely solution to effectively solve delays of diagnostic answers. 

Dr. Aman Russom from Stockholm is now an associate professor at HTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. His early educational background started in Asmara. He along with his family left Eritrea in 1985 when he was just 8 years old.

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Dr. Aman was a dedicated student from early stages of his academic carrier. His success in educational carrier started with a verbal motivation of his primary school teacher. “Realizing that I did not make any mistake in my home work, my childhood teacher used to call me “Berki” and that motivated a great deal,” Dr. Aman said.

At the early stages of his educational carrier, that is, when he was 6th grader, Dr. Aman, besides extra Swedish language classes, used to attend lectures with students from different countries. Every student had also to attend mandatory education until 9th grade. Hence, after 9th grade they started gymnasium (preparatory education) so as to get prepared for university studies.

After gymnasium, Mr. Aman found it difficult to choose which line to take. Even though he has been interested in mathematics and physics, his inclination has been more towards mathematics. It was then clear for him that he was not going to be a lawyer or an economist but he preferred to study engineering. At this critical juncture, he was advised to take an easier education that would lead him to some sort of vocational training like that of mechanics and other sort of physical work that would easily enable him to join the workforce.

Nevertheless, “There was a friend of mine who had chosen technical school which is more difficult. So, I was motivated to disregard the advice I received in favor of technical school. Had it not been the case, it would have taken me a long way to be at the stage I am today. One has to believe in oneself and aim for the sky. I liked what I did and this is how it started,” Dr. Aman said.

While he was taking gymnasium, Dr. Aman was inspired by his Chemistry teacher and developed a growing interest in the field of Chemistry and that is what made him join the department of Chemistry. Thus, in 1995, he started his University education in Chemical Engineering. Studying Chemical Engineering has been then his eureka moment which opened for him a new insight towards versatility.

Believing in oneself and knowing what to do in the early stage of his life is indeed a blessing. As regards identifying his interest as early as possible Dr. Aman said, “Throughout my educational carrier I have always been motivated and getting more mature. Even though I realized that I was not that good in the subjects I am interested in, I maintained the interest. Thus, the message I want to convey to a lot of youngsters is that to maintain the interest they have. You have to find a way how to motivate yourself. You are the only person who knows how your body functions. It is not the credit that is more important.

Dr. Aman is interested in making research and particularly researches that are related to healthcare. He has an intense desire to work in the promotion of Eritrea’s healthcare system. As he has already studied Chemical Engineering, he particularly started to get interested in Biotechnology and finally he specialized in this respective discipline. So, he studied Chemical Engineering with an emphasis on Biotechnology.

Mr. Aman along with his research team has been conducting research in Sweden. What is interesting about such researches is that in every research they conduct they have to design and develop microchips that are relevant to the subject under study.

In August 2011, he decided to complete his PhD with a shift from chemical to electrical engineering. In the department of electrical engineering, he studied Micro System Technology where he learned how to design mechanical system on micro scale. He finally completed his PhD in cutting edge technology in 2005.

A fusion of chemical and electrical engineering is what enabled him acquire good knowledge in multi disciplines. “The Microsystems technology was just a tool for me and it is like having a hammer to look where to spike,” Dr. Aman Said. “For me Microsystems Technology has been a tool to be applied in Biology.”

One could easily observe what the fusion of his chemical and electrical engineering studies would take him to. Dr. Aman finds the two disciplines: Chemical and Electrical Engineering to be complementary to one another. He used micro technology to develop chips to study DNA sequencing – DNA analysis. It is in this field that he wants to make contributions tn his homeland.

Dr. Aman, who is now 37 years old, has got a fellowship opportunity to join Harvard Medical School for a post graduate education in the period between 2005 and 2008. His stay at the university helped him enhance and upgrade his knowledge on the field of medicine.

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READ ALSO: Aman Russom and Team Awarded Funding for New Technology
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Dr. Aman Russom Inventor of HIV Diagnosis by DVD from EastAFRO on Vimeo.

Part II to be continued …