12 Black Scientists You Should Know Who Are Making an Impact Today

Oluyinka O. Olutoye

Co-Director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center

Oluyinka Olutoye is a professor of Pediatric Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of the Texas Children’s Fetal Center. He performs fetal surgeries and also conducts his own research. Olutoye attended medical school in his home country of Nigeria. He then moved to the United States to pursue further surgical training and a Ph.D. in Anatomy at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was named a James IV Association of Surgeons 2007 Traveling Scholar, an honor where he exchanged ideas with surgeons in Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, Vietnam and Australia.


Bruce Ovbiagele

Professor, Medical University of South Carolina 

Bruce Ovbiagele, a vascular neurologist, is a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina. Among other responsibilities, Ovbiagele directs the UCLA PROTECT program, which helps hospitals provide the highest-quality stroke treatments to patients. He is a national spokesman for the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association’s “Power to End Stroke” campaign.

Born in Nigeria, Ovbiagele went to the United States in 1995 to pursue specialist training in strokes, the second-leading killer of Africans and the single most deadly neurological disease. He plans to return to Nigeria to set up stroke centers.

Agnes Day

Professor of Microbiology, Howard University

Agnes A. Day grew up in Florida, the youngest of 13 children in a poor family. Day’s third-grade teacher recognized her intelligence and invited young Agnes to come live with her, where she encouraged her curiosity and put her “on the path of achieving.”

Day received her bachelor of science degree in biology from Bethune-Cookman College in Florida in 1974 and her Ph.D. in microbiology from Howard University in 1984. Day then spent several years in the National Institute of Dental Research, after which she returned to Howard University, where she is currently an associate professor and chairwoman of the Department of Microbiology in the College of Medicine. Her research interests are drug resistance in fungi, bone and connective tissue diseases, animal models of breast cancer, and the genetics of breast cancer in African-American women.

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