Dr. Joseph Ndongo

Current professional background:

I am a senior lecturer at the University of Yaoundé I, and an Alexander von Humboldt research fellow.

Field of research:

I am working on natural product chemistry, including the isolation and structural elucidation of bioactive natural products. I am especially interested in indole and carbozole alkaloids. Alkaloids are a very nice and complex class of compounds with multiple bioactivities..

Purpose of your last research visit:

During my PhD and Postdoctoral research, I have developed skills in the isolation and structure elucidation of natural products. Some of them were very interesting because they showed some potential anticancer activity. However it is not sufficient to only isolate these compounds and to assess the biological activity, I also wish to understand how these compounds interact with DNA, so I wish to develop my research along this new field. One of the reasons I was interested to work with Prof. Ihmels is because he has a very good expertise in that field.

Another reason I have come to Germany to work with Prof. Ihmels is having access to better equipment. Once I have isolated some compounds, I need equipment to properly analyse the compound’s structure. In Cameroon this can take quite a long time, which forces me to find other things to do while I am waiting for my results. In Germany I am able to obtain my results faster, and then to immediately start interpretation of those results, which enables me to make much faster progress.

Relation to the University of Siegen and/or to the local host:

In the past I have made multiple research visits to the University of Göttingen. After my host there retired, I of course wanted to continue the work that I had already started here in Germany, so I sent an email to Prof. Ihmels in which I presented my current project. He then accepted my proposal and invited me to his Lab in Siegen for my next research visit.

Future projects / Activities:

An important reason why I have come to Siegen is to establish a fruitful and long-term academic cooperation with Prof. Ihmels. It would be wonderful for him to visit Yaoundé in future in order to do a seminar or make a presentation.

Impressions of Siegen:

Siegen is a nice city with a lot of bridges and a beautiful landscape. I find it to be a good place for a student who wants to study and to be at the forefront of progress. I also like the fact that my campus here is located on a hill; it reminds me of my home university in Yaoundé, we call it the hill of knowledge.