Meet Onyekachi Idigo. Idigo is a second year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Rice University. Idigo is from Nigeria and is a Rice Graduate Ambassador. Ambassadors are students who represent the university and help prospective students gain knowledge of student life as a graduate student at Rice.
Her research focuses on the enteric nervous system (ENS) which consists of millions of cells and neurons that make up the intestinal tract. She studies the Retinoic acid signaling pathway and how the pathway plays a role in the ENS. When the cells fail to migrate to make a fully developed ENS, it may lead to a number of congenital diseases, such as Hirschsprung’s Disease. This disease affects newborns and causes difficulties with their stool.
When she is not conducting research, she serves in various leadership roles within the Rice community. She is a part of the Black Graduate student Association (BGSA) on campus.
Idigo advises prospective students to focus on the big picture and not get bogged down by doubts and insecurities.
“You got into Rice,” said Idigo. “They see you as someone who is more than capable of handling the academic rigor and can excel in it.”
Idigo advises current students to create and maintain a healthy work-life balance between school and leisure.
“We are here to get a degree, but you have to stay healthy, too,” said Idigo.