Cancer researcher’s career inspired by childhood loss
A traumatic childhood event can frequently shape a person’s destiny. Such was the case with Katundu Katundu, a virologist and pharmacological researcher with the Zambia Cervical Cancer program who also is an intern studying with the Novartis Next Generation Scientists program.
Jun 10, 2014
When he was a young teen, the close uncle who was raising him died after suffering through a protracted lung illness. Katundu questioned the variety of prescribed and traditional herbal medicines he watched his uncle take during his final days. Few of the medicines seemed to provide any noticeable benefit. Katundu wondered if there was anything he could do to change that for someone else in the future.
Having already lost his mother and father, the young man went to live with other family members in the remote village of Kashamu near the storied Kalahari Desert. But Katundu never forgot his uncle’s suffering. He wanted to be able to help people like his uncle and fellow villagers, who all too often had to rely on uncertain traditional remedies to deal with illness.
Watch as Katundu reveals how his early tragic loss influenced the direction of his future career.