Dr. Michael Iroezindu was always interested in a career in the science field. He says, “growing up, I realized that science provided me with more stimulating and objective pathways to address my curiosities.” After having two siblings pursue medical careers, he decided to do the same.
Dr. Iroezindu joined HJFMRI in March 2018 after he transitioned from his academic role at the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Nigeria. He was familiar with the PEPFAR Nigeria program and after several colleagues shared the job opening at HJFMRI, he decided to apply. He says, “although moving on from a promising academic program was a hard decision, the opportunity to conduct research and contribute to science at a high level tilted the pendulum.”
In his current role as the Director of Research, Dr. Iroezindu provides leadership for the programs research activities where he drives scientific, technical, managerial, and collaborative efforts to push forward the mission of EIDB, MHRP, Walter Reed Program – Nigeria, HJFMRI and the DoD. Additionally, Dr. Iroezindu is the Director of the Clinical Research Center in Abuja. He was recently given a group award by the U.S. Embassy Abuja for “exceptional performance and dedication to duty in support of the Nigerian military and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Aside from being involved in COVID-19 research, Dr. Iorezindu is the principal investigator for a WRAIR EIDB Lassa epidemiology study and the Nigerian component of the Lassa Fever Vaccine Efficacy and Prevention for West Africa (LEAP4WA) consortium that comprises many organizations such as EIDB, WRAIR, HJF, HJRMRI, IAVI, NIH and Tulane University. In addition, he is the Principal Investigator of EIDB's Lassa Seroprevalence Study (EID 023) and a Co-Chair for the Severe Infectious Diseases Surveillance Protocol (RV466/EIDB 005).
“Prior to joining HJFMRI, while supporting Lassa fever case management, outbreak responses and epidemic preparedness activities in southeast Nigeria, I had painful moments occasioned by Lassa-related deaths of colleagues and patients,” he recalled. “As a frontline healthcare worker in the infectious disease isolation unit, I once went through the rough path of receiving Lassa fever post-exposure prophylaxis. The EIDB-initiated Lassa studies represent enormous opportunities for a personal victory.”
Since joining the team, the research and managerial components of his career path has accelerated. “The scientific content of my work has become richer and the potential impacts more far-reaching” he says.
Dr. Iroezindu has been awarded several honors including: Fellowship of the American Thoracic Society (2019), University of Cape Town/National Cancer Institute Clinical Trial Conduct Course Travel Grant (2019), IAS Educational Fund Scholarship (2020), and the Buist Pathway to Leadership Award (2020).
Dr. Iroezindu was born and raised in Nigeria. He resides there with his wife Eniye and two children, Chimerem and Chibulirim, whom he says are his greatest treasures. Outside of work, Dr. Iroezindu describes himself as an “arts asset stolen by science.” He is gifted in drawing, painting, and poetry. During his time in medical school, he wrote a collection of poems consisting of 150 pieces which he has preserved for 20 years in hand-written form. “Science and arts peacefully co-existed inside of me while in medical school,” he says. He hopes to publish his collection in the future.