Benson J. Edagwa

Instructor and ViiV Healthcare Distinguished Scientist, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, University of Nebraska Medical Center


Dr. Benson Edagwa was born and raised in Kenya and received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. Prior to joining LSU, Benson completed some graduate level coursework at Moi University. “Dr. Samuel Lutta, encouraged me to apply for a Ph.D. program that could expose me to cutting edge research projects, and that is how I ended up at LSU. Back at home, I volunteered to teach high school chemistry and the experience gained proved invaluable in my TA assignments at LSU.”

            After becoming a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry at Louisiana State University, Benson joined Professor Taylor’s group. “Joining the Taylor lab was one of the important turning points in my academic and research training. Not only did the Taylor Lab give me a strong foundation in the area of organic synthesis, but it also provided the opportunity to train in a collaborative multi-cultural environment, which will remain invaluable assets to my career.”

            Benson was very appreciative of his time spent at LSU and says it was one of the best decisions he has ever made. He stated that he enjoyed the state-of-the-art lab facilities and gifted faculty engaged in cutting edge research and mentoring of students to deepen their understanding of science is something that few other chemistry programs enjoy. “I will always be grateful to LSU for funding my PhD studies. The department seminars, lab meetings, TA and RA assignments helped me thrive.” Benson completed his PhD in the Spring 2012 and accepted a position at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in July of 2012.

            At the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Benson is a part of an interdisciplinary team working on transforming currently licensed and investigational antiretroviral therapies into novel targeted, sustained release products for HIV elimination. “My role as a chemist is to design, develop, and evaluate drug formulations and their application to testing in cell and small animal based assays. The end result is to make potent long-acting nanoformulated antiretrovirals with dosing intervals of once a month or longer.”

            Benson does not have any regrets about his career to-date and describes being at LSU as a very fruitful experience. “Having interacted with some of the smartest graduate students and faculty engaged in pioneering research in the chemistry department at LSU, if I were to go back I would still choose this program for my doctoral studies. I am proud to be an LSU alumnus. When asked what advice he would give to current students in the chemistry department at LSU, Benson said, “You are in the right place, embrace the opportunity and explore the unique talents that you have.”