Instrumental Access 2022

Afe Babalola University

Department of Biological Sciences

In Nigeria, monitoring dire health threats

  • Staff in the Department of Biological Sciences at ABUAD

    Staff in the Department of Biological Sciences at ABUAD

  • A biology lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at ABUAD

    A biology lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at ABUAD

  • A postgraduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences at ABUAD

    A postgraduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences at ABUAD

  • The College of Sciences on the campus of ABUAD

    The College of Sciences on the campus of ABUAD

  • The Multisystem Hospital on the campus of ABUAD

    The Multisystem Hospital on the campus of ABUAD

  • The University Senate building on the campus of ABUAD

    The University Senate building on the campus of ABUAD

Meet our Awardee

Afe Babalola University was established in 2009 and encompasses six colleges, as well as a 400-bed hospital and a large university farm focused on sustainable agricultural practices.

The Department of Biological Sciences was one of the first departments established when doors opened for classes in 2010. It offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in microbiology and biotechnology, as well as an undergraduate program in human biology that enrolls more than 2,000 students each year.

Research Areas

The department’s research interests include antimicrobial resistance, food safety and security, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases, zoonotic diseases, climate change and environmental remediation, natural products and non-synthetic derivatives from microbial and plant resources from Nigerian ecosystem as new therapeutics.
I believe Africans should champion the cause of solving African problems. The Instrumental Access equipment will enhance hands-on training for both our undergraduate and postgraduate students. Staff and students will be able to carry out cutting-edge research in house, helping us towards our goal of becoming a biotechnology hub in sub-Saharan Africa.”
—Pius Abimbola Okiki, PhD, Professor of Microbiology, Afe Babalola University

Understanding multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: Pius Okiki, PhD

Pius Okiki

Tuberculosis (TB) is an ongoing global public health crisis, with an estimated 10 million cases in 2019 alone. Nigeria has been one of the world’s most affected countries, carrying more cases than any other country in Africa, and the sixth in the world among the countries with the highest TB burden.

Although researchers are working tirelessly to end the TB epidemic, new challenges arise that make this goal more difficult each year. The emergence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) presents the biggest challenge to ending this global health crisis, as the Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains responsible are resistant to the two major TB drugs, namely isoniazid and rifampin, used in every case around the world.

As a microbiologist who specializes in antimicrobial resistance Pius Okiki, PhD, of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) is determined to find solutions. His process is two-fold: first, he and his colleagues need to understand how MDR-TB is emerging, beginning with his local region in Southwest Nigeria. Then, they want to establish a faster molecular diagnostic technique for testing the resistance levels of TB infections against existing TB drugs.

Dr. Okiki and his colleagues have published the beginnings of their research, which established a high rate of TB that was resistant to rifampicin in the town of Ikere-Ekiti, Nigeria. Their ongoing work confirms these initial findings, showing that there is a nearly even distribution of TB and MDR-TB across the Southwestern Nigerian states of Ekiti and Ondo.

Having established the scope of MDR-TB emergence, the team of researchers plans to turn towards more efficient ways to treat MDR-TB with local plant-based medicines. If MDR-TB resists the normal treatment regimen, Dr. Okiki thinks they can find some promising treatments in Nigeria’s natural pharmacopeia.

To date, Nigerian medicinal plant extracts are yet to be tested against MDR-TB, leaving a world of potential to develop more effective treatments and save lives.

This kind of work, Dr. Okiki insists, would mean faster diagnosis and more effective treatment for MDR-TB and other tropical diseases known to have antibiotic-resistant strains.

To this point, Dr. Okiki’s investigations have been largely constrained by the limited resources available within his institution that aren’t sufficient for this kind of large-scale research. Most of the analyses of samples are done outside of AUBAD, adding both cost and time to a project with little of either to spare.

Instrumental Access equipment will help to make the project more efficient, as Dr. Okiki will be poised to do analyses in his own laboratory.

“There is an urgent need to stamp out tuberculosis, and we hope that our research can help develop new diagnostics and therapeutics for the disease,” says Dr. Okiki. “We have been limited due to lack of lab equipment, but we are not deterred.”

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Afe Babalola University
The health threats in sub-Saharan Africa continue to worsen with climate change affecting our food security. Most of our approaches to these problems have been limited due to inadequate modern equipment. Instrumental Access equipment will help us provide solutions to these challenges.”
—Oyinloye Mofoluwaso Adedeji, PhD, Senior Lecturer and Acting Head, Department of Biological Sciences, Afe Babalola University

About the Department

Location: Ado Ekiti, Nigeria
Year Established: 2009
Students Impacted Annually: 2,450 undergraduate, 350 postgraduate

Why Instrumental Access?

Although the department has four main laboratory spaces in use, there are many more that can be furnished, providing the growing student population with more opportunities to learn on scientific equipment rather than in theory.

In addition, equipment will be used to establish a new Institute of One Health, which will focus on research specific to health threats in sub-Saharan Africa.

Shipment Status

In transit to Nigeria
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About Instrumental Access

Instrumental Access empowers scientists in developing countries. It gives them the resources they need to pursue life-changing research and teach the next generation.

To begin, we identify a pipeline of scientific talent. Then we rigorously screen universities and select those with the most potential to advance education and research through Instrumental Access.