Instrumental Access 2021
Olusegun Agagu University of Science and TechnologyDepartment of Chemical Sciences
In Nigeria, training the next generation
Meet our Awardee
Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology (OAUSTech) is one of 10 universities of technology in the country, and the only one in the coastal and deltaic region of Southwest Nigeria. Founded in 2010, the university was commissioned to create homegrown solutions to the challenges from oil pollution that affect the region's fishing industry.
The Department of Biological Sciences at OAUSTech previously received an Instrumental Access award.
The department’s research interests include antimicrobial resistance, climate change, non-communicable diseases, and water quality.
Searching for Cancer Medicines in Sea Beans: Abdulkabir Oladele Oladimeji, PhD
Cancer affects millions, and is the leading cause of death in every country in the world. The most common cancer treatments—like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation—are often invasive, debilitating, and hard for patients to tolerate.
What if there were potential treatments for cancer from sources we haven’t yet explored? What if the key to better medicines could be found in the natural world?
Abdulkabir Oladele Oladimeji, PhD (right), senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical Sciences at OAUSTech, sees infinite potential for discovery in the rich plant life of Southwestern Nigeria, where OAUSTech calls home.
With a tropical climate and proximity to the coast, the area boasts many plants known for their medicinal properties. And a long tradition of using local plants for a variety of medicinal purposes gives Prof. Oladimeji a firm understanding of where to start looking.
His first target: Dioclea reflexa, a legume commonly known as the sea bean or sea purse. The species is part of a larger legume family that includes soybeans, which have already been shown to possess some anticancer properties. The sea bean has been used for centuries to treat aches, pains, and sores, and more current research has shown they have medicinal properties that can help in curing some kidney injuries.
With this strong foundation, Prof. Oladimeji is ready to see the extent to which these small plants can affect the big problem of cancer. To date, he and his colleagues have discovered two new antioxidant compounds—dioclin A and dioclin B—in the sea bean. They have also confirmed that the plant’s root extract is effective against certain types of prostate cancer.
But the next stages of this project require instrumentation that was previously out of the department’s reach. Prior to Instrumental Access, they had to send samples abroad for analysis, causing delays in their workflow.
“Due to a lack of equipment, we are handicapped in several ways,” says Prof. Oladimeji. “We initiated partnerships with institutions overseas so we can send some of our samples abroad for analysis. But this usually takes a lot of time and is quite expensive, which leads to frustration and incomplete projects.”
With over 160 pieces of Instrumental Access equipment arriving on campus in March 2022, the Department of Chemical Sciences will have the means to do analysis in their own labs. With a faster turnaround and lower cost for analysis, who knows what mysteries they may find within the humble sea bean?
Share this Page
It will be a great joy for our faculty and students to advance our research activities with equipment that is not currently available in the department.”
About the DepartmentLocation: Okitipupa, Nigeria
Year Established: 2010
Students Impacted Annually: 1,850 undergraduate, 30 graduate
Why Instrumental Access?OAUSTech was founded to train students with hands-on, practical education that will prepare them for the STEM workforce. They are the only higher education institution in the southern portion of Nigeria’s Ondo State, and the Department of Chemical Sciences lacks the necessary equipment to train all the students who have enrolled in their programs.
Instrumental Access equipment will give more hands-on training opportunities to the department’s swelling enrollment.
Shipment StatusArrived on campus March 2022
About Instrumental Access
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.