Instrumental Access 2019:
University of Lagos
Centre for Biodiversity, Conservation & Ecosystem Management
In Nigeria, equipping a new center for research and teaching on biodiversity and conservation
Meet our Awardee
The University of Lagos (known as Unilag) is among the oldest, largest, and most competitive of Nigeria's federal research universities.
Newly established in 2018, the Centre for Biodiversity, Conservation, and Ecosystem Management (CEBCEM) at Unilag aims to mitigate threats to global, biological, and cultural diversity. Its goal is to expand knowledge on biodiversity and provide leadership in conservation, sustainability, and environmental biology.
The Department of Cell Biology and Genetics at Unilag was a 2017 Instrumental Access awardee.
The Center’s research focuses on plant and animal biodiversity, ecosystem management, natural resources management, ecosystem risk and disaster management, and community development and outreach.
As a scientist, one is never void of ideas for new areas of research. However, lack of equipment to conduct the research usually burns off the idea. One is then left to stay within studies that available equipments can be used for. This is very frustrating!"
Bringing Uncommon Vegetables Back to the Table: Dr. Omobolanle Ade-Ademilua
In Nigeria, increasing urbanization has led to a loss of vegetation. At the same time, the vegetable diets of Nigerians have lost the healthy variation they once had.
Some vegetables have become so scarce that “they seem to have disappeared from the dinner tables of Nigerians,” says Omobolanle Ade-Ademilua, PhD, Deputy Director at the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Management (CEBCEM).
As a plant physiologist, Dr. Ade-Ademilua is interested in cultivating uncommon and underutilized local vegetables and restoring their popularity.
Dr. Ade-Ademilua is particularly interested in medicinal plants growing in urban areas. She is investigating Peperomia pellucida, a tropical herb also known as shiny bush or silver bush.
Shiny bush is widely used in traditional medicine to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It is also eaten as a spicy leafy vegetable.
Traditionally, the plant was harvested from the wild, but Dr. Ade-Ademilua has developed successful cultivation and micropropogation procedures which enable her to produce large numbers of identical plants.
Successful cultivation and micropropogation presents an opportunity to increase availability of healthy food options, especially in urban areas.
"The research is helping to introduce vegetables with both nutritional and medicinal values to the staple diet of Nigerians," says Dr. Ade-Ademilua.
Soon, the vegetable will be on sale in local markets. Over time, commercialization of these vegetables could also be a source of income for women who work in the market.
With Instrumental Access equipment, Dr. Ade-Ademilua and colleagues at CEBCEM will be able to expand their research to include molecular biology techniques.
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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.