Department of Biochemistry

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria - Nigeria

Center of excellence

Objectives


It has, among others, the following objectives:

  • Provision of skilled manpower in the diagnosis, management and prevention of neglected tropical diseases that are currently impeding the social,agricultural and economic advancement of the West African sub-region.
  • Training of manpower in the general area of molecular biotechnology techniques and forensic science for their applications in solving related and other problems
  • Establishment of a facility and channel for the security and the society in resolving security, legal, paternity and other related issues.
  • Provision of baseline data bank on the epidemiological status of a number of the neglected tropical diseases that is peculiar to this region for use by governments in formulating health policies.

Goals


The goal of the Centre of excellence is to evolve into a reference centre for neglected tropical diseases, providing core facilities (sample depositories, databases, vaccine development).

Brief History


The African Centre of Excellence on Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria is one of the fifteen Centres of excellence recently approved (2013) for World Bank funding under the auspices of the Association of African Universities. The Centre which is anchored in the Centre for Biotechnology Research and Training (for the research and capacity training) and the Department of Biochemistry of the University (for the award of the degrees and certificates), has five other departments in the University involved - Biological Sciences, Microbiology, Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Veterinary Pathology, Veterinary Parasitology and Entomology, and Veterinary Public Health & Preventive Medicine.

The Centre of Excellence runs three postgraduate degree programmes, namely Postgraduate diploma in Forensic Biotechnology, and MSc. and PhD degrees in Biotechnology. A full complement of senior academics drawn from the host and collaborating institutions, are available for quality teaching and supervision to ensure graduates of international standards.
The Centre of excellence provides opportunities for research students to carry out internship or laboratory works in some of the collaborating institutions.

Collaborating Institutions


The Centre has established collaborations with the following institutions in the region and outside Africa:

  • Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis and Onchocerciasis Research (NITOR), Kaduna, Nigeria – provide infrastructural facilities for screening for trypanosomal infections in humans, animals and tsetse flies, maintenance of trypanosomal strain collections and tsetse fly colonies
  • Nigerian Medical Research Institute (Nigeria), Lagos, Nigeria - screening of human samples for filarial infections and capacity building
  • University of Ngaundaure, Cameroon – involve in samples collection from human, animals and tsetse flies in Cameroon and capacity building
  • Institute for Agricultural Research for Development Cameroon- collection of samples from Cameroon and neighbouring central African countries of filarial and their vector samples
  • University of Western Cape, South Africa - involve in capacity building in the area of Forensic Biotechnology
  • University of Bremen, Germany- will provide access to advanced technologies and infrastructure and know-how as well as capacity building.
  • Kuvin Medical Centre of Hebrew University- involve in capacity building in the area of Forensic Biotechnology.
  • Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, Atlanta, USA) - provide expertise in screening for rabies and development of vaccines against these viruses.
  • Institute for Tropical medicine, University of Nagasaki, Japan - provide expertise in the area of vaccine design in various NTDs

Objectives

The Centre was established with the following objectives, among others:

  • Provision of training facilities in modern biology techniques including recombinant DNA technology, cell and tissue culture and immunology, to postgraduate and post-doctoral students.
  • Conducting of basic and applied research in the area of science, medical, agricultural, pharmaceutical and veterinary medicine.
  • Provision of molecular diagnostic facilities for the University teaching hospital and other referral hospitals in the region.

Archivements

From 2007 till date, the Centre has trained well over 350 academics and technologists drawn from 18 tertiary educational institutions (13 Universities, 5 research institutes, etc.) in Nigeria, Cameroon and Sierra Leone in Recombinant DNA Techniques. It has won research grants from various bodies (Deutscher Forschung Gemeinschaft (DfG), World Bank funded STEP-B).

Collaboration

Currently, the Centre has research collaboration with University of Bremen, Germany and National Veterinary Research Institute, India. One of the outcomes of researches conducted in the Centre recently earned a former Director of the Centre, a National Merit Award.

Brief History

The Centre for Biotechnology Research and Training (CBRT) of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria which was conceptualised in 1997, was formally commissioned on 10th May, 2004. The Central Bank of Nigeria provided the take-off fund which was used for the physical restructuring and rehabilitation of the building. The state of art equipment currently available in the Centre was funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, USA, Central Bank of Nigeria and the University of Bremen, Germany.

Facilities

The Centre has five laboratories (Genetic Engineering, Immunology, Tissue Culture, Bio-informatics and General Lab), a conference room, cold room, and library with e-learning facility. The research facility in the Centre is second to none in Nigeria and was thus designated as a Zonal Centre for the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) of Nigeria. The Centre research committee is made up of senior academics grounded in various aspects of biotechnology and with international exposures.