Our spotlight Nigerian oncology professional publication aims to increase the visibility of Nigerian professionals in oncology (researchers, clinical oncologists, oncology nurses, cancer NGO experts). By celebrating your achievements, we hope your story will serve as an inspiration for many young Nigerians interested in all aspects of the oncology scientific and management field.
Spotlight Nigerian Oncology Professional 1st edition
Olatunji Oluwole Gege MSc.
Meet Olatunji Oluwole Gege, M.Sc.
A scientific employee and Doctoral researcher at the Prestigious German cancer research center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University.
He studied Human Anatomy at the University of Benin, Nigeria where he graduated with excellent grades. His pursuit for scientific competence and excellence led him to complete a Masters degree in Radiation biology at the Technical university of Munich where he finished top of his class and graduated with first class honours. This master’s program would form the basis of his scholarly interest in Cancer research and experimental oncology.
His PhD borders at the cutting-edge of research in Cancer biology and translational oncology. His current project focuses on elucidating the role of an epigenetic modifier (BAP1) in liver cancer development. He employs the CRISPr/CAS9 genome editing technology and a host of other molecular biology techniques in his efforts to identify useful insights for genotype specific therapeutic vulnerabilities in liver tumors.
His overall research aim is to expand the frontiers of knowledge in Cancer epigenetics, with specific focus on developing novel tumour therapies.
A passionate young scientist and visionary, he believes one’s achievement can only be limited by one’s imagination and ambition.
Olatunji is available to provide mentorship and career guidance to aspiring Master and PhD candidates in cancer research within our upcoming mentorship scheme.
Chigozie Joseph Samuel MSc.
Meet Chigozie Joseph Samuel,
PhD candidate at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine, one of Germany`s leading research institutes in Berlin, Germany.
Chigozie finished top of his class with a 1st class in Biotechnology at the Ebonyi State University in 2015.
By 2017, This erudite scholar was nominated for two full international MSc scholarships – the Pan African University Scholarship from the African Union and the prestigious Commonwealth Shared Scholarship in the UK. He accepted the latter and completed a MSc in Biomedical Science with distinction at Nottingham Trent University, UK.
For his excellent work in validating the role of a microRNA in pancreatic cancer during his MSc thesis, Chigozie earned a high distinction.
He then proceeded to win a highly competitive PhD position at the MDC in Berlin. a truly rigorous selection process involving over 500 applicants worldwide.
His project is focused on identifying and functionally validating the epigenetic drivers of hormone-induced breast cancer.
Chigozie is very passionate about cancer research and is determined to leave a positive footprint in the field of oncology.
Being a strong advocate of self-development, He is a believer in the capacity of dedication, hard work, perseverance and prayers to transform lives.
On scholarship applications and mentorship, Chigozie says "I know that preparing and winning scholarships can be very daunting, especially without proper mentorship. For this reason, I am offering my experience through mentorship to candidates applying for Master’s or PhD scholarships to make their quest easier".
Hannah Oluwakemi Oladipo
Meet Hannah Oluwakemi Oladipo
Assistant chief scientific Officer at National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Nigeria and a DAAD PhD fellow at Rhodes University, South Africa.
She studied Biochemistry at Usmanu Danfodiyo University and graduated with excellent grades.
At the post graduate level, Oluwakemi has established herself as a trailblazer by obtaining three (3)!! MSc degrees with distinction; MSc biotechnology from England’s Northumbria university Newcastle, an MSc in Bioinformatics from Germany’s Saarland University, Saarbrucken and an MSc in Biosafety of Plant Biotechnology from Italy’s Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona.
Inspired by the apparent gaps in biotechnology and bioinformatics expertise at home, Oluakemi took up a job with the nation's biotechnology agency since 2010 where she has successfully established herself as a remarkable young scientist.
Her exposure to cutting edge biotechnology and bioinformatics tools and techniques during her various programs coupled with her understanding of the cancer challenge Nigeria faces formed the basis of her current academic commitment to cancer research.
She received the highly competitive DAAD in-region PhD scholarship to study heats-shock proteins in cancer. Using bioinformatic tools, She focuses on unravelling key protein-protein interaction of these molecular chaperones in multiple cancers. Her eventual findings may be exploited for future therapeutic strategies.
Oluwakemi has defied many odds to forge ahead in her career and academics and she is passionate about contributing her quota to the development of the academic, research and scientific space in Nigeria.
She is eager to mentor young MSc and PhD applicants!
Meet Deborah Kajewole
PhD candidate at Rhodes University, South Africa.
Deborah graduated from the Department of Biochemistry, now Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Nigeria’s Obafemi Awolowo University in 2011.
Prior to taking up Doctoral studies, in 2015, Deborah completed her master’s research at the University of Kent, UK with a focus on target-based cross-sensitivity profiles of chemo-resistant neuroblastoma cells to stabilizing and destabilizing microtubule chemotherapeutic agents. This research provided a clearer understanding of tumour heterogeneity and clonal evolution among other extant considerations to strengthen personalized treatment for cancer patients.
Currently, Deborah’s research interest involves the identification of repurposed and novel agents for cancer therapy in tumors. Her work specifically addresses the prevalent triple-negative breast cancer subtype in women of African ancestry, a vastly underrepresented group in cancer and genomic research.
Deborah is a fellow with the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD). She has grown a passion for cancer research over the years, having worked in a few consortiums with affiliations in Chicago and Florida to decipher cancer disparity among locally resident Nigerians and those in diaspora.
She is determined to share knowledge with other passionate scientists and mentor aspiring Nigerians in the biomedical field and more.
Meet Olaniyi Olarewaju,
A PhD candidate at the prestigious Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS), Germany.
He obtained his B.Tech degree in Animal Production and Health from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) in 2011, and later proceeded to the University of Kiel, Germany for his M.Sc in Agricultural Genomics.
During his Master thesis research, his work on oxidative stress tolerance and the impact of oxidative stress on aging and longevity fuelled his interest in the roles of oxidative stress in carcinogenesis. Hence, his decision to pursue a PhD degree in the cancer research field.
He is presently working on elucidating the metabolic reprogramming events modulated by non-coding RNA species in the liver, which can eventually lead to hepatocarcinogenesis. To this end, he employs diverse cancer research tools, molecular biology techniques, as well as AAV-based therapeutics delivery system.
Olaniyi is interested in mentoring. In 2019, he started an annual one-month training programme for FUTA students on the advances in molecular techniques and their applications in biomedical and agricultural research.
Olaniyi is passionate about politics, and he loves cycling, photography, and cooking.
Sylvester Ifeanyi Omoruyi, PhD.
Meet Dr Sylvester Ifeanyi Omoruyi.
He is a Postdoctoral researcher at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa.
He received his BSc and MSc in Human Anatomy from the University of Benin, Nigeria and his PhD in Medical Bioscience from the University of the Western Cape in collaboration with the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
His commitment to cancer research became firmly established during his PhD studies.
The research focused on drug repurposing for the treatment of glioblastoma. The field of drug repurposing has continued to gain attraction in medical research today due to the cost and lengthy process involved in the drug discovery pipeline as well as failure of a huge number of new drugs in clinical trials. Drug repurposing has the potential of offering low cost, already approved drugs to cancer patients. For low and middle income countries like Nigeria, this represents a huge opportunity
The study repurposed novel phenothiazine-derivatives which belong to the antipsychotic class of drugs for the treatment of glioblastoma using the U87 and U251 cells. Following screening of a library of novel compounds, two hits were identified and further characterised. Interestingly, findings from the study showed that these novel compounds induced double-strand DNA damage indicated by the upregulation of γ-H2AX in these cells as well as inhibiting the PI3K/Akt signalling pathway leading to both apoptotic and autophagic cell death.
Additionally, during Sylvester’s PhD studies, he enjoyed a fellowship as a visiting scientist at the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark where he investigated the anti-cancer activity of these novel compounds in patient-derived xenograft tumour cultures. He also won the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF)- 2017.
He is keen on mentoring the next generation of cancer researchers!