SPARCo Nigeria

Obiageli E. Nnodu is Professor of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Director of the Centre for Sickle Cell Disease Research and Training University of Abuja (CESRTA), as well as Honorary Consultant Haematologist at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada in Abuja, Nigeria.

She is a founding member of Sickle CHARTA and Vice Chair of the Nigerian Sickle Cell Support Society Network (SCSSN) which works with the government and professional groups for the control of SCD in Nigeria. In that capacity, she is responsible for most of the in-country activities of the Network. She serves on technical committees of the government on non-communicable diseases and has completed a number of national assignments related to SCD.

Professor Nnodu is the Site PI for the Sickle Pan African Research Consortium (SPARCo), a Site Lead for the H3Africa SickleGenAfrica Consortium and a member of the American Society of Hematology African Newborn Screening and Early Intervention Consortium. Professor Nnodu, a Chevening Scholar and alumnus of Imperial College London, is Chair for Advocacy of Sickle Pan African Network (SPAN).

Prof Nash is the Director of the Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics Department, at NABDA. He is also the coordinator of the Initiative for Translational Research on Tropical and Emerging Infectious Diseases at the NABDA-Southwest Biotechnology Center of Excellence at the University of Ibadan. He is an Assistant Prof to the Biological Sciences Department, Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna. Before returning to Nigeria in 2006, he was a research associate at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York where he worked on the evolution of HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase for Molecular Biology applications.

As a postdoctoral fellow with the Canadian Protein Engineering Center of Excellence (PENCE), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, he worked on the engineering of the first "Mannosynthase." A/Prof Nash is also the Program Director of the West African Biotechnology Workshops Series (WABWS), which has recently metamorphosed into the Center for Bioscience and Biotechnology Innovation (CBBI). He is a Planning Committee member and Africa Regional Director for the International Consortium on Anti-Virals (ICAV).

Prof Asala is a Professor of Anatomy (Neuroscience and Forensic Anthropology). With 38 years of University teaching, research and administrative experience in Nigeria, United Kingdom, Japan, Zimbabwe and South Africa, he was the Foundation Dean of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences and later Provost of the College of Health Sciences, University of Abuja. He was also the founding President of the Neuroscience Society of Nigeria, a subsidiary of the Society of Neuroscientists of Africa (SONA).

His research experience grew from the University of Sheffield where he obtained his PhD degree in Neuroanatomy in 1984 through the Institute for Medical and Dental Engineering, Tokyo Medical and Dental University where he undertook postdoctoral research in biocybernetics in 1988 to the Universities of Zimbabwe and the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where he was a major contributor to the establishment of the Forensic Anthropology Research Units. He was a member of the medical curriculum development committees at the University of Zimbabwe and the University of the Witwatersrand. As an Associate Professor, he was the Head of the Division of Morphological Anatomy at the University of the Witwatersrand up to 2001.

As Professor of Anatomy, he became the President and Fellow of the Anatomical Society of Nigeria and pioneered anatomy teaching and curriculum development in two Nigerian Universities. He was a member of the National Universities Commission expert committee that set the Minimum academic standard for medical education in Nigeria in 2004. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Anatomical Sciences and a member of the Medical Ethics Society of Nigeria. In 2012, he was presented with the prestigious Development in Nigeria Merit Award (DINMA) by People State Resource Magazine in recognition of his contribution to the training of medical and allied medical personnel in Nigeria.

As Provost, he provided significant support for the development of Sickle Cell research efforts and ultimate establishment of the Centre for Sickle Cell Disease Research and Training (CESRTA) in University of Abuja. He has been and still is a supervisor of Masters and Doctorate projects across several medical science disciplines.

Prof. Olufunmilayo is the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics, Dean for Global Health, and Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at the University of Chicago. Professor Olopade develops innovative strategies for comprehensive cancer risk assessment and prevention based on evolving understanding of genetic and nongenetic factors in individual patients, with a focus on women of African ancestry across the Diaspora.

He has received numerous honors and awards, including honorary degrees from North Central, Dominican, Bowdoin, and Princeton Universities; MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist and Exceptional Mentor Award; American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship; Officer of the Order of the Niger Award; and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom from Want Award. She is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians, National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and currently serves on the board of directors for Susan G. Komen, Cancer IQ, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and MacArthur Foundation.