UI DVC, Adeyemo Wins Scientist of the Year 2020 Award

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Bennett Oghifo

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships), University of Ibadan, Professor Olanike K. Adeyemo, has won the Scientist of the Year 2020 Award of the International Achievements Research Center (IARC).

Prof. Adeyemo’s award, according to the IARC, is in the Natural Sciences/Earth and related Environmental Sciences competition category.

The IARC, located in Chicago, IL, USA, is an international organisation empowering talented professionals in science, education, industry, business and technology to achieve new possibilities. IARC stated on its website that it has international programmes and partnerships that provide connections, resources, opportunities and a supportive environment of capable scientists, researchers, engineers, technologists, businessmen and entrepreneurs.

Adeyemo joins another Nigerian, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), who was among nine scientists that won the 2019 award.

In 2019, Akinwumi, whose research interest was the development of pro-poor agricultural policies, markets and institutions, reduction of rural poverty, management of large research and development operations, received the Sunhak Peace Prize for his achievements in promoting food security in Africa through agricultural innovation.

The biennial award honours individuals and organisations who have made a significant contribution to world peace for future generations.

According to IARC, on account of Prof. Adeyemo’s scholarship and leadership in transdisciplinary research, a new conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and translational innovation at the Environmental, Animal, Wildlife and Human health interface have been created.
Dr. Adeyemo’s research provides credible transdisciplinary research-backed evidence on the complex linkage between Environmental, Animal and Human Health (One Health), including data on environmental pollution, food safety /anti-microbial resistance, and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (global public health) with significant policy implication for the African Continent. Within a continually shrinking world (for example, manner of worldwide spread of Ebola and COVID-19), understanding of the epidemiology of diseases at the environment-wildlife-human interface is very beneficial to global public health and security.

Adeyemo has been using her well-established transdisciplinary collaborative approach in addressing the ecological basis of emerging zoonotic diseases, investigating the interrelated factors of land and water use change, natural resource management (including wildlife conservation and livestock production), and human population behavior that may alter the emergence and spread of zoonotic disease agents, the Centre said.

Prof. Adeyemo’s research findings have linked ecotoxicology to epidemiology of diseases in fish, wildlife and established human health risk associated with zoonotic infectious diseases. Her study on Buruli Ulcer (Mycobacterium Ulcers Disease) directly models the interconnectedness of Environmental, Animal, Wildlife and Human health with the most important finding being establishment of genetic relatedness of environment and human sample isolates.

According to reports, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka said, “The impressive accomplishments she has been demonstrating over the years along with her commitment to excellence, as well as the scientific value and impact of her works on the modern world and human being, contributed in no small measures towards this recognition.”

Dr. Adeyemo received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and postgraduate trainings (MVPH and Ph.D.) at the University of Ibadan, and was employed as Lecturer Grade II in the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. She rose rapidly through the ranks to the grade of Full Professorial Chair in 2011. Within the University Dr. Adeyemo has served on 25 Boards and Committees, to date. Most significantly, as sub-Dean (Postgraduate), 2009-2013, Chairman, UI Research & Development Fair (2016-2019), Head of Department (2016-2017) and Pioneer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships), 2017-date. Outside of the University, she has been serving regionally and internationally, for example, as a Reviewer to 22 internationally recognised learned journals (2003 to date); Executive Member of the Global Young Academy (2013); member, African Academy of Sciences’ Commission on Women in Science in Africa (2014-date); member, Mauritius Declaration on Ocean Sciences (2016); member, Nigeria Academy of Science Committee on Science Advice in Africa (2019); member, Expert Group of the High-Level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy (2019); member, TWAS Independent Expert Committee (IEC) in Earth, Astronomy And Space Sciences (2019).

Dr. Adeyemo has 110 publications including chapters in books, journal articles, conference proceedings, technical reports and monographs; supervised 28 DVM, 22 postgraduate students (MVPH and PhD), and currently supervising 12 postgraduate Students. She has obtained funding /awards towards research and professional development from several organizations, including MASHAV, Israel (2005); START/PACOM, USA (2006); USDA/USAID, USA (2006); USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service, USA (2008); NUFFIC Fellowship Program Grant, Netherlands (2009); IFS, Sweden (2010-2012) and Schlumberger Foundation, USA (2013-2015); USAID (2019-2022).

Prof. Adeyemo was appointed to the roster of toxicological and epidemiological experts of the Joint FAO/WHO Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) in 2011-2015, and renewed for 2016-2020. She is a member of 10 Academic Societies, Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Fisheries Society of Nigeria, Society of Toxicology, World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association, Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, West African Research and Innovation Management Association, Network of Tropical Aquaculture and Fisheries Professionals, Wildlife Disease Association, Iowa, U.S.A, Association for Women’s Right in Development (AWID), Ontario, Canada, Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management and International Society for Environmental Information Sciences (ISEIS), Saskatchewan, Canada. She is an elected Fellow of Academies of Science(s), including Nigerian Academy of Science, African Academy of Sciences, The World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in the Developing World, African Scientific Institute (California, USA), Eisenhower Fellowship Programme and Leadership for Environment and Development, UK. Among other media publication, she was featured in “Women in Science – Inspiring Stories from Africa”, a publication of Network of African Science Academies (NASAC), which profiled thirty women from eighteen countries across Africa, who have excelled in various STEM careers. Prof. Adeyemo was also listed in African Scientific Institute’s publication titled “Black Achievers in Science and Technology.”

She is a member of 10 Academic Societies, and is an elected Fellow of Academies of Science(s), including Nigerian Academy of Science, African Academy of Sciences, The World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in the Developing World, African Scientific Institute (California, USA), Eisenhower Fellowship Programme and Leadership for Environment and Development, UK.

She is married to Abiodun, a pharmacist, and they have three boys and a girl.

Other recipients of the Scientist of the Year 2020 Award, along with Prof. Adeyemo, are: Mouhamadou Bassir Diop, Professor of Materials Science with research interest in Geopolymer at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal.

Alsácia Atanásio Nhacumbe, who has Ph.D. in Veterinary Science, Post-Doct Biotechnology in Veterinary Parasitology, Biotechnology, Molecular Biology with research interest in Epidemiology of parasites/parasitic infections of ruminants, particularly goats (Gastrointestinal Nematodes, Haemoparasites, Genotyping of F167Y and F200Y SNPs in Haemonchus contortus. She is Director of the Biotechnology and Biosciences National Centre (CNBB), Ministry of Science and Technology, Higher and Technical Vocational Education (MCTESTP) in Mozambique.

Also on the role of honour in 2020 is Prof. Ibrahim Jusufranic, an Economic Scientist in the field of Economy with research interest in Modern trends in traffic and transportation, ecology, innovative technologies, transition challenges in economy, tourism, environment, public transportation, risk management, sustainable development. He is the Rector/Chancellor at the International University Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Last but not the least is Prof. Vagif Rakhmanov, a Medical Scientist in Medical and Social Psychology (both adults and children), Psychotherapy, Psychophysiology, Otolaryngology, Psychoaudiology, Hearing Rehabilitation. His research interest is in non-pharmacological psycho-medical and social rehabilitation of patients with organic and functional disabilities (both adults and children and their families). He is involved in the development of new methods of psycho-medical and social rehabilitation for patients with organic and functional disabilities and their families. He is Director, Scientific Research Institute of Child and Family Therapy, Psychology, Medical Rehabilitation in Ukraine.