*As nine others grabÂ Nigeria Prize for Literature
By Akoma Chinweoke
PROFESSOR Andrew Jonathan Nok has won this yearâ€™s edition of the Nigeria LNG Limited sponsored Prize for Science from the list of 26 applications, for his seminal work in discovering the gene responsible for the creation of sialidase (SD), an enzyme which causes sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis). His work will form the baseline for developing DNA based vaccines against trypanosoma.
The Committee for The Nigeria Prize for Science, in awarding the prize to Nok, noted that his submission â€œhas the potential of leading to the development of a scientifically elegant and sophisticated solution to a predominantly African problem.â€
In 2006, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that some sixty million people who live mainly in rural parts of East, West and Central Africa are at risk of contracting sleeping sickness. Nok will be honoured at the Nigeria LNG Limitedâ€™s Grand Award Night, October 10, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
A Fellow of The Nigerian Academy of Science, Nok, whose effort outclassed 25 other entries in wide-ranging fields such as engineering, agriculture, biology and chemistry, is a professor of biochemistry and dean of the Faculty Science at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and has supervised over 35 post-graduate theses.
A scientist with over 80 research publications in national and international journals, Nok has won a number of international research grants and is the first African to win a grant from the Japan-based Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience for which he received Â¥3,000,000 (three million yen) in 2004.