By Demola Akinyemi, ilorin

President of Nigeria Bioinformatics and Genomics Network (NBGN), Dr Charles Adetunji, has tasked stakeholders in Nigeria to explore opportunities made available by genomic science and its related research in solving problems and challenges confronting Nigeria and the African continent.

The new president of NBGN said most challenges in different sectors and various field of endeavours in Nigeria and the whole of Africa which had led to underdevelopment and stagnation, could be unbundled if relevant stakeholders could support the body’s initiatives.

Adetunji spoke in his welcome address at the 3-day,2nd Conference of the Nigerian Bioinformatics and Genomics Network (NBGN) held at Landmark University in Omu-Aran, Irepodun local government area of Kwara state.

The theme of the conference is, ”Leveraging Bioinformatics and Genomics for the Attainment of Sustainable Development Goals”.

The NBGN president said that the phenomenal problems would be solved through,” collaborative efforts that must be geared towards bridging identified knowledge gaps, fostering research collaborations, providing and disseminating knowledge and opportunities within the field of genomics, bioinformatics and computational biology.”

The renowned Microbiologist lamented that though the potentials of Nigeria nation and Africa continent have remained untapped, “It is our solemn duty to ensure that we educate the bright minds of tomorrow. Key to delivery on this objectives, is not just growing our membership base, but also to connect our excellent researches all across Nigeria with other researchers in America,Europe and Asia”

Consequently, he promised that the body would swing into action towards achieving the set objectives of adding value to the society at large, stressing, “It is my desire to foster this network with many reputational research institutions across the globe and to bring Nigeria on the map of attention for foreigners”

Also, the immediate past President and founder of the fast-growing body, Dr Segun Fatumo, an Associate Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Bioinformatics at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, recalled that since the completion of the first human genome about 20 years ago, only a little had been done within Nigeria and African populations.

Fatumo who referred to the human genome as the language in which God created life, noted that many “Nigerians are only familiar with the use of DNA to identify the fatherhood. Our DNA can predict people who tend to develop diseases such as cancer, kidney diseases, and diabetes. The good thing about this is that early genomic prediction could aid appropriate intervention”.

Among distinguished personalities who graced the occasion include,Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq, the traditional ruler of Omu Aran, Oba AbdulRaheem Adeoti, Speaker,Kwara State House of Assembly, Commissioners for Tertiary Education and Health, professors, scientists and researchers from Nigeria, Uganda, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom, America and other parts of the world.

Keynote speakers include Professor Nicola Mulder, who heads the Computational Division at University of Cape Town, Dr Bentley Amy, a Senior Scientist with the Centre for Research on Genomics and Global Health (CRGGH) at the National Human Genomics Research Institute (NHGRI), USA, Dr Solomon Rotimi, an Associate Professor of Biochemistry at Covenant University, Nigeria and Dr Abasi Ene-Obong, the CEO and founder of 54gene – a leading biotech company based in Nigeria and America.

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