Center Title and Acronym: African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID)

 

Host University and Country: Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria

Center Website Address: www.acegid.org

Center Director and email address: Prof. Christian Happi; happic@run.edu.ng

 

Primary Thematic Discipline of Center: Infectious Diseases (Malaria, Lassa and Ebola)

 

 

Brief Description of Center: The African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) is located at Redeemer’s University Ede, Nigeria and it is a World Bank funded collaborative research center. The partners are West African academic and medical institutions (Redeemer’s University, University of Ibadan, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, University of Sierra Leone, Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone and Universite Cheik Anta-Diop de Dakar). ACEGID has a mandate to build capacity in the field of genomics in young African Scientists and use identify and characterize pathogens of unknown origin using microbial metagenomics. Ultimately the project aims to translate the research outcome to products that can be deployed to the field in order to contribute to the control, manage and eliminate infectious diseases in the continent.

 

 

Key Objectives and Expected Outcomes:

Overarching Goal: Create a vibrant academic and research environment that is free of outside influences, and that transcends national boundaries and ensures the conduct of relevant, responsive, ethical and high quality translational genomics-based research on health in Africa.

Specific Aims

  • Develop African research capacity in genomics by building a critical mass of well-trained scientists;
  • Empower African researchers to utilize genomics-based tools towards the control and elimination of infectious diseases;
  • Create genomics curricula to support and promote cutting-edge genomics-based research; and
  • Engage communities in prevention efforts and public health education.
  • Use field-deployed and state-of-the-art genomic technology to identify pathogens driving febrile illness.
  • Create a foundation for African scientists to carry out tractable and important genetic research projects entirely in country.

 

Major Accomplishments to Date:

  • Accurate diagnosis of the first case of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the 2014 EVD outbreak
  • Sequenced approximately 250 Ebola virus genomes and made available in the databank
  • Provided tools and training for disease diagnosis, sequencing and bioinformatics
  • Developed the capacity and provide facilities to study a BL4 pathogen in rural field settings (Nigeria and Sierra Leone)
  • Developed Ebola virus rapid diagnostics test (RDT) for rapid diagnosis of the disease in 10mins
  • Developed and a new pan – Lassa fever rapid diagnostics test kit for diagnosis of the disease in 10mins.
  • Discovered 2 novel highly divergent rhabdovirus Ekpoma, Nigeria
  • Used clinical sequencing to uncover the origin and evolution of Lassa virus
  • Discovered neutralizing monoclonal antibodies that target epitopes on Lassa virus glycoproteins giving potential for immunotherapeutics in Lassa fever.
  • Participated in the 100 genome project for the development of global reference for human genetic variation
  • Received the 1st prize in the life sciences and Medicine category at the 6th Nigerian Universities Research and Development fair.
  • Trained approximately 500 young African scientists in the field of Genomics and Bioinformatics between 2014 till date.

 

 

Primary Regional and Global Partners:

Regional Partners

  • University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Nigeria
  • Universite Cheik Anta-Diop, Dakar, Senegal
  • University of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone
  • Kenema Government Hospital, Sierra Leone

Global Partners

  • Harvard University, USA
  • Broad Institute, USA
  • Tulane University, USA
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium
  • Illumina
  • Corgenix
  • Dimagi
  • Stanford University
  • US Department of Defense (WRAIR, MHRP)
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • University of Edinburgh, UK

 

Senior Faculty Email Address Research Area
Prof. Christian Happi happic@run.edu.ng Molecular Biology and Genomics
Prof Oyewale Tomori oyewaletomori@gmail.com Virology
Prof I.O.O Komolafe komolafei@run.edu.ng Virology
Dr. Onikepe Folarin folarino@run.edu.ng Molecular Biology and Genomics
Prof. Pardis Sabeti pardis@broadinstitute.org Evolutionary Biology
Dr. Nathan Yozwiak nyozwiak@broadinstitute.org Genomics
Dr. Danny Park dpark@broadinstitute.org Bioinformatics
Prof. Daouda Ndiaye daouda.ndiaye@ucad.edu.sn Parasitology and Mycology
Prof. Robert Garry rfgarry@tulane.edu Immunology & Virology
Prof Sylvanus Okogbenin cmd@isth.com.ng Medical Consultant
Prof. Peter Okokhere okokherep@gmail.com Medical Consultant
Dr. Matt Boisen mboisen@zalgenlabs.com Immunology
Dr. Donald Grant donkumfel@yahoo.co.uk Virology