sKan Wins 2017 International James Dyson Award

The Skin Cancer-Detecting Device (sKan), a low cost, non-invasive and handheld device has won the 2017 international James Dyson Award.

Invented by a team of four (a Nigerian and 3 Canadian) bioengineering undergraduates from Ontario’s McMaster University; Rotimi Fadiya, Michael Takla, Prateek Mathur and Shivad Bhavsar, the sKan is made from widely available and inexpensive components and can possibly make detection of the disease more accessible.

According to the World Health Organization, one in every three worldwide diagnosed cancer cases is a skin cancer.

James Dyson, founder of the Dyson company said the sKan received the award because it is “a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world“. Since 2002, the James Dyson Award has been open to university or recent design graduates across the world and celebrates significant, practical and commercially viable designs.

To develop the device, the four graduates were awarded C$50,000 ($40,000; £30,000).  The device uses temperature sensors to help in the early detection of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer because cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal tissue cells. Cancerous tissue usually warms at a faster rate than non-cancerous tissue when the tissue skin is cooled.

The team plans to use the funds to build a new prototype that can be used in pre-clinical testing. Their ultimate goal is to select patients who should be sent for a biopsy because early detection is key for the treatment of melanoma.

Cornelius Adewale Wins 2017 Bullitt Foundation Environmental Prize

Cornelius Adewale has won the 2017 Bullitt Foundation Environmental Prize for his leadership role in developing an app and web tool that can measure a farm’s carbon footprint and help farmers reduce the impact of that footprint.

The 34-year-old Nigerian, who graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University, is currently studying at the Washington State University, Pullman, where he is planning a phone app to help farmers grow more crops.

In 2011, Mr. Cornelius Adewale moved to Pullman with $6,000 in his pocket ― money he’d earned from the vegetable harvest at his farm in southwest Nigeria. Six years later, Adewale is a PhD candidate at WSU and a member of the board of directors of Washington’s Tilth Alliance.

Cornelius Adewale as winner of the 2017 Bullitt Foundation Environmental Prize is entitled to a $100,000.

Adewale plans to use the money to build a phone app that will help Nigerian farmers grow more crops, using fewer resources, with a lighter touch on the planet.

The app will be a portal to research and information about organic farming specific to Nigeria’s climate. And farmers will be able to measure the quantity of organic matter in their soil just by taking a picture of it, using their phones.

According to Denis Hayes, president and Chief Executive Officer of the Bullitt Foundation:

“Cornelius just had a magnetism and energy and charm that made him irresistible.

He came with rave recommendations from his professors, who believe he can be a transformational force in agriculture.”

For the past two years, Adewale has been working with a team of students at WSU to create a web-based tool that helps Washington farmers measure their carbon footprint, and gives them ideas for how they can reduce that footprint by adjusting the way they farm.

According to Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, an associate professor in WSU’s department of crop and soil sciences:

“The thing that is really unique and wonderful about Cornelius is his humility ― he really relates to everyone as individuals. He’s there to help, but in a way that’s about empowering the individuals, not telling people what to do … he truly is a natural leader.”

Cornelius Adewale found WSU’s organic agriculture major ― the first such major ever offered at a US university ― in an online search. He used the $6,000 from his harvest to launch his master’s degree.

When he got to Pullman and saw WSU’s organic farm, he burst out laughing. It was only 2 1/2 acres ― about half the size of his own farm in Nigeria. (WSU’s organic farm is now 30 acres.)

Still, he believed he’d come to the right place. Before his money ran out, he secured a research position at WSU to help fund his master’s degree and, later, his PhD.

Adewale thinks Nigerian farmers need more information about ways to use organic methods to build up their soil, making their farms more fertile and productive, without using chemicals.

In Washington, part of his graduate studies included helping develop the free web tool called Ofoot that Adewale wants to use as the base for his mobile phone app in Nigeria.

Nachamada Geoffrey Wins Land Rover Tusk Award [2017]

Nachamada Geoffrey, has won the Land Rover Tusk Award for Conservation in South Africa.

Nachamada Geoffrey is responsible for anti-poaching activities in the game reserve and is always on patrol to ensure effective supervision. It is in recognition of this that Land Rover has chosen him for the award, which comprises a silver ware and cash prize of 20,000 Euros.

Nachamada Geoffrey is a Nigerian conservationist with the Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi State. He has a B.Sc in Natural and Environmental Science from the American University of Nigeria. He is a recipient of many other conservation related awards, including Primate Habitat Country Scholarship at Oxford Brookes University in the UK where he completed an M.Sc in Primate Conservation and Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP).

Covenant University Receives Global Health Bioinformatics Research Training Award [2017]

Covenant University emerge one of the awardees of the new Global Health Bioinformatics Research Training Program granted by Fogarty and the NIH Common Fund.

A component of the most recent round of NIH funding to support the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) Initiative, the awards will provide five years of support totaling up to $5 million for interdisciplinary training for bioinformatics scientists at a network of research sites across Africa. The training will help develop skills to lead integrative teams to solve significant global health problems in Africa that are important to Africans.

The H3Africa Initiative – a partnership between the Alliance for Accelerating Science in Africa (AESA) with support from Wellcome Trust, the African Society of Human Genetics, and the NIH – fosters genomic and epidemiological research in African scientific institutions. The Initiative provides opportunities for African scientists to lead research on genetic and environmental contributors to local health and disease issues. By training advanced bioinformatics and data science researchers on the continent, the Initiative will leverage genomics and other cutting-edge approaches.

Global Health Bioinformatics Research Training Awards

Dr. Isioma Okobah Receives 2017 Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physician Award

Dr. Mrs. Isioma Okobah, has received the 2017 prestigious fellow of the American Academy of Family Physician award. The award was conferred on Okobah at the 2017 convocation ceremony of the academy in Grand Hyatt, River Walk, San Antonio Texas, United States.

The award is the highest honour ever bestowed on practicing physician in the United States of America that had distinguished themselves among their colleagues and in their community by their contribution towards the development of family medicine.

Communities have benefited from her yearly free medical care, including Igbodo, where she single-handedly built a community hospital, Ute-Ogbeje, Owere-Olubor, Akumazi, Umunede, Ewuru, Alisimie, Abavo, Asaba, Ibusa, Orhoakpor, Owa Alero and Ezi. Dr. Isioma Okobah had also provided free medical equipment to government hospitals, private clinics and public health centres across Delta State.

The awardee, Dr. Mrs.Isioma Okobah, is an associate professor of the School of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine and Moore House School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, United States.