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Posted: Mar 06, 2011

Nigeria universities to get nanomedicine center

(Nanowerk News) The National Universities Commission (NUC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Institute for Lasers, Photonics, and Biophotonics (ILPB), United States of America for the development of an international joint research centre for nanomedicine in some Nigerian universities.
According to details of the MOU, the first phase of the initiative is to implement the program at NUC-selected universities while the second phase will bring Nigerian researchers to train at ILPB and equipment distributed to Nigerian universities. The MOU postulates that by this time, there should be "global impact of research with widespread implementation of quantum dots and other nanoparticles in the fields of medical diagnosis and treatment." The third stage, meant to take place five to 10 years from now, will be defined by major research focuses, sufficient funding, and effective personnel training and the centre is expected to become a first-class research center not only in Nigeria, but in the world.
The NUC appointed Paras Prasad, a professor of chemistry and medicine with the University of Buffalo (UB) and the executive director of the ILPB, as the head of the joint research center.
"The two major application areas are alternate energy and health care. We are applying this merge of photonics, of light wave energy, for application in the area of medicine called nanomedicine. The other, alternative energy focuses primarily on solar energy harvesting," he said.
Beneficial science
Folarin Erogbogbo, leader of the Nigerian group and research assistant professor in cancer nanotechnology, explained that the primary focus in Nigeria will be on nanomedicine, which could be applied to disease diagnosis, treatment, and delivery.
"Over here [at UB], we've done some work that could be beneficial for the early detection of cancer. However nanomedicine doesn't end there," Mr. Erogbogbo said. "It could be used in other areas like malaria and AIDS research and so on; obesity issues, as well." Mr. Erogbogbo, one of the primary promoters of this collaboration, identified Prasad's propensity to work with international researchers and noticed that UB did not have a strong academic presence in Africa. "The joint research institution would incite a lot of change in Nigeria... we're bringing cutting edge technology to Nigeria," Mr. Erogbogbo boasted.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora, was present to witness the signing of the MOU.
"We look forward to partnering with a world leader like UB that can help us develop our scientific infrastructure. This is a bold step that will go a long way toward the NUC's vision for creating opportunities in frontier areas of research and technology," she said.
Source: Next Communications (Ayo Okulaja)
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