BioRTC Wins Grant to Establish Bio-imaging Network in W/Africa
The Biomedical Science Research and Training Centre, BioRTC, a research training institute at the Yobe State University, in Nigeria, has been awarded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative grant for expanding global access to bioimaging.
With the grant, BioRTC, in collaboration with TReND in Africa, West Africa Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP- University of Ghana) and Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia, is saddled with the responsibility of establishing a self-sustained and accessible bio-imaging hub in Nigeria.
This is to serve as a central resource in facilitating life sciences teaching and research across West Africa.
BioRTC application, it was learnt, was one of the few selected worldwide for the ‘Global Access to Imaging Grant’.
The bio-imaging hub will provide access and training on fluorescence imaging equipment for African scientists.
The network will hold hands-on training courses on how to build an open hardware fluorescence microscope, while also organizing conferences, seminars and outreach events, with support from the African Bio-imaging Consortium.
According to Dr. Mahmoud Bukar Maina, BioRTC founder, access to cutting-edge research equipment is critical for scientific progress.
Bukar Maina, who is the grant’s principal investigator, however said there is a drastic lack of bio-imaging expertise and equipment in Africa.
He maintained that widespread access to imaging equipment has the potential of changing the African bioscience research landscape, since imaging can be used to answer questions related to genetics, cellular and molecular biology.
Dr. Maina, further explained that the project will train the next generation of African bioimaging scientists working on diverse diseases and animal models unique to Africa to contribute to discoveries in biomedicine.
Dr. Mohammed Musa Lawan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Services at the Yobe State University, said the management of their University had put in tremendous efforts that saw to the launching of BioRTC in August this year, with the support of the Yobe State Government.
“Thus, we are extremely delighted that the centre has already attracted this prestigious grant that will lead in the training of the next generation of African scientists in bio-imaging.
“The entire University community is looking forward to the intellectual engagements and innovations that this opportunity brings to help in addressing local and global bioscience problems,” said Dr. Lawan, who is also a founding member of BioRTC.