Speakers

Ikemefuna Uzochukwu
Nigeria

Prof. Ikemefuna Uzochukwu is a Principal Investigator of Drug Design & Informatics Group at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. He studied Pharmacy and later received his PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Nigeria in 2007. He was appointed Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in 2015. His current research interest is drug repurposing for Lassa fever infection and other emerging infectious diseases.

Birgit Strodel 
Germany

Prof. Birgit Strodel is head of the Computational Biochemistry Group at the Jülich Research Centre (D) and was appointed Professor at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (D) in 2011. She studied chemistry at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA), received her Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry from the University of Frankfurt/Main (D), and did postdoctoral studies at the University of Cambridge (UK). Her research interests primarily involve the development and application of molecular simulation techniques to understand the interactions of proteins as well as computational drug design.

Stefan Günther 
Germany

Prof. Stefan Günther studied Biology and Computer Science in Germany until 2005. He completed his PhD at the Free University of Berlin in the field of Computational Biology in 2008. He then accepted a postdoctoral research fellowship in the International Research Training Group, Berlin, focusing on genomics and systems biology of biomolecular networks. In 2009 he was appointed Junior-Professor in the field of Pharmaceutical Bioinformatics at the Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Freiburg, Germany, directing his research to the identification of new drugs in the emerging research field of epigenetics. In November 2015 he was appointed full Professor. Amongst others he is a member of the German Pharmaceutical Society (DphG) and the Central European Oncology Society for Anticancer Drug Research (CESAR).

Renu Batra-Safferling 
Germany

Prof. Renu Batra-Safferling is head of the Protein Biochemistry group at Research Centre Jülich (D) and apl. Professor at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (D). She studied Life Sciences and received her PhD in the area of Protein biochemistry from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi, India). She was postdoctoral researcher at Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg (D) and subsequently at Columbia University in New York (USA). Her research focuses on understanding the structure-function relationships of soluble and membrane proteins involved in signal transduction. Three-dimensional structure is determined using X-ray crystallography techniques and combined with functional and thermodynamic properties studied using transient and steady-state kinetics.

Bamigboye J. Taiwo
Nigeria

Dr B. J. Taiwo is a Senior Letucrer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria. He got the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 1997, followed by both the MSc and PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, from the Obafemi Awolowo University in 2004 and 2011, respectively. He is the Coordinator of the Drug Discovery Laboratory at the Faculty of Pharmacy, which has organized a series of national workshop on spectroscopy for synthetic and natural product chemists. He co-pioneered the "Drug Discovery Africa" initiative with Prof O.O. Olubiyi in 2017. He is currently investigating Nigerian-rich biodiversity. He is passionate to see African researchers  finding solutions to the health challenges on the continent. 

Fidele Ntie-Kang
Cameroon

Dr Fidele Ntie-Kang heads the Molecular Simulations Laboratory, Chemistry Department, University of Buea (Cameroon). He studied Chemistry at the University of Douala (Cameroon) from 1999 to 2004, leading to Bachelor's and Master's degrees. His Ph.D. was in computational drug design, followed by an Habilitation in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale) (Germany). In 2020/21 he was a Guest Professor at the Technical University, Dresden (Germany). He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Nelson-Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha (Tanzania). His current focus is the discovery of bioactive natural products from African flora by the use of virtual screening followed by in vitro assays, including the development of the African natural products database. He holds several awards, including the Georg Forster Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany).

Olujide O. Olubiyi
Nigeria

Prof. Olujide O. Olubiyi is Head of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry of the College of Pharmacy, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria. He is a pharmacist with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree obtained from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in Nigeria. He also received a Master in Drug Discovery from the London School of Pharmacy (University College London) in the United Kingdom. He would later receive his Ph. D. in the area of computational drug design from RWTH Aachen University, Germany and with research work conducted in the group of Prof Birgit Strodel at the Forschungszentrum. He has research interests in computational medicinal chemistry and in particular the use of computational methods for evolving therapeutic solutions from natural sources.

Chinedum Peace Babalola
Nigeria

Prof. Chinedum Peace Babalola is a Nigerian Professor of Pharmaceutical chemistry and Pharmacokinetics. She is the first female Professor of Pharmacy in the University of Ibadan. She obtained a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 1983, Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1987 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1997 from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University. She won the World Bank/NUC scholarship for staff training and completed her pre-doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia between 1994 and 1995. In 2012, Chinedum obtained a postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Pharmacy Advanced training (IPAT) jointly issued by Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy, Tanzania and Purdue University, USA. Prof. Babalola's research is focused on ethics of human research, pharmacogenetics, clinical trials, drug interaction PK/PD, and non-communicable disease (Sickle Cell Disease and Cancer). 

Mark Brönstrup
Germany

Prof. Mark Brönstrup studied Chemistry at the Philipps-Universität Marburg and at the Imperial College in London. In 1999 he received his doctorate from the Technical University Berlin in Organic Chemistry. After his graduation, he worked from 2000 to 2004 as a laboratory head for Mass Spectrometry at Aventis, complemented by a research sabbatical in 2003 at Harvard Medical School. From 2005 to 2010 he led the Natural Product Sciences section at Sanofi-Aventis in Frankfurt with the goal of discovering leads from natural sources and optimising them to clinical candidates. He dealt with translational research projects from 2010 to 2013 as a section head for Biomarkers & Diagnostics in the Diabetes Division, and a domain head for Biomarkers, Bioimaging & Biological Assays at Sanofi. Since December 2013, he heads the department Chemical Biology at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research; additionally, he holds a Professorship (W3) at the Leibniz Universität Hannover.

Regina Appiah-Opong
Ghana

Prof. Appiah Opong is devoted to biomedical research. She is a Toxicologist at the Clinical Pathology Department at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, and is a Research fellow and Head of the Department. Her PhD studies were focused on pharmacokinetic drug interactions, expressing drug metabolizing enzymes and determining the effects of drug candidates on them. In 2001, she undertook further training in molecular biology techniques at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases (NIID) Tokyo, Japan and during this time contributed significantly to the construction of a DNA cassette vector that was useful for drug susceptibility testing of anti-HIV drugs. Regina Appiah Opong is also a part-time lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Ghana. She has been involved in projects in the area of drug development, evaluating the efficacy and safety of drugs and medicinal plants and environmental contaminants, particularly heavy metals and aflatoxins.

Fanie Van Heerden
South Africa

Prof. Van Heerden’s research field is Natural Product Chemistry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her research interest is the phytochemical investigation of important South African medicinal plants and the screening of plant extracts and isolated compounds for biological activity. She also has an interest in indigenous knowledge on the use of plants and ethnopharmacology. In her research, she places special emphasis on activities related to diseases of importance in South Africa (malaria, tuberculosis and diabetes) and the development of synthetic methodology for the preparation of biologically active compounds isolated from the South African plants and analogues thereof. She holds a DSI-NRF South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Chemistry of Indigenous Medicinal Plants

Tiwalade Olugbade
Nigeria

Prof. Tiwalade Olugbade studied pharmacy at Obafemi Awolowo University. He graduated in 1974 and served as a Pharmacist on internship in the head institutions of Lagos State Ministry of Health before proceeding to NYSC to serve in Bida General Hospital. He served as a Pharmacist in the inspectorate unit of the federal Ministry of Health, Lagos for one year before settling down at Ife for an academic career. He obtained Msc and PhD at Ile Ife and Manchester respectively and rose to the rank of a Professor in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife  in 1997.  He won a number of academic fellowship awards to foster his career and he served the university in several capacities including service as the Director of Central Science Laboratory for 4 years and leading partnership projects including the establishments of a Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Laboratory located at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile Ife. His academic interest are NMR spectroscopy, Natural Project research and pharmaceutical Analysis.