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Dr. Ikoni Ogaji of Nigeria has touched the lives of thousands through his research to make medicine more affordable and accessible throughout Africa.
A pastor and prominent professor of pharmacology at the University of Jos, he found himself threatened by the activities of Boko Haram, a militant group responsible for the deaths of thousands of Nigerians. With his IIE-SRF fellowship, he continued his research in safety at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya.
While at Kenyatta, he initiated a post-graduate program in the Pharmaceutics Unit of the Department of Pharmacy and Complementary/Alternative Medicine. His legacy there lives on as a student he continued to supervise after his return home prepares to become the program’s first graduate.
“The IIE-SRF fellowship brought relief to both my family and myself from the trauma and tension of the crisis that engulfed our city in 2010 and 2011. We had respite and were able to put our lives together again. I learned new ways of doing things in a new cultural setting and deepened my understanding and appreciation of Kenya and Kenyans. This period also provided me with a platform for exchange of professional ideas and collaborations,” he says.
Upon his return to Jos after his year in Kenya, he was promoted from his prior position as a senior lecturer to the Head of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology. His work in pharmacy is a boon to the world. He is currently focusing on researching grewia gum as a local and natural alternative to synthetic and more expensive inert agents in medications that keep them stable for long term preservation. He hopes that the use of grewia gum will make medications more cost-effective, putting them within reach of those who need them across the developing world.
Dr. Ogaji now has multiple connections to the Institute of International Education, as he is also a Fulbright alumnus. With over 20 peer-reviewed articles that offer new ideas for the delivery of medications to the body, he has established himself as a leading authority on drug production and expanding access to safe and affordable medicine in Nigeria and beyond. In addition to his research, he continues to teach courses in pharmaceutics at the University of Jos. With over four hundred undergraduate and twelve postgraduate students each semester, Dr. Ogaji influences the next generation of pharmaceutical researchers.