Dr Oju Richard Ibor



Dr Oju Richard Ibor, University of Calabar, Nigeria
Host Institution: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Trondheim, Norway

Understanding the roles of environmental contaminants in obesity development will increase scientific knowledge of the current global epidemic and reduce the perceived and actual risks to human health

Vulnerability of metabolic and energy homeostasis to environmental contaminants: Comparative animal model approaches in Oreochromis niloticus and Rattus norvegicus

Dr Ibor is an ecological physiologist. For his PhD he developed molecular, cellular and physiological biomarkers for evaluating the presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals in tropical species and their habitats. This study provided integrated approach in characterizing the prevalence and severity of endocrine disruption, and contributed significantly in the establishment of biomarker responses, environmental and human risk assessment protocols and valuable scientific basis for sustainable environmental management and human health risks in many developing countries, including Nigeria.

Recently, the alarming increase in the prevalence of obesity among world populations, particularly in children under the age of 5 years, has resulted to global epidemic with associated health problems. In African and Asia regions, this epidemic cannot be fully explained by genetic factors and nutrition, alone. Thus, studies on animal models have produced an increasing amount of evidence suggesting that continued exposure to contaminants with endocrine-disrupting potentials significantly contribute to the increased prevalence of obesity. It was therefore, against this background, that the environmental obesogenic hypothesis was recently proposed to explain the involvement of xenobiotic chemicals that can disrupt normal physiology, metabolism, homeostatic control over adipogenesis and energy balance. I intend to develop an integrated understanding of the molecular, cellular and species-specific obsesogenic responses to environmental contaminants through computational modelling of compounds characteristics that affects obesogenic responses and their validation through in vitro and in vivo empirical studies.

My placement with Prof. Augustine Arukwe at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway will provide me with new skills in molecular, cellular, analytic methodologies and statistics including computational modelling which are key tools in the genomics that will close some gaps in our current research portfolio and enhance transferable skills. The new skills and data from the AREF Fellowship will be used to strengthen the design of my intended project towards unveiling the environmental obesogen phenomenon, from a tropical ecosystem standpoint.

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