Employing institution: University of Lagos (Nigeria) 

Host institution: University of Leeds (UK) 

Project title: Using whole-genome sequencing to unravel antibiotic resistance determinants associated with therapeutic failure against Staphylococcal infections in Nigeria.

Dr Olalekan has a PhD in Medical Microbiology and is currently a Lecturer and researcher at the Department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Her research interests include using bioinformatic tools to study the entire genomes of 'ESKAPE' bacteria (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species) including their antimicrobial resistance genes and their evolution. She is also interested in the ‘One Health’ approach to mitigating antimicrobial resistance.

AREF Fellowship Research Project:

The global threat and burden of multi-drug resistant pathogens is limitless as these bacteria are resistant to almost all classes of antibiotics, making treatment options difficult. This threat is driven by the human host, animal, the environment, and human activities.

To date the presence of these pathogens has not been studied in a ‘One Health’ context in Nigeria, and information on their genetic relatedness, mechanism of transmission of antimicrobial resistance genes and frequency of silencing of antibiotic resistance by mutation (SARM) is not known.

Whole-genome sequencing analysis using bioinformatics tools will help us to understand the spread, source of infection, and reservoir of these pathogens transmission in Nigeria providing information for effective mitigation strategies.

Dr Olalekan’s placement is at the University of Leeds in the laboratory of Professor Alex O’Neill and collaborators’. She aims to gain knowledge to identify antibiotic resistance toxin and virulence genes, determine Sequence Types, frequency of silencing of antibiotic resistance by mutation (SARM) and perform core genome phylogeny analysis of the strains with sequence data from other countries. On her return, her home institution will support liaison with the existing genomics laboratory and Nigeria Centre for Disease control.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”