We are very proud to announce that Dr Nusirat Elelu, 2017 AREF Research Development Fellow, has been selected as an Affiliate of The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) from 2021-2025.

This Affiliate membership is designed to support the professional growth of African early-to-mid career scientists to develop them into outstanding research leaders in their respective fields. Over the five-year programme, affiliates are provided with career enhancing experiences including career development support, mentorship, networking opportunities, as well as support for an enabling research environment in their home institutions.

Dr Elelu trained as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Ilorin and obtained her PhD in epidemiology from the University of Bristol (UK) in 2016. Dr Elelu completed an AREF Research Development Fellowship in 2018/19 at the University of East London (UK) with Professor Sally Cutler’s research team. Her project focused on establishing presence of Ornithodoros ticks in Nigeria and assessing their potential as causes of human disease. She used techniques like Whole Genome Sequencing and bioinformatic analysis to analyse tick extracts collected from Nigeria. She also attended grant writing training and attended a conference to catalyse a lasting collaboration between the Universities of Ilorin and East London.

She is currently an Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Ilorin and has supervised approximately 20 undergraduate and postgraduate students. She teaches veterinary public health and dedicates her research to infectious diseases, vector-borne zoonoses (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans) and One Health.

We asked Dr Elelu how her AREF Research Development Fellowship contributed to her career development:

“My AREF Research Development Fellowship sponsored my postdoctoral training at the University of East London, UK where I carried out cutting edge research that was published in top ranking peer reviewed journals. During my postdoctoral research, I got the opportunity to supervise my first PhD student and develop my supervision/mentoring skills. AREF also sponsored my participation in communication Masterclass in Uganda, to improve my communication skills. At the end of my AREF fellowship and upon my return to Nigeria, I was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. These achievements made significant contribution towards my successful application for AAS Affiliate program.”

We also asked what Dr Elelu hopes to achieve in the future as an AAS Affiliate:

“I hope to become a leading policy maker by engaging in formulating life-changing policies that would improve health care delivery in sub-Saharan Africa. This I hope to achieve through continued engagement with resource poor communities who are the beneficiaries of our research output as well as the academia who actually carry out the research. My engagement in both groups (community and academia), could lead to successful and sustainable implementation of health policies. It would also serve as a fantastic opportunity to accelerate my career trajectory towards becoming a researcher that would mentor upcoming researchers in Africa and globally.”

Read more about her AREF Fellowship research project.