Personality Profile – Dr. Emmanuel Tumininu Obishakin

Dr. Emmanuel Obishakin graduated as a Veterinarian from the Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria. In 2006, while working at the Biotechnology Division of the National Veterinary Research institute, Nigeria, the country recorded its first outbreak of Avian Influenza. A quest to accurately identify the outbreak strain and institute appropriate interventions furthered his interest in Molecular Biology. He obtained a MSc. in Molecular Biology from the Katholieke University, Leuven and PhD in Bioengineering at the Cellular and Molecular Immunology department (studying Trypanosome model) from Vrije University Brussel, both in Belgium. He is currently a Chief Veterinary Research Officer at the Biotechnology division of the National Veterinary Research institute in Nigeria.

Among a number of factors inimical to winning the combat against NTDs, he considers the lack of requisite knowledge about NTDs and their prevention methods among many health workers and patients to be quite central. Coupled with the remote location of many communities affected by NTDs, which makes it challenging for them to be reached, access to health care is not certain or assured. Consequently, these diseases spread without interventions. Dr. Obishakin therefore advocates for prioritizing urban and rural campaigns that focus on NTDs and their prevention strategies.

Dr. Obishakin believes the long running problem of insufficient funding for NTD research continues to be a major drawback to institutions like his in the fight against NTDs. He has thus lauded the efforts being made by a number of companies who donate materials to research laboratories to augment their work. With more of such partnerships and contributions, he is hopeful that NTD researchers can scale up their efforts to achieve significant impact in control and eradication programs.

Seizing an opportunity which was posted on the ARNTD website, he applied and was nominated to attend the ImmunoGambia training at the Medical Research Council in The Gambia in 2016. His stellar performance at the conference led to his appointment as one of the Immunopeadia Ambassadors. In this role, he is expected to help promote the knowledge and research in immunology worldwide. He hopes that such an initiative can evolve into organizing an Immunopedia Conference focused on NTDs.

In Dr. Obishakin’s view, the phenomenon of experts in scientific fields leaving their careers to pursue political ambitions or getting absorbed in administrative positions leaves many upcoming scientists with inadequate mentorship opportunities. It is against this background that he lauds the initiative of the ARNTD to institute the internal Small Grants Program, which has dedicated slots for mentees, to stimulate research and build capacity in Africa.

Emmanuel is married to Felicia Obishakin, a Virologist with the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria. They have two sons and a daughter. He loves to play the piano, drums and the saxophone.

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