Face of Nigerian genius, Abdulrazak Ibrahim who invented insect control technology in Brazil

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Dr Ibrahim Abdulrazak.
Dr Ibrahim Abdulrazak.

Dr Ibrahim Abdulrazak is the inventor and patent holder of an insect control technology for the control of whitefly in tropical crops using RNA interference, with patent deposited at the Brazilian Industrial Property Organization.

He co-led a Research Project, under the Africa-Brazil program that led to the establishment of the first bio ballistic facility in Northern Nigeria, 2012-2014.

Abdulrazak Ibrahim is a very versatile, multi-functional and multilingual scientist, who is passionate about science, genetics, food security and new emerging technologies such as CRISPR.

He grew up in Kura, Kano State Nigeria and attended Central Primary School Kura before moving to Arabic Junior Secondary School Kura.

Abdulrazak got exposed to science in his junior secondary school days in Kura when he joined the Science Club, having learnt basic science in JSS1.

Reading through books on integrated science, Ibrahim got inspired to understand the natural processes related to so many things he observed like germination of the wheat seed; why monkeys looked like humans; how vehicles moved and so on.

Ibrahim was also deeply fascinated by the literary works of Charles Dickens, whose great expectation and tale of cities greatly influenced his formative years in understanding the significance of words in explaining the natural world.

By the time he started to study biochemistry, he was able to make the connection between literature and the language of life (DNA).

After Ibrahim’s secondary school education in Science Secondary School Kafin Hausa, he pursued a degree in Biochemistry in Bayero University Kano (BUK), from where he graduated with a second-class honours degree (2:1), as the best graduating student in the year 1999.

During his National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), he served as a Chemistry teacher in a public school in Abia State, Nigeria.

In 2002, he started working as the pioneer staff of the Jigawa Research Institute. While working there as a research officer, he was sent for a short training in Plant Tissue Culture and Genetic Transformation, which he received in the laboratory of Professor Francisco Campos, of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil.

The training afforded him with the opportunity to, not only learn some basic techniques of plant biotechnology but also learn the Portuguese language.

With encouragement from Professor Campos and following an examination, he was awarded a 24-month Brazilian fellowship for M.Sc. Biochemistry from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil.

He returned back to Nigeria in 2007 and took up an appointment as a lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria but later went back to Brazil, where he developed his PhD thesis at Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology’s Lab of Genetic Engineering Applied to Tropical Agriculture, with the researcher, Francisco Aragão as an advisor.

The work resulted in a new methodology to produce insect pest-resistant plants based on RNA interference technology whose patent request was filed in 2016.

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