Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, in keeping with its philosophy and objectives, is committed to seeking ways of improving the agricultural practices of the farmer and enhancing production through research, development and adaptation of technology. Specifically, one of the objectives is “to contribute to the scientific transformation of agriculture in Nigeria” and in-fact, all Africa, in order to ensure a sustainable agricultural development. Thus the Centre for Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology was established in 1997 with the following objectives:
- To integrate biotechnology techniques into agricultural development in Africa. This entails the identification of available technologies and the transfer from advanced laboratories to Nigeria and Africa.
- To identify technologies which can easily be adapted into agricultural programmes in Nigeria.
- To enhance capacity building in biotechnology and the conservation of genetic resources.
- To map out programmes and an action plan which can be easily adapted by government towards the integration of biotechnology in Nigerian agriculture as well as in conservation of bio-resources.
The Centre intends to achieve these aims through the organization of training courses, conferences, and seminars for capacity building. The infrastructural development of the Centre is in progress and once completed, research programmes will be initiated. The action plan being formulated, concentrates on low-level low-demanding technologies e.g. plant tissue culture, biological nitrogen fixation, disease detection and super ovulation in livestock on a short-term basis while higher level technologies e.g. gene-transfers, enzymology are being considered on the long term.
To become a centre of excellence with international reach in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology Research providing core laboratory services and Biotechnological Education at all levels.
(i) State of the art facilities and services for trans-disciplinary research in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology for the benefit of the community.
(ii) A platform for world class scientists to interact in their quest for innovative solutions to present and future challenges in agriculture, health, industry and the environment.
- To be a centre of excellence in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology research in Africa.
- To provide core services that will avail researchers in Biotechnology and Molecular Biosciences with high standards through-put analytical services.
- To establish strong research collaboration with sister institutions around the world that will encourage exchange of ideas between scientists and collaborating institutions.
- To collaborate with other organs of the University in applying the fruits of biotechnology research to the solution of problems of the development and human wellbeing.
OPERATION OF THE CENTRE:
The Centre is designed to serve as a medium where scientists working in the life sciences can find the kind of collaboration that can engender multidisciplinary approach as to research questions that can lead to scientific breakthroughs and innovation. Researchers in this Centre are drawn from the parent Departments involved in various life sciences, Agricultural Engineering, and related fields within MOUAU and its collaborating institutions.
The CMBB is designed to serve as a fusion of intellectual strength and demonstrable practical skills that provide a platform for training and research in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology as well as Consultancy/Analytical services to researchers within and outside MOUAU. This will conceivably provide the scientific community with practical solutions to complex problems.
The laboratories and services within the CMBB are housed in one building even though scientists are drawn from and resident in different colleges and disciplines.
CORE LABORATORY SERVICES:
The CMBB provides fee-for-service pals procedures to life scientists
The building is designed to house four core laboratories viz:
- Cell/Tissue Culture Laboratory
- Plant and Animal tissue culture Molecular Biology Laboratory
- Genetic engineering
- Microbiology and Fermentation Laboratory
- Food Biotechnology
- Quality Control and Analytical Service Laboratory
CORE RESEARCH ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES
Genomics: DNA and RNA studies embracing, sequencing, synthesis amplification, gene expression profiling etc
Proteomics: Protein Isolation, purification sequence analysis, synthesis and re-engineering
Cell and tissue culture: Plant and animal cell culture, embryo manipulation
CENTRE FOR MOLECULAR BIOSCIENCES AND BIOTECHNOLOGY MOUAU
P. M. B. 7267, UMUAHIA
Process Biotechnology: Fermentation using bioreactors, bioprocessing and phytoremediation
Food Biotechnology: probiotics
Bioinformatics: Construction of databases, storage and retrieval of data
- Biotechnology training programme for Senior Secondary School Students during vacation
- Short term Biotechnology Symposium for teachers of Secondary School Science, Health Science and Agriculture
- Annual Biotechnology Workshop for researchers in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology
- Quarterly University-wide biotechnology Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology
- Quarterly trainings in Biotechnology skills for post graduate students, researchers and scientists drawn from industries
- Deployment of ICT and media in popularizing Biotechnology
EXTERNAL COLLABORATING INSTITUTIONS
- Biotechnology Research programme, National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike
- Centre for Integrated Biosystems (CIB) Utah State University Logan Utah State USA
- National Biotechnology Development Agency, Abuja Nigeria