@ Director, African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID)
Prof. Christian Happi is a professor at the Redeemer’s University in Nigeria. He has the expertise and skills, leadership and motivation necessary to successfully conduct and oversee health research projects in West Africa. He has a broad background in molecular biology and genomics with application in infectious diseases, including malaria, Lassa fever, Ebola virus disease and HIV. According to him, the most meaningful accomplishments in his career was his use of genomics technologies for early diagnosis and confirmation (within 6 hours) of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Nigeria. This singular action was major in containing EVD in Nigeria, and therefore saving millions of lives in Africa. This feat could only be achieved after he took the decision to go to Nigeria – the country in world with the highest burden of malaria, as well as a viral hemorrhagic disease called Lassa fever – to live and work in the midst of malaria and Lassa fever patients, after years of research and work at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. He sees this decision as the realization of a mission to apply the genomics knowledge and cutting-edge genomics skills he had acquired at Harvard University to improve health care in Africa, and to share these skills with young African researchers so that key genomics research questions can be addressed in the natural setting where the disease occurs.
Prof. Happi pioneered and rooted in Nigeria, North-South and South-South collaborations to make major breakthroughs in malaria, Lassa fever and Ebola Virus disease. With funding from the World Bank and the NIH, along with collaborators we established at Redeemer’s University, Nigeria, the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID, www.acegid.org) in 2013.