BioRTC Dementia Research Group Secures Funding for Pioneering Dementia Research in Northern Nigerian Populations

[Yobe State, Nigeria] – The Biomedical Science Research and Training Centre (BioRTC) Dementia Research Group has received funding from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation for the project titled “Biobanking of iPSC from Indigenous Africans to Study the Role of African Ancestry in Tauopathies.” This initiative marks a significant step in our efforts, whose broader goal is to study the genetic, cellular and molecular factors of dementia within the diverse northern Nigerian populations.

The Dementia Research Group, led by Dr. Mahmoud Bukar Maina, has successfully established the first induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from northern Nigerian donors in collaboration with Prof. Celeste Karch of Washington University St. Louis, a member of the Tau Consortium. The Tau Consortium is a program of the Rainwater Charitable Foundation which brings together scientists to collaborate and share data and resources with one another to accelerate research towards effective treatments for primary tauopathies. Through this, we have laid a strong foundation for advancing our research into the role of African ancestry in neurological disorders. The Rainwater Charitable Foundation’s generous funding will enable further collaboration with Prof. Karch’s team. 

Additionally, Dr. Maina will oversee the work on the contribution of the African genetic background to nucleolar function in tauopathies using the iPSC cells generated from the northern Nigerian population, in comparison to cells from the European population, through his team at Sussex Neuroscience, leveraging international expertise and resources. At BioRTC, the focus will be on enhancing the team’s capabilities and collaborating with hospitals in developing a dementia registry and cohort in northern Nigeria.

Dr. Baba Goni Waru, a member of the team and also serving as the Chief Medical Director of Yobe State University Teaching Hospital, said, “This funding is crucial for our work, which is just beginning and focusing on a population that has historically been underrepresented in dementia research, even by African standards. It’s an important day for Dementia Research in Nigerian.”

Prof. Ibrahim Abdu Wakawa, another team member and Chief Medical Director of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Maiduguri, remarked, “This funding emphasizes the importance of our work on dementia in our population and its potential impact on understanding and treating dementia someday.”

Dr. Babagana Kundi Machina, a consultant neurologist and team member, expressed, “I am eager to see how this research will lead to better patient care and more informed approaches to dementia.”

This funding not only represents a significant advance for BioRTC Dementia Research Group but also highlights the importance of research in underrepresented and genetically diverse populations in global health. Through international collaboration combined with local expertise, BioRTC is poised to make a meaningful contribution to the worldwide fight against dementia.

For more information about the Dementia Research Group, please contact Dr. Mahmoud Bukar Maina.