Dementia Research Group
Despite the rising cases of dementia in Africa, there’s a significant knowledge gap, particularly regarding its genetics and core drivers in the northern Nigerian population, a culturally diverse and most populous region in Nigeria. Our group, comprising clinicians and basic scientists from BioRTC at Yobe State University, Yobe State University Teaching Hospital, Yobe State Specialist Hospital Damaturu, and Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Maiduguri, aims to build patient cohorts for in-depth genetic and biomarker studies and to establish an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) biobank to further our understanding of dementia’s unique features in our population and contribute to the global understanding of this condition. By integrating patient care with research and leveraging deep ties to our communities, our work seeks to advance understanding of dementia in our communities and offer valuable insights for the global community.
Dr Mahmoud Bukar Maina
Dr. Maina is the Principal Lead of the Dementia Group. He holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Sussex during which he revealed the localization of tau in the nucleolar remodelling complex in cultured cells and human brains and its role in nucleolar transcription and nucleolar stress response. His findings significantly aided the development of a new field focusing on tau biology in the nucleus. Dr. Maina continued his investigation as a postdoctoral fellow in the Serpell lab using a combination of biophysics, cell culture, and high-content imaging, leading him to show that 1) paired helical filaments in Alzheimer’s disease are crosslinked via ditorysine bonds, a process that triggers the formation of insoluble tau in vitro. 2) the self-assembly process of amyloid beta is critical for its toxicity, explaining why oligomers confer more toxicity than amyloid beta fibrils. Recognizing the potential influence of ancestral backgrounds on nucleolar pathways and tauopathies, and acknowledging the underrepresentation of Africans in tauopathy research despite Africa’s rich genetic diversity, Dr. Maina took the initiative to bridge this research gap. Through collaborations with group members in the Dementia Research Group, Dr Maina’s team is pioneering the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from indigenous Nigerians to understand the role of African genetic background to dementia mechanisms.
Prof. Ibrahim Abdu Wakawa
Prof. Ibrahim Abdu Wakawa is the Chief Medical Director and a Chief Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Maiduguri (FNPH), Borno State. He is also the Investigator of BioRTC’s Dementia Research Group at FNPH, which is one of eight specialized hospitals dedicated to mental health and neurological disorders across Nigeria, and notably, the only such establishment catering to the vast population of over 30 million in the Northeast region. He graduated with distinction from the University of Maiduguri and is a certified addiction practitioner. As a figure in the Nigerian medical landscape, Prof. Wakawa has initiated and overseen numerous projects aimed at enhancing medical infrastructure and patient care. He is currently the Vice President of the International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals (ISSUP) Nigeria chapter and has over 50 academic publications.
Dr Baba Goni Waru
Dr. Baba Waru Goni serves as the Chief Medical Director at the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital Damaturu and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at both the University of Maiduguri and Yobe State University. At BioRTC, he is a Principal Investigator with a primary focus on Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine, and Immunology. Additionally, Dr. Goni is deeply involved in dementia research, particularly in understanding its prevalence and characteristics in the Northeastern Nigerian population, and leads the dementia research group at the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital. His role at BioRTC extends to collaborations on the intersection of basic science research and clinical patient care.
Dr. Goni earned his MBBS from the University of Maiduguri in 1998 and specialized in Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine, and Immunology. He was awarded the Fellowship of the West African College of Physicians in 2008 and the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria in 2009. Furthering his education, he pursued an MSc in Tropical Medicine and International Health at the LSHTM UK and obtained a DTM&H from the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2012. In his current capacity, he contributes to health administration and system strengthening as the head of the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital.
Dr Babagana Kundi Machina
Dr. Babagana Kundi Machina is a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Department of Psychiatry, Yobe State Specialist Hospital Damaturu. Additionally, he holds the role of Executive Secretary for the Yobe State Primary Health Care Management Board. He is the lead investigator of the Dementia Group at Yobe State Specialist Hospital Damaturu.
He began his medical journey by obtaining an MBBS from the University of Maiduguri in 2008. This was followed by a residency in psychiatry at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Maiduguri (FNPH) from 2011 to 2016. After successfully completing his training and securing the fellowship of the West African College of Physicians in the Faculty of Psychiatry, Dr. Machina returned to Yobe to establish the Department of Psychiatry at the Yobe State Specialist Hospital Damaturu. In recognition of his contributions and expertise, he was appointed the Medical Director of the Yobe State Specialist Hospital Damaturu in 2017 until 2019. Following this, he took on the role of Executive Secretary of the Yobe State Primary Health Care Management Board. Dr. Machina has shared his findings at various scientific conferences and has authored multiple publications.