Meet Our Faculty
Meet the core personnel involved in BioRTC
Dr Mahmoud Bukar Maina
Founder and Director
Mahmoud is the founder of BioRTC and serves as a Group Leader. In addition to his leadership role at BioRTC, he holds an Independent Research Fellowship at Sussex Neuroscience in the UK. His research primarily focuses on unraveling the fundamental mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease, with particular emphasis on the roles of Tau, amyloid beta, and APOE and the role of African ancestry. To achieve this, Mahmoud’s work involves generating human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived brain models from indigenous African populations, providing valuable insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of dementia in a diverse range of ancestries.
Dr. Maina obtained his BSc in Human Anatomy from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, MSc in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, and PhD in Neuroscience, both from the University of Sussex, UK. Dr. Maina’s research focuses on understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. He employs cellular, molecular, and biophysical techniques to investigate the impact of cellular stress on disease progression, protein misfolding, and the role of African ancestry in these processes. His work uncovered a role for Tau protein in nucleolar transcription and stress response.
Dr. Maina is also passionate about promoting public understanding of science and inspiring and training young scientists, especially in Africa. He serves as the Outreach Coordinator for TReND in Africa and founder of Science Communication Hub Nigeria and African Science Literacy Network. He has published articles. He has published articles about Neuroscience in Africa and organized workshops to train African neuroscientists. Dr. Maina has received numerous awards for his work, including the Royal Society of Biology Science Communication Award in 2017 and New England Biolabs Passion for Science Humanitarian Duty Award in 2019. In 2020, he was endorsed by the Royal Society as a Global Talent.
Dr Takeshi Yoshimatsu
Scientific Course Coordinator
Takeshi is a Visiting Associate Professor at Yobe State University affiliated with BioRTC and a Group Leader at Washington University in St. Louis, USA, where he focuses on the molecular and cellular aspects of the functional development and regeneration of the vertebrate visual system. Additionally, he is a member of TReND in Africa, which aims to advance science in Africa.
After finishing PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Tokyo (Japan), Takeshi Yoshimatsu received postdoctoral training at the University of Washington in Rachel Wong’s lab and then at the University of Sussex in Tom Baden’s Lab from 2016 to 2022. During these periods, he has completed two postdoc fellowships, most recently a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship and prior to this an Uehara Foundation Fellowship. His research focuses on the function and development of the vertebrate visual systems in zebrafish and mice. Combining molecular biology, transcriptomics, computational modelling, in vivo 2-photon imaging and serial block-face scanning electron microscopy, he has uncovered molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neuronal cell fate decisions, synaptic specificity, and the functional tuning of visual neurons. Alongside engaging in his research, he has organised seminar series in the Sussex Neuroscience department from 2018 to 2022. He has also communicated with various audiences outside of his research community by organising and participating in public engagement (‘Open school day’ at the University of Tokyo, Japan; ‘DIY 3D printing for teaching’ at the University of Sussex, UK) and scientific workshop (‘Alternative model system for life science researches’ at the University of Lagos, Nigeria). He is currently a Visiting Associate Professor at Yobe State University and a Group Leader at Washington University in St. Louis, where he focuses on the molecular and cellular aspects of the functional development and regeneration of the vertebrate visual system.
Dr Sabi Raouf Issa
Student Recruitment Coordinator
Raouf is a Visiting Associate Professor at Yobe State University affiliated with BioRTC and a Marie Curie Fellow at the Laboratory of Biology and Modeling of the Cell of ENS de Lyon; and a Group Leader at Brain Plasticity Laboratory-ESPCI at Paris Sciences et Lettres University, France. His research focuses on the emergence and maintenance of motor function in normal and pathological conditions. He is also a member of TReND in Africa.
After obtaining PharmD degree in University of Lomé (Togo), Raouf joined Dr Serge Birman’s laboratory at ESPCI (École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles; Paris Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution) and University of Pierre et Marie-Curie in Paris, from where he received his master’s and PhD degrees by investigating the cellular and molecular basis of ageing and neurodegeneration in Drosophila. Currently, Raouf is a Marie Curie Fellow at the Laboratory of Biology and Modeling of the Cell of ENS de Lyon; and a Group Leader at Brain Plasticity Laboratory-ESPCI at Paris Sciences et Lettres University, France. His research focuses on the emergence and maintenance of motor function in normal and pathological conditions. He is also a visiting Associate Professor at Yobe State University and a member of TReND in Africa.
Dr Renee Hartig
Currently based in New York, Renée is a Research Scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. She coordinates volunteer efforts and organizes courses with the non-profit TReND in Africa. Renée supports a traveling STEM training workshop, namely (C)CSS, or (Clinical) Collaborative Science Symposium. Her research focuses on sensory systems and employs preclinical models to study fundamental circuit wiring mechanisms in the central nervous system. She unites collaborators under the common goal of advancing scientific understanding
Renee is a Research Fellow in the Focus Program Translational Neurosciences at the University of Mainz. Renée spends her time researching sensory information processing and adaptive learning in mammals through measurements of brain activity by magnetic resonance imaging and electrophysiology. This work is closely coordinated with an appreciation for the anatomical structures underlying functionally relevant brain regions. In 2019, Renée completed her MSc/PhD at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, and the University of Tübingen, Germany. Prior to Germany, Renée was based in New York where she completed a BSc (Biology/Neuroscience) at the State University of New York Stony Brook, where she also studied at the School of Journalism. Through TReND in Africa, Renee has been responsible for establishing the Collaborative Science Symposium program at the Universities of Zambia, Nairobi, and soon-to-be Nelson Mandela Institute in Arusha, Tanzania.
Dr Baba Waru Goni
Dr Baba Waru Goni is an Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases at the Department of Medicine, University of Maiduguri, and Yobe State University Teaching Hospital Damaturu, where he serves as the Chief Medical Director of the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital. He has a group in BioRTC focusing on Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine, and Immunology, with a focus on HIV/AIDS and TB care in low-and-middle-income countries. As a Principal Investigator at BioRTC, Dr Goni collaborates with colleagues on the design and implementation of basic science research and its linkage with the clinical care of patients.
Dr Baba Waru Goni graduated with an MBBS from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, in 1998 and subsequently trained as a physician specialising in Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine, and Immunology. He obtained the Fellowship of the West African College of Physicians (FWACP) and the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (FMCP) in 2008 and 2009, respectively. In addition, he studied MSc in Tropical Medicine and International Health (MSc TMIH) at LSHTM UK and DTM&H of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2012. Currently, he is involved in health administration and health system strengthening as the Chief Medical Director of the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital.
Having worked on HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis care under the Harvard School of Public Health/APIN programme in Nigeria for over 15 years, his main research interest is focused on HIV/AIDS and TB care in low-and-middle-income countries, other infectious diseases epidemiology (e.g., epidemic meningococcal meningitis, cholera, malaria, zoonotic diseases such as Brucellosis), as well as vaccine-preventable diseases and health system strengthening. He is an Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases at the Department of Medicine, University of Maiduguri, as well as the Yobe State University Damaturu. His main areas of teaching are infectious diseases, HIV medicine, TB, and clinical tropical medicine, particularly to undergraduate medical students and resident doctors on training. He supervises both final year projects of undergraduate medical students and dissertations/MD thesis of postgraduate resident doctors specialising in infectious diseases. As a Principal Investigator at BioRTC, Dr Goni collaborates with colleagues on the design and implementation of basic science research and its linkage with the clinical care of patients.
Dr Andre Maia Chagas
Open Science Coordinator
Andre currently works at the Department of Neurosciences in the University of Sussex, where he develop equipment to support research labs. He has a background in Neurosciences and has been developing affordable open science hardware and teaching others to do so via workshops, talks and outreach events for over 10 years.
Andre is passionate about open science and open source hardware, and how those two can be used to increase research and education reach around the world.
He has a background in Neurosciences and has been developing affordable open science hardware and teaching others to do so via workshops, talks and outreach events for over 10 years.
Currently he works at the Department of Neurosciences in the University of Sussex, where he develop equipment to support research labs. For more details on those projects check the Open Sussex Neuroscience page
He also offers consultancy services around open science and open source hardware through Prometheus Science. Andre will accept students project on open source and open hardware approaches.
Dr Mohammed Musa Lawan
University Liason Officer
Mohammed is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Yobe State University, with experience in the practical application of analytical chemistry, method development and quality control techniques, use of state-of-the-art instrumentations, peptides de novo sequencing and dedicated programmes for protein identification. He is also the DVC academic at the same institute.
Mohammed obtained a B.Tech in Industrial Chemistry from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Nigeria, MSc in Analytical and Instrumental Analysis from the University of Malaya, Malaysia, and a PhD in Environmental Analytical Chemistry from the University of Aberdeen, UK. He has experience and skills in the practical application of analytical chemistry, method development and quality control techniques, state-of-the-art instrumentations, and peptides de novo sequencing using HPLC coupled to Orbitrap-MS and use of PEAK and MASCOT software for protein identification. Metal speciation in biological and environmental samples using hyphenated techniques is the major focus of his research. He has carried out a feeding experiment and looked at Selenium’s biotransformation in collaboration with Fish Immunology research group at the University of Aberdeen to understand the uptake and distribution of Selenium in Rainbow trout and its incorporation into protein. For this, he developed a method for the determination of total selenium and selenium speciation in a biological sample using inductively plasma coupled mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and hyphenated technique using HPLC coupled to ICP MS. Mohammed have received grants to support his work, including Principals inter disciplinary fund, University of Aberdeen in 2012; Principal’s excellence fund, University of Aberdeen and European Union sponsored EUCHEM both in 2013.