Prof. Alash’le Abimiku is the Executive Director of the International Research Center of Excellence of the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN). She is a professor in the department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a Co-founder of IHVN, and Executive Director, Laboratory Diagnostics and Research at IHVN.
Prof. Abimiku obtained a doctorate degree in Medical Microbiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1988. She had earlier earned a master’s degree in Immunology/Virology from the same university and a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria. Her research interests are in the epidemiological characterization of viruses and HIV disease models from selected target study populations in Nigeria to understand the pathogenesis of HIV and co-infections; and protective mechanisms through HIV vaccine research.
Her career for over 30 years has distinguished her as an academic, scientist and researcher who has blazed the trail in promoting quality laboratory medicine practices in Nigeria and Africa. She was first in establishing the first reliable HIV research laboratory in Central Nigeria and chairs the Board of Directors of the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM). The research laboratory supports her past and current funded grants on the role of subtypes in disease pathogenesis using mother to child model and effects of co-infections with TB on HIV pathogenesis. In 1993, her post-doctoral research was the first to document the unique HIV strain prevalent in Nigeria as HIV subtype G, different from the subtype B circulating in Europe and USA.
As a postdoc, she played a pivotal role in establishing a long-term collaboration between Institutions in Nigeria, and investigators at the National Institutes of Health and at the Institute of Human Virology University of Maryland School of Medicine. Being an effective lynch pin, as captured in an article in Science, has made it possible to create a portfolio of successful research grants in Nigeria that has effectively trained young Nigerian scientists.
As the Director for Research and laboratory science, she has established a laboratory network and infrastructure including a BSL-3 for TB diagnostics activity, a robust lab QA/QC component, a comprehensive laboratory training program with four associated training facilities, and a biorepository network under the Institute of Human Virology-Nigeria PEPFAR program. These facilities have supported national efforts on achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, early infant diagnosis, and post market validations for PEPFAR HIV rapid test kits.
She is currently a member of the International Scientific Advisory Group for University of Cape Town and serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Group WHO R&D for preparedness for Epidemics, member of the steering committee of WHO Global HIV Drug Resistance Network (RESNET), member of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), fellow of the African Academy of Science, and member of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Research Advisory Board.