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Appolinaire Djikeng, of BecA-ILRI Hub, appointed director of leading tropical livestock centre

Appolinaire Djikeng (centre)
with (left to right
) Alistair Stott (Scotland’s Rural College),
David Hume, 
Bruce Whitelaw (both Roslin Institute)
and Steve Kemp (ILRI) (photo credit: Roslin Institute/Norrie Russell).

Appolinaire Djikeng has been appointed
director of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health,
a partnership between the University of Edinburgh,
Scotland’s Rural College and the Africa-based
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Djikeng takes up the post in succession to David Hume, who has been director of the centre since the launch of its first joint project—’Genomic tools to improve the productivity of tropical livestock and increase climatic resilience, adaptation and mitigation for the benefit of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa’—which was supported by a USD16-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in December 2015.

Djikeng is currently director of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-ILRI Hub (BecA-ILRI Hub), based in Nairobi.

With a background and interests in genomics, Djikeng brings a wealth of experience in developing and leading biosciences research and development and capacity building programs across agricultural development and public health initiatives.

The Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health has a remit to build on the world-class research expertise of its partner institutions, ensuring the development and deployment of genetics and genomics technologies to improve livestock productivity and livelihoods in the tropics.

In addition to his role as director of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, Djikeng has been appointed to a new Chair in Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development at the University of Edinburgh.

Djikeng, from Cameroon, trained as a molecular biologist at Brunel University (PhD) and the University of Yaoundé I (BSc and MSc). He conducted postdoctoral research focusing on RNA processing and regulation of gene expressing at Yale University School of Medicine. He subsequently joined the faculty there, building teams and securing funding to conduct research on RNA interference and functional genomics. He then worked on parasite genomics, viral genomics, metagenomics and high-throughput next-generation sequencing technology development at the J Craig Venter Institute, in Rockville, Maryland.

Djikeng joined the BecA-ILRI Hub, in Nairobi, Kenya, as technology manager in 2009, subsequently becoming director in 2013.

About his new appointment, Appolinaire Djikeng said: ‘I am grateful to all three founding partners for the trust placed in me to lead the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health at this critical stage of its development, and truly honoured to become part of an outstanding international research community with a centuries-long track record of delivering remarkable innovations that have shaped our world.’

Leading figures in this field expressed the following appreciations of Djikeng and his appointment.

We are absolutely delighted with Professor Djikeng’s appointment. As the centre takes a world-leading position in tropical livestock health, his exemplary leadership skills and expertise will be essential for driving its success.
David Argyle, head of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh

“We are delighted to have been able to attract a scientist of Appolinaire’s calibre to lead this partnership. I and my colleagues at SRUC look forward to working with him on this important global agenda.
Wayne Powell, principal and chief executive of Scotland’s Rural CollegeThe Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health has made a successful start on its journey to becoming a world leading research hub for Africa under the leadership of David Hume. It is now time to accelerate our activities and Appolinaire Djikeng is the ideal person to lead this next phase of the centre’s development. I am excited about working with Appolinaire to achieve real translational benefits from the excellent research in the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health.
Bruce Whitelaw, interim director of The Roslin Institute

I am very pleased to see Appolinaire taking up the position of director for the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health as he is particularly suited for this role. Not only is he an excellent scientist but he has a sound vision of the transformative role that upstream livestock biosciences can play, particularly in the developing world, and is able to communicate that vision to policymakers, scientists and the general public equally well.
Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI

Read the original news release on the website of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH): Director appointed to lead Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, 26 Apr 2017.

Read earlier news about CTLGH: Climate-smart livestock farming in developing countries is boosted by a £10-million research award, ILRI News blog, 25 Nov 2015.

View CTLGH repository materials.

For more information, visit the CTLGH website, follow CTLGH on Twitter @ctlgh_info or contact Peter Freeman: peter.freeman [at] ctlgh.org

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