From the Director

Welcome to the Centre for Genomics of Non-Communicable Diseases and Personalized Healthcare

I warmly welcome all and sundry to this exciting website of the Centre for Genomics of Non-Communicable Diseases and Personalized Healthcare (CGNPH). I must admit that this is an ambitious initiative from groups of motivated scientists and healthcare professionals and collaborators mostly from Africa. However, it is comforting that the initiative is not only achievable but also filling an important gap and providing essential need of our lives in the developing countries and continent.

Statistics show that the burden on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) is huge and expanding , accounting for ~80% of all mortalities in LMICs. LMICs, especially sub-Saharan Africa, rank very low on robust research output and appropriate human capacity and infrastructure needed to support and sustain scientific discoveries that can inform and transform practice and policy decision-making on prevention and treatment of NCDS.

The completion of the Human Genome Project has enabled successful application of genomic approaches in medicine and healthcare services. While these applications are already being used to direct clinical decision-making in high-income countries, they remain in their infancy in Africa, the cradle of humankind. The dearth of a critical mass of well-trained independent researchers from Africa remain alarming and is a limiting factor for scientific exploration and discovery in the genomics of NCDs and personalized healthcare. To accelerate these advances, fundamental changes are needed in LMICs in the development of human capacity and infrastructure, as well as the mechanisms for genomics data collection, storage, and sharing. Meeting these challenges will create a healthcare system with continuously learning and cycling between clinical care and research. The African Centre for Genomics of Non-Communicable Diseases and Personalized Healthcare (CGNPH) will promote application of genomics in prevention, treatment, and management of NCDs as well as understanding their causation through development of holistic training, capacity building, and evidence-based research. The high genetic diversity of African populations and African environments provides unparalleled opportunities and potential to investigate the genomic, epigenetic and pharmacogenomic profile of NCDs in African populations including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases. The low competitiveness and visibility of African researchers in genomics, epigenetics and pharmacogenomics research is a critical challenge, as in development of a critical mass of researchers who have the foundational knowledge, skills, and responsible conduct, attributes required for research on the genomics, epigenetics, and pharmacogenomics of NCDs. Meeting this challenge is fundamental to scientific discovery and creation of novel and innovative approaches and products designed to deliver efficient and improved personalized healthcare in Africa in order to increase quality of life of Africans.

Professor Oluyemi Akinloye
Director, (CGNPH)