Career Bio

  • Dr Adeniyi Olagunju obtained a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, home to the foremost pharmacy school in Nigeria, graduating in 2008 with distinction and in the top 5% in a class of 105 students. Between 2008 and 2009, he did a one-year internship at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, working as a demonstrator/instructor in practical classes for undergraduate pharmacy students. After the one-year compulsory national youth service as an antiretroviral therapy pharmacist in a hospital caring for over 3000 HIV positive patients, he decided to pursue his long-held dream for a career in academia. He was appointed as a Junior Trainee Fellow (equivalent to assistant lecturer) at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University in July 2010.
  • The position afforded him the opportunity to pursue further research training to develop skills in his area of interest: HIV pharmacology, with a focus on antiretroviral drugs used for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. With a grant from HIV Research Trust, UK and study leave from his employer, he went for the Master of Research in Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine programme at the University of Liverpool, UK, graduating as the best student in a class of over 40 students. He was shortlisted for the highly competitive Duncan Norman Research and Sir Joseph Rotblat Alumni Scholarships of the University of Liverpool and was awarded the latter for the PhD Pharmacology programme, with additional funding from the Nigerian Tertiary Education Trust Fund and the University of Liverpool.
  • His PhD research included a cohort of about 500 HIV positive pregnant/breastfeeding women and over 200 HIV-exposed babies recruited from three healthcare facilities in Nigeria. He completed his PhD within three years under the supervision of Professor Andrew Owen and Professor Saye Khoo. He was examined by Professor Charles Flexner of Johns Hopkins University, USA and Dr Ana Alfirevic of the University of Liverpool, UK. The skills he acquired during his PhD enabled him to generate data that have provided globally-relevant, timely information. Some of these have been published in more than 10 international peer-reviewed journals, including 9 first authorships. In addition, he has attended and presented papers at key international HIV conferences since 2013, including the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in the United States. For these conferences, he was awarded the Young Investigators Award in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • Dr Olagunju has forged collaborations with researchers in leading institutions in different parts of the world. Some of the findings from his research have influenced international policies on HIV treatment. For instance, a plan to reduce the dose of the antiretroviral drug efavirenz from 600 mg to 400 mg has benefited from some of the data from his PhD which indicated that the current dose of 600 mg could be inadequate in a particular group of pregnant women stratified by genetic polymorphisms in drug metabolising enzymes (Olagunju et al 2015, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics). In addition, his research on novel methods for quantifying drugs in dried human breast milk spots has opened up opportunities for conducting clinical lactation studies in nursing mother-infant pairs. Using this new methodology, Dr Olagunju’s work has contributed to the scientific literature on the level of breastfed infants’ exposure to maternal antiretroviral drugs through breast milk. More recently, Dr Olagunju has been working on novel applications of physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modelling in special populations. He successfully developed a mechanistic model for predicting infant exposure to maternal drugs through breast milk. When published, this will be one of the only two applications of this technique outside the field of environmental risk assessments.
  • Having the opportunity to intellectually conceive and execute research projects as well as write manuscripts for publication in leading peer-reviewed journals has enabled him to develop into a well-rounded researcher. Between 2013 and 2015 at the University of Liverpool, he trained/mentored up to 10 different persons in different techniques, including visiting researchers, clinical fellows, PhD students, and undergraduate students. Dr Olagunju returned to Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria in December 2015 and is currently a lecturer at the Faculty of Pharmacy. He supervises/mentors undergraduate and postgraduate students. His research is focused on translational pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenomics and pharmacometrics.