Dr Ignatius Oparaji ONYEOCHA

Dr Ignatius Oparaji ONYEOCHA
Reader of Genetic Engineering/Biotechnology

Email: Ignatius.onyeocha@ntlworld.com
Languages spoken: English, French, Ibo.



Trained in Microbiology, Plant Pathology, Microbial genetics and physiology, Molecular biology and Genetic engineering in different laboratories/academic centres around the world, IO Onyeocha has engaged in teaching, research and consultancy services, starting as a Graduate Assistant. Milestones in research include cloning of the 90 MDa plasmid of Azospirillum brasilense Sp7 and the high-affinity nitrate transporter in Lotus japonicus, elucidated the role of plasmid-encoded functions in the pathophysiology of a whooping cough and development of acellular vaccines, the establishment of the tobacco transgenic lab in Cambridge and characterised protein trafficking to peroxisomes. Others include the works on Glossina control, the medicinal value of sea-weeds and safe agricultural practices. A member of many scientific organizations including Nigerian, British, French, German, and American he is a Fellow of Cambridge Philosophical Society. He has undertaken consultancy services for organizations and governments in many areas of biotechnology, project management and university establishment. Others include services to charity, the civil society and the community. In collaboration with the English Heritage, The Concorde International and the British Council I trained over 1000 students in technical language and communication in my Youth and Development Centre (UK), particularly the non-English-speaking across all the continents.

Academic Qualifications:

BSc Hons-1980-Microbiology (Univ. of Ife), MSc-1982-Applied Microbiology & Plant Pathology (Univ. of Jos), MPhil-1986-Genetics & Physiology of Microorganisms (Univ. Paris XI/Institut Pasteur), PhD-1990-Genetic Engineering (Univ Paris XI/Institut Pasteur).

Research Interests:

Genetic resources, Plasmids, Microbial Genetics, Molecular Biology, Genetic Engineering, Recombinant DNA Technology, Biotechnology, Applications in agriculture, medicine, environment, forensics, etc.

Teaching and professional experience:

Teaching, student supervision, research and consultancy. University of Jos, Institut Pasteur Paris, Rothamsted Experimental Station Harpenden, University of Cambridge, FUTO. Associate Fellow, Fitzwilliam College Cambridge University. External examiner, Biotechnology  (2012/15), Modibbo Adamawa University of Technology, Yola. Member, Quality Assurance Unit, Office of the Vice Chancellor FUTO.

Extracurricular activities:

Participation in various voluntary, non-paying, social and/or philanthropic activities. 2010-2011:  Host community involvement with FUTO.HIV/AIDS awareness and support in various communities in Imo State. 2010-present: Hygiene/nutrition...UN  global hand wash programme. Cancer: Early detection is the best prevention in communities in IMO. HIV/AIDS: Universal Access to Prevention, Treatment and Care.


University of Ife Best Undergraduate Research. 1980; Student Research Fellow, French Government, 1984-1986, Doctoral Fellow, French Government, 1986-1990, Study Fellowship, Biotechnology, UNESCO/GBF Germany, 1988. Nominee, American Society of Microbiology Biotechnology tour of China, June/July 1990, American Society of Plant Physiologists (ASPP) Postdoctoral Fellowship in Plant Biochemistry, 1992 UCSD/Salk Institute. La Jolla USA; Nominee, Certificate of Achievement, (Biographical Research Department) USA Honor Society, New Jersey, USA. January 2010. Conferred the traditional title of Oji Mmuta I of Enyiogugu by the Eze L. O. Nnaji.


(In Press) Okwuwe, C.I.; Onyeocha I.O. and  Atukpawu, C.P. 2016. Restorative and prophylactic effects of seaweeds on lindane-induced hepatotoxicity in male albino wistar rats. In J. of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Health.

Orji, C.U., I.O. Onyeocha, S.S. Shaida, P.M. Dede, B. Yakubu, E.E. Ella and P.D. Luka. 2016. Molecular characterization of laboratory-reared Glossina palpalis palpalis and Glossina morsitans submorsitans populations in Nigeria. Veterinary Sciences: Research and Reviews, 2(2): 31-41.

Orji C.U., Onyeocha I. O., Shaida S. S., Dede,  P. M., Luka, P. D., Yakubu B., Ella E. E. (2015). Molecular identification of tsetse fly (Diptera: Glossinidae) species based on mitochondrial DNA (COII and CytB) sequences. African Journal of Biotechnology 14(19), 1605-1613.

Ejiogu, C. C., Onyeocha, I. O., Ukali, U. I., Ndubuisi, E. C. (2015). Health implications of roasted pork available for human consumption in two communities of Owerri-West, Imo State, Nigeria. Journal of Biotechnology, Agriculture and Environmental Science Research 1(1), 1-13.

Onwuliri V. A., Onyeocha I. O., Ojiako O. and Onwuliri C. O. E. (2010). Gender and HIV/AIDS: The Struggle Continues. In Engendering Policy for Attainment of the Millenium Development Goals. Vol. 2 (chapter 3): 25-42. The Proceedings of the Conference organised by the Centre for Human Resource and Gender Services. Asaba Nigeria. 29-31March 2010.

Onyeocha I. O. and Onwuliri C. O. E. (2010). Gender, the Environment and Climate change. In Engendering Policy for Attainment of the Millenium Development Goals. Vol. 2(chapter 24): 241-252. The Proceedings of the Conference organised by the Centre for Human Resource and Gender Services. Asaba Nigeria. 29-31March 2010.

Main publications:

Student projects and theses/conference papers: Numerous.

In Peer-reviewed Journals: *Onyeocha, I. 0. and Ogbonna C.I.C. (1983). Extracellular enzyme production: a quick qualitative assay method. Nig. J. Biotechnol. 1: 48-59.

*Brezin C., Guiso N., Ladant D., Jdavadi-Ohaniance L., Megret F., Onyeocha I. & Alonso J. M. (1987). Protective effects of anti -Bordetella pertussis adenylate cyclase antibodies against lethal respiratory infection of the mouse. FEMS Microbiol. Letters 42: 75-80.

*Galimand M., Vieille C., Perroud B., Onyeocha I., & Elmerich C. (1988). Advances in genetics of Azospirillum brasilense Sp7: use of Tn5 mutagenesis for gene mapping and identification. In: Azospirillum IV, W. Klingmuller ed., 1-9. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

*Vieille, C., Onyeocha, I., Baca, B.E., Flores, M., Palacios, R. and Elmerich, C. (1988). Homology between Azospirillum plasmids and Rhizobium nodulation genes. In Nitrogen fixation hundred years after (H. Bothe, FJ. de Bruijn and W.E. Newton, Eds.). p. 502. Proceedings of the 7th International Congress on Nitrogen Fixation. Gustav Fischer, Stuttgart.

Vieille C., Onyeocha I., Baca B.E., Palacios R., Flores M. and Elmerich C. (1988). Genetic analysis of the p90 plasmid of Azospirillum brasilense Sp7. In Molecular Genetics of Plant-Microbe Interactions. R. Palacios & D.P.S. Verma eds. pp 209-210. APS Press, St. Paul. Minnesota. UDS.

*Vieille C., Onyeocha I., Galimand M. and Elmerich C. (1989). Homology between plasmids of Azospirillum brasiilense and A. lipoferum. In Nitrogen Fixation with non-legumes. F.A. Skinner et. al. (eds.), pp. 165-172.  Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht. The Netherlands.

*Michiels, K., De Troch, P., Onyeocha, I., Van Gaol, A., Elmerich, C. and Vanderleyden, J. (1989) Plasmid localization and mapping of two Azospirillum brasilense loci that affect exopolysaccharide synthesis. Plasmid 21, 142-146.

*Onyeocha, I., Vieille, C., Zimmer, W., Baca, B.E., Flores, M., Palacios, R. and Elmerich, C. (1990). Physical map and properties of a 90 MDa plasmid of Azospirillum brasilense Sp7. Plasmid 23: 169-182.

*Elmerich, C., de Zamaroczy, M., Vieille, C., Delorme, F., Onyeocha, I., Liang, Y. Y. and Zimmer. W. (1991). nif and nod genes in Azospirillum. In: Nitrogen Fixation, Devel6pments in Plants and Soil Sciences (Polsinelli, M., Matreassi, R., Vincenzini, M., Eds.), pp 79-8. Kluver Academic Publishers, Amsterdam.

*Onyeocha, I., Behari, R., Hill, D. and Baker, A. (1993). Targeting of castor bean glyoxysomal isocitrate lyase to tobacco leaf peroxisomes. Plant Molecular Biology: 22: 3 85-396.

*Marrison, J., Onyeocha, I., Baker, A. and Leech, R. (1993). Recognition of peroxisomes by immunofluorescence in transformed and untransformed tobacco cells. Plant Physiology: 103: 1055-1059.

*Ignatius Onyeocha, Laurence J. Trueman, Kathryn J. Boorer and  Brian G Forde. (1995). Molecular Biology of a family of high affinity nitrate transporters found in fungi, algae and higher plants. 25 pp. (1995). Plant Physiology & Biochemistry (Darmstadt  meeting). 

*L. T. Trueman, I. Onyeocha and B. G. Forde. (1996). Recent advances in the molecular biology of a family of eukaryotic high affinity nitrate transporters. Plant Physiol. Biochem. 34: 621-627.

*Georg Leggewie, Ignatius Onyeocha, Janice Turner and Brian G. Forde (1998). Characterisation of transgenic Arabidopsis plants modified in the expression of a family of high-affinity nitrate transporters. In Springer Link11th International Workshop on Plant Membrane Biology Cambridge St John’s College. PMB 11: 22-31.

*Amarashinghe B. H. R. R., De Bruxelles G., Braddon M., Onyeocha I., Forde B. G., Udvardi M. K, (1998). Regulation of GmNRT2 expression and nitrate transport activity in roots of soybean (Glycine max). Planta 206, 44-52.

*Onyeocha I and Elmerich C. (1998). Plasmids of Azospirillum: A review. In Developments in Plants and Soil Sciences. Pp 1-14.

*Open SIGLE (1998). http://hdl.handle.net/10068/22225. ONYEOCHA IGNATIUS. The 90 MDa plasmid of Azospirillum brasilense: Structural and functional characterization. Alternative title: Le plasmide de 90 MDa d'Azospirillum brasilense: Etude structurale et fonctionnelle.

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