Valuing the African Genius

Yemi Adesokan

Yemi Adesokan is a Nigerian scientist and entrepreneur, based in the United States, who has innovated by developing a technology that sequences DNA very rapidly for clinical diagnostics. His innovation can be used to screen a range of harmful pathogens found in water, livestock and food manufacturing.

Source: Pathogenica.com

In the case of tuberculosis, it can take more than a week to culture samples using current technologies, whereas Adesokan’s innovation provides results within one day. In the case HPV (Human papillomavirus) which causes cervical cancer and other types of cancers, the innovation can be used for detection with low occurrence error.

In order to commercialize his pathogen sequencing technology, Yemi Adesokan has cofounded Pathogenica Inc. in 2009 with George Church (a pioneer in genomics) from Harvard Medical School. Yemi Adesokan holds a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine.

Pathogenica’s first kit addressed the growing problem of healthcare associated infections. This kit detects and types the twelve most common nosocomial infections such as Acinetobacter baumanii, Enterobacter cloacae, Enterobacter aerogenes, etc. The kit also detects common drug resistance genes, among others.

In 2011, Yemi Adesokan was listed in the TR35, an MIT Technology Review’s annual list of 35 top innovators under the age of 35. The TR35 recognizes the world’s top innovators in the fields of energy, medicine, computing, communications, nanotechnology, and other emerging fields. In the past, this review listed Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Konstantin Novoselev (later a Nobel Laureate in Physics).

Healthcare - Hygiene Menu

Profile reviewed: January 16, 2017

First publication: September 2013