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Dr. John Eleblu

Dr. Eleblu holds a PhD degree in Plant Biology at the University of Paris Sud 11 (now Paris Saclay), Orsay in France. He was trained as an Agriculturist at the undergraduate level with specialization in Crop Science at the University of Ghana. At the post-graduate level, he specialized in Genetics and Breeding at the University of Ghana. He won the African Scientist Award and served as a Visiting Research Scientist under the African Research Fellowship of the Institute for Genomic Diversity (IGD), Cornell University, USA where he managed a research project on the genetic contributions of PINNOID genes in Maize plant and kernel architecture development (2007 – 2008). In 2014After Dr. Eleblu was awarded the PhD in France, he worked as a post-doctoral scientist in the lab of his PhD supervisor, Dr. Abdelhafid Bendahmane. His post-doctoral studies involved analysis of gene expression to understand the molecular basis of parthenocarpy (seedlessness) in tomatoes at the famous Crop Genomics laboratory (located at INRA, URGV in France). His current research interests are in the genetic improvement of legumes and cucurbits for food and nutrition security in Africa. In February 2015, John was appointed a Lecturer at the Biotechnology Centre, University of Ghana and he also serves as the Coordinator of Research Programmes, Francophone Africa for WACCI. He has won four outstanding grants/fellowships [USDA Norman Borlaug Fellowship, Alcorn State University, 2016; French Government Scholarships, France 2009; University of Ghana Faculty Development Grant, 2009; African Scientist Fellowship Programme, Cornell University (IGD) 2007]. He was a participant and alumni of the prestigious University of California DAVIS Africa Plant Breeding Academy Class IV Sessions 1, 2 and 3 at ICRAF Headquarters, (2018/2019) Nairobi - Kenya, Sponsored by: MARS Inc. He has requisite teaching and research expertise in plant functional genomics, molecular biology and breeding. 

Dr. Eleblu serves as Co-Principal Investigator for the US $ 1 million African Union – European Union sponsored project at the WACCI. The project allows WACCI to work with government and industry partners on Crop and Soil Health Improvement for sustainable Agricultural Intensification towards Economic Transformation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) for 3 years to in order address issues relating to food and nutrition security objectives of the AU, under its Competitive Research Grant Scheme supported by the European Union. Under this project Dr. Eleblu also doubles as the lead on the establishment of Next Generation Sequencing platform as well as the set-up of a reverse and forward genetics platforms for using Cowpea as proof of concept. Under WACCI’s collaborative project with the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), United Kingdom: 2017 ALBORADA project RB86330 “Establishment of tissue culture and genetic transformation for scalable cowpea improvement in sub-Saharan Africa”, Dr. Eleblu serves as the local project Lead with oversight from the Director. Under Dr. Eleblu’s leadership, a pipeline for implementing reliable and reproducible tissue culture in Ghanaian cowpea accessions at NIAB and at WACCI have been established in partnership with Dr. Alison Bentley. This allows for the production of whole cowpea plants from shoot tips, cotyledonary (embryonic seed leaf) nodes, radicles and leaf explants isolated from 4-day-old germinated seeds. 

Dr. Eleblu serves also as the lead on the Cowpea and Soybean projects at the Centre. He has evaluated genotypes of soybean he collected from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) genebank through collaborations with Dr. Brian Diers of the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, USA. He serves on the Centre Management Committee Meetings and Admissions, Finance and Procurement Committees of the Centre. He is the coordinator for WACCI – MIT Global Startup Labs for the development of young entrepreneurs at the Kofi Annan Enterprise Hub for Agricultural Innovation at WACCI. He teaches, mentors and develops the next generation on scientists in Africa for Africa. He has supervised 8 PhD students who have successfully graduated as of 2019 and he is playing a vital role on the thesis committee of several PhD students. He has 14 scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals as of September 2020.