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Dr. John Eleblu - Profile

 Dr. John Saviour Yaw Eleblu

   PhD, Plant Biology, Paris Saclay (Paris Sud 11, Orsay)


   Coordinator Research,  Francophone Africa, WACCI

   Lecturer, Biotechnology centre

   University of Ghana




Profile          Grant Funded Research          Research and Teaching          Publication




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.




  • Post-Doctoral Studies, INRA URGV, Evry, France, 2014
  • PhD Plant Biology, University Paris South 11, Orsay, France, 2009-2013
  • MPhil Crop Science (Plant Breeding & Genetics), University of Ghana, 2006-2008
  • BSc Agricultural Science, University of Ghana, 2001-2005



Awards and Honors

  • 2016: USDA Norman Borlaug Fellowship, Alcorn State University
  • 2009: French Government Scholarships, France
  • 2009: University of Ghana Faculty Development Grant
  • 2007: African Scientist Fellowship Programme, Cornell University (IGD)



Professional Experience

  • 2015-date     Lecturer and Researcher, Biotechnology Centre, University of Ghana
  • 2014-date     Associate Faculty and Coordinator, Research Programmes, Francophone Africa, WACCI, University of Ghana
  • 2016             Visiting Scholar, Alcorn State University, USA
  • 2014-2015    Visiting Scientist, West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana
  • 2014              Post-doctoral Study, INRA URGV, Evry, France
  • 2009-2013    PhD research fellow, University of Paris South, Orsay
  • 2009-2013    Ingénieur d'études (Engineer) Functional Genomics Lab, INRA URGV, Evry, France
  • 2008-2009    Graduate Assistant, Biotechnology Centre, University of Ghana
  • 2007-2008    Visiting Research Scientist under the African Research Fellowship of the Institute for Genomic Diversity (IGD), Cornell                                University
  • 2005-2006    Teaching/Research Assistant for the Crop Science Department, University of Ghana



Conferences, Workshops & Meetings

  • 2019     Participant and Alumni, University of California DAVIS Africa Plant Breeding Academy Class IV Sessions 1, 2 and 3 at ICRAF                 Headquarters, Nairobi - Kenya, Sponsored by: MARS Inc
  • 2019     Host and Moderator, Cowpea Value Chain Workshop on “Shaping the Future of Cowpea Value Chain Development in                                 Ghana”, Sponsored by African Union in partnership with the European Union
  • 2019     Participant and Organizing Committee Member, The Launch of the African Plant Breeders Association and Maiden                                   International Conference at WACCI, University of Ghana
  • 2019     Coordinator, WACCI-MIT Global Start Up Labs 5-week Agricultural Entrepreneurship Training programme
  • 2019     Participant, Ghana Groundnut Working Group First Annual Meeting, Developing Partnerships to Create Greater Value of                             Groundnut through Innovation, Tamale, Ghana
  • 2019     Participant, Peanut Innovation Lab Project Launch 2019 Workshop
  • 2019     Participant, Exploratory Visit to Collaborator at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) In Alnarp, Sweden
  • 2019     Host and Moderator, Cowpea Value Chain Workshop on “Sustainable Intensification of Cowpea Production and Value Chain                       Development”, Sponsored by African Union in partnership with the European Union
  • 2019     Participant, Value Chain Workshop on “Private – Public Partnerships for the Sustainable Intensification of Maize Production for                   the Crops’ Value Chain”, Sponsored by African Union in partnership with the European Union
  • 2018     Participant, African Plant Breeding Academy IV – “A programme that trains practicing African Plant Breeders in Advanced                         Theory and Technologies to Speed Development of Improved Varieties for Farmers”
  • 2018     Participant and Organizing Committee Member, WACCI International Conference on Food and Nutrition Security in Africa at                 the WACCI, University of Ghana
  • 2018     Participant, 2018 Southern Soybean Breeders Tour, University of Georgia,
  • 2018     Participant, The 17th Biennial Conference on the Molecular and Cellular Biology of the Soybean, University of Georgia, USA
  • 2018     Instructor/Expert, USAID Feed the Future Biotechnology Awareness Creation among farmers, opinion leaders, Chiefs,                                 extension agents and policy makers in Lawra, Walewale and Bawku Districts in the north of Ghana
  • 2018     Participant, Agricultural African Centres of Excellence (AgACE) Workshop, Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA), Bayero                         University, Kano, Nigeria
  • 2018     Participant, Introduction to Systems Dynamics Simulation Models and Games at Université Mohammed VI Polytechnic                               (UM6P) Campus, Benguerir, Morroco
  • 2017     Participant, Launch of BiomassNet platform at Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
  • 2017     Participants, Biotechnology Training of Trainers Programme, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
  • 2017     Coordinator and Instructor, WACCI Food Security Summer Training programme for students from Monmouth College, USA
  • 2017     Rapporteur, WACCI 10th Anniversary Celebration Launch and Symposium
  • 2017     Participant, Joint Training for Agricultural Africa Centres of Excellence (ACEs) at Centre for Food Technology and Research                       (CEFTER), Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria
  • 2017     Participant, Golden Gate DNA Assembly for Crop Engineering held at West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI),                         University of Ghana in Partnership with Crop Engineering Consortium (CEC) of the Engineering the Nitrogen Symbiosis for                          Africa (ENSA) Sponsored by the BBSRC and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • 2015     Panelist and Discussant, DAAD Alumni Conference on “How Can Science End Hunger in the World?”
  • 2015     Participant, 3rd Plant Genomics Congress, Crowne Plaza Hotel, St. Louis, USA
  • 2015     Rapporteur General and Resource Person, Workshop for Agricultural Education Front Runners in West Africa: Africa Centres                   of Excellence (ACEs) Learning Experience at WACCI
  • 2015     Panelist and Discussant, International Biosafety Short Course for Policy and Decision Makers in Ghana and Nigeria
  • 2015     Participant and Rapporteur, Tomato Value Chain workshop organized by West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI)                   in collaboration with the Alliance for Agricultural R&D for Food Security made up of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable                       Agriculture (SFSA), the Australian International Food Security Research Centre (AIFSRC/ACIAR), Crawford Fund (CF) and the                   University of Queensland (UQ)
  • 2015     Participant and Rapporteur,  General of a three-day workshop organized by the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement                         (WACCI), University of Ghana at Volta Hotel, Akosombo, Ghana on the theme “Transforming WACCI into a sustainable Centre                      of Excellence for Training Plant Breeders and Seed Scientists for the future of food security in Africa”
  • 2009     Participant, 2nd PLANTnet Paris Symposium on “Plant Genomes to Sustainable Agriculture” Versailles, France
  • 2007     Resource person and Participant, Marker Assisted Selection Training Workshop on “the Use of Molecular Markers for                                 Characterization of Genetic Resources” conducted at the Biotechnology Centre, University of Ghana, Legon in conjunction with                   the Institute for Genomic Diversity Cornell University, USA and funded by Kirkhouse Trust
  • 2006     Presenter and Discussant, Public awareness and experience sharing workshop on “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).                       Who benefits?” organized by Friends of the Earth Ghana/Nigeria, Monarch Hotel, Ghana



Talk/Poster Presentations

  • 2019     Talk: 2nd African Scientific, Research and Innovation Council Congress, Abuja, Nigeria
  • 2018     Talk: OCP UM6P Climate Smart Agriculture Workshop - Ghanaian agriculture: strength and issues.
  • 2017     Poster: DAAD Regional Conference in Bonn, Germany - In-Country/In-Region Network Conference with Partner Institutions in               Sub Saharan Africa.
  • 2016     Talk: Biorisks – a generic risk assessment framework for organisms at the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Annual meeting in                     San Diego, USA.
  • 2013     Talk: French PhD Students Retreat in Paris, France - Functional Characterization of CmWIP1 gene in the sex determination                     pathway of Cucumis melo Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a Model System.
  • 2012     Poster: EMBO Conference in Plant sciences in Matera, Italy - Functional Characterization of CmWIP1 gene in the sex                             determination pathway of Cucumis melo Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a Model System.
  • 2010     Poster: 2nd joint retreat of PhD. Students in Plant Sciences in Cologne, Germany - Functional Characterization of CmWIP1                   gene in the sex determination pathway of Cucumis melo Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a Model System.
  • 2007     Resource person and Presented of GMOs and Biotechnology at 3rd ECOWAS Ministerial Conference on Biotechnology on                       “Adoption of the 2006 - 2010 action plan for meeting challenges of Biotechnology and Biosafety”, La Palm Royal Beach Hotel,                     Ghana 



Membership Of Boards/Committees/Associations/University Service

  • Member, WACCI Finance Committee
  • Member, WACCI Procurement Committee
  • Member, WACCI Admissions Committee
  • Member, WACCI Management Committee
  • Member, WACCI Research Supervision Committee
  • Member, Ghana Science Association
  • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Member, Cornell Alliance for Science
  • Member, Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD)
  • Member/Ex-President, Federation for Young Farmers Ghana
  • Reviewer, Journal of the Ghana Science Association
  • Reviewer, The Crop Journal