Malachy Ifeanyi Okeke, Ph.D. (University of Tromso Norway)
Assistant Professor of Biology, School of Arts and Science
Dr. Malachy Ifeanyi Okeke is a Nigerian-born Virologist. He joined the American University of Nigeria (AUN) from GenOk-Center for Biosafety Tromso Norway in August 2018. Prior to joining AUN, Dr. Okeke was the head of department (HOD) and Research Associate Professor at the Department of Virology and Vaccines at GenOk Tromso Norway (2015-2018). Dr. Okeke graduated with a First-Class Honors degree in Microbiology from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in 1992 and was the valedictorian for the 1992 graduating class. In 2003 and 2007 respectively, he earned MPhil and Ph.D. degrees in Medical Biology (Molecular Virology) from the University of Tromsø Norway. In his Ph.D. work, he investigated recombination between poxvirus-vectored vaccines and naturally circulating poxviruses. Dr. Okeke did his postdoctoral work (2008-2010) in the laboratory of Professor Terje Traavik at GenØk Norway where he mapped naturally occurring and transgenic orthopoxviruses. From 2011 to 2018 at GenØk Tromsø Norway, he was Principal Investigator of research projects investigating the efficacy and biosafety of recombinant poxvirus-vectored vaccines against infectious diseases and cancers.
His research works at GenOk Norway contributed to the national and international recognition of GenOk Tromso Norway as a center of excellence on the Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) of virus-vectored vaccines and virus-vectored gene therapy products. Consequently, Dr. Okeke served as the consulted expert and scientific advisor to the Norwegian Environmental Agency and the European Medicine Agency (EMA). Dr. Okeke has teaching experience of over two decades at universities in Nigeria and Norway. He has taught courses in Virology, Microbiology, Mammalian Cell Culture, Molecular Biology, Molecular Genetics, Microbial Genetics, Genomics, General Biology, etc. at the graduate and undergraduate levels and has successfully supervised bachelor, master, and Ph.D. students.
Dr. Okeke has published over 65 scholarly articles in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, and presentations. He has a google scholar H-index of 13 and his journal articles have been cited over 850 times. His current research interest is in the development of recombinant vaccines against infectious diseases and cancers, virus metagenomics and whole-genome sequencing, infectious disease modeling and immunoinformatics as well as genome surveillance of human and animal viruses. Dr. Okeke is also interested in understanding the impact of modern biotechnologies (genetic engineering, genome editing, and synthetic biology) on human and ecosystem health.
Ongoing research in his laboratory at AUN and collaborating laboratories around the world include (i) development of recombinant vaccines against infectious diseases and neoplasms, (ii) evolution of monkeypox virus in Nigeria, (iii) SARS-CoV-2 evolution, modeling, and therapeutics (iv) genomics of naturally and genetically modified poxviruses in Fennoscandia, (v) virus metagenomics, (vi) molecular epidemiology of viral and bacterial pathogens in Nigeria, (vi) antibiotic resistance in bacteria and gene flow, (vii) isolation and characterization of phages and its application to phage therapy, (viii) antimicrobial activity of medicinal plants and (ix) biosafety, biosecurity and bioethics of modern biotechnology. Dr. Okeke is a member of professional associations including the International Society for Global Health (ISoGH), the European Society for Virology, and the Norwegian Society for Microbiology and Biochemistry.
Title of Dissertation
- Genomics and metagenomics of viruses and other infections agents
- Bioinformatics and system biology of viruses and their hosts
- Evolution and molecular epidemiology of human and animal viruses
- Poxvirus vectored vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer
- Infectious disease modelling, immunoinformatics and computer assisted drug discovery
- Genome editing for drug and vaccine discovery
- Gene flow of antibiotic resistance genes
- Phage therapy and the evolution of bacteriophages
- Antimicrobial activity of medicinal plants and natural products
- Biosafety, biosecurity, and bioethics of modern biotechnology
BIO 103 – Essentials of Nutrition
BIO 120 – Introduction to Biology 1
BIO 230 – Molecular Genetics
- Kolawole D, Raji H, Okeke M. I. (2021). Phylogenetic and Mutational Analysis of Lassa Virus Strains Isolated in Nigeria: Proposal for an In Silico Study. JMIR Res Protocols 2021, 10(3):e23015. DOI: 10.2196/23015. PMID: 33769296
- Alakunle, E.; Moens, U.; Nchinda, G.; Okeke, M.I. (2020). Monkeypox Virus in Nigeria: Infection Biology, Epidemiology, and Evolution. Viruses2020, 12, 1257. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12111257. 2019 JCR IF: 3.816
- Aiyewumi O, Okeke MI. (2020). The myth that Nigerians are immune to SARS-CoV-2 and that COVID-19 is a hoax are putting lives at risk. J Glob Health. 2020;10(2):020375. doi:10.7189/jogh.10.020375. 2019 JCR IF: 4.151
- Quambo H.F, Ngu L.N, Lissom A, Ngoh A.A, Okoli A.S, Atabonkeng P.E, Takoua D, Garcia R, Gutierrez A, Chukwuma, G.O, Ngouaadjeu E, Okeke M.I and 8 other authors. 2019. Persistent Asymptomatic Plasmodium Falciparum driven anaemia in a Treatment Re-infection Pediatric Cohort in a Rural Health District of Cameroon. Journal of Blood & Lymph, 9 (3):248
- Ngu, L., Nji, N., Ambada, Ngoh, A. A., Simo, J.L., Okeke, M.I. et. al. (2019). Inflammatory Chemokine Profiles of Four Female Cameroonian HIV Elite Controllers. Journal of Immunology Research and Therapy, 4(1): 179-186.
- Lissom, A., Quambo, F. H., Megnekou, R., Okeke, M.I., Ngu, L. N. et al. (2019). Comparative Analysis of Igg Responses to Recombinant Qβ Phage Displayed MSP3 and UB05 in Dual HIV-Malaria Infected Adults Living in areas differing in Malaria Transmission Intensities. J Exp Clin Immunol 4(1), 1-10.
- AP et. al (+ 27 co-authors including Okeke M.I.). 2018. Surface Engineering of the RNA Coliphage Q? to Display Plasmodium Falciparum Derived Asexual Blood Stage Antigens UB05 and Merozoite Surface Protein 3. Clinical Microbiology Open Access, 7(4); 314, doi:10.4172/2327-5073.1000314. IF: 1.65
- Okoli, A., Okeke, M.I., Tryland, M and Moens, U. (2018). CRISPR/Cas9 – Advancing Orthopoxvirus Genome Editing for Vaccine and Vector Development. January 22, 2018. 10(1), E50; doi: 10.3390/v10010050. 2019 JCR IF: 3.816
- Okeke, M.1., Okoli, A.S., Diaz, D., Offor, C., Oludotun, T.G., Tryland, M., Bøhn, T., and Moens, U. (2017). Hazard Characterization of Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Vector: What are the Knowledge Gaps? Viruses. 29 October 2017. 9(11), E318; doi:10.3390/v9110318. 2019 JCR IF: 3.816
Publication Metrics from Google Scholar, ResearchGate and Scopus
Google Scholar profile: H-index =13, i10 index=14, Citation=850, Source; https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=CSMnpncAAAAJ&hl=en
ResearchGate profile: H-index =11, RG Score = 21.57, Total Research Interest = 447.8, Reads =10115, Recommendations =33, Citations =682, Source: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Malachy-Okeke
Scopus profile: H-index =10, Citation =437, Source; https://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.uri?authorId=6602299500
International Society for Global Health (ISoGH), Full Member, 2020 -Date
European Society for Virology. Full Member, 2007 – Date
Norwegian Society for Microbiology and Biochemistry. Full Member, 2004 - Date