Iruka N Okeke

Born in: United Kingdom
Primary research category: Microbiology
Research location / employer: Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Fellowship dates: 2005-2009

Academic Career

  • Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 2014–present
  • Editor-in-Chief, African Journal of Laboratory Medicine, 2017–2021
  • Assistant, Associate then Full Professor, Haverford College, PA, USA, 2002–2015
  • Lecturer, University of Bradford, UK, 2000–2002
  • Post-doctoral Fellow. University of Maryland, USA, 1996–1998


  • Ph.D, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
  • M.Sc., Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
  • B. Pharm., Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Fellowship Research

Dr. Iruka Okeke’s research is focused on diarrhoeal pathogens, bacterial drug resistance, and laboratory practice in Africa. Her team studies the molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis of diarrhea-causing enteric bacteria, including enteroaggregative Escherichia coli, other diarrheagenic E. coli and Salmonella. The Okeke lab is also engaged in collaborative research to elucidate the genetic basis for antimicrobial resistance in enteric organisms from West Africa.

Major Contributions

  • Molecular pathogenesis and epidemiology of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli
  • Identification of principal lineages and burden of invasive Salmonella in Nigeria
  • Establishment of genomic surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in Nigeria
  • Elucidation of antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in resistant bacteria circulating in West Africa

Major Awards

  • American Society for Microbiology Moselio Schaechter Award, 2024
  • The Peter Wildy Prize. UK Microbiology Society, 2023
  • Calestous Juma Science Leadership Fellowship.  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2021
  • Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, 2018
  • Fellow of the Nigerian National Academy of Science, 2018
  • UK Medical Research Council / Department for International Development African Research Leaders Award, 2014
  • Pharmacy Ambassador in the Diaspora Award. Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, 2014
  • Fellowship, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin), 2010-11
  • Mellon 23 Life Cycle of the Student Scholar Award for early curricular initiatives that serve to build the foundations of student scholarship, 2009

Collaborative Projects with other Branco Weiss Fellows

Chinyere Okoro
Thomas Pfeiffer