Biochemistry History

 The Department of Biochemistry was a part of the Department of Physiology in the Faculty of Medicine from the beginning of this University. In 1955 Dr. O. Bassir, a biochemist with special interest in Nutritional Biochemistry, joined the staff of Physiology as Head of the Sub-Department of Biochemistry.

The Department assumed the status of a full Department in 1960. A chair in biochemistry was created in 1962 and Dr. O. Bassir was the first occupant. Thus Dr. O. Bassir became foundation Professor and Head of Department of Biochemistry; a position he held until retirement from University service in 1979. Since the retirement of Professor Bassir, and following the creation of multiple Professorships in academic departments, newly promoted Professors have headed the Department with equal zeal and commitment as their predecessor.

Although, the Department had developed with emphasis on Nutritional Biochemistry from its inception, its philosophy has since widened considerably and areas of teaching and research had been expanded to include Biotechnology; Brewing; Drug Metabolism and Toxicology; Forensic Biochemistry; Membrane Biochemistry; Microbial Chemistry and Fermentation; Molecular Biology and Oncology.

Today, postgraduate teaching and research in the Department has been re-organized into four broad academic sections, namely;


Cancer Research and Molecular Biology

  • Membrane Biochemistry and Biotechnology

  • Molecular Drug Metabolism and Toxicology

  • Nutritional and Industrial Biochemistry/Biochemical Toxicology

These four sections have been operational since 1984.

The Cancer Research and Molecular Biology Unit is under the directorship of Dr. Oyeronke.A. Odunola while the Membrane Biochemistry and Biotechnology Unit is under the directorship of Professor O.O. Olorunsogo. The Molecular Drug Metabolism and Toxicology Unit is under the directorship of Professor E.O Farombi while the Nutritional and Industrial Biochemistry/Biochemical Toxicology Unit is under the directorship of Professor E.N. Maduagwu.

All directors of sections are accountable to the Head of Department.

The Department of Biochemistry, which in 1955 was housed in a two-room one-storey block, now contains two large laboratory buildings. These contain teaching laboratories for about two hundred and fifty students, staff laboratory, offices, a seminar room, and a library. The adjoining blocks to the main Departmental buildings house the electronic and mechanical workshops, as well as postgraduate and undergraduate research rooms. Other facilities there include an Experimental Animal House, Glass Blowing assembly, Tissue Culture and Molecular Biology Laboratory, and the Multipurpose Biotechnology Information Core-Facility NABDA South-West Zonal Centre.

The Departmental buildings can be found sandwiched in between the perimeters of the Anatomy Department, Physiology Department, Pharmacy Department Laboratories and the Postgraduate School, and in the direction of the northern part of the University campus.

The first set of our graduates was produced in 1965, and they were only six in number. Since then, the output of talented manpower from the Department has been staggering; our products have permeated the entire Nigerian, African and International society in a positive way. Thus our Department of Biochemistry has continued to play a leading role in the furtherance of the relative new scientific discipline of biochemistry world-wide, in terms of undergraduate science teaching, medical education, and postgraduate research and training, and professionalism; a credit which is most deserving in view of the fact that it is a pioneer and unarguably, the premier Department of Biochemistry in the African continent.