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Professor Folasade Tolulope Ogunsola: 1st Female Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos

Professor Folasade Tolulope Ogunsola, FAS, opened another chapter in the history of the University of Lagos with her appointment as the 1st female and 13th Vice-Chancellor by the Governing Council on Friday, October 7, 2022.

The Professor of Medical Microbiology was born on November 14, 1958 in London, United Kingdom. She attended Maryhill Convent School, Agodi, Ibadan and Staff School, University of Ibadan for her Primary Education from 1963-1969. She proceeded to Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, from 1970-1974, where she got the West African Secondary School Certificate, finishing in the Grade I Category.

In 1982, she graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). She finished her Master’s degree in Medical Microbiology with Distinction from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos in 1990. She then enrolled at the University of Wales, College of Medicine, Cardiff where she baggeda Diploma in Biomedical Techniques in 1993. In 1998, she earned her Doctorate from the University of Wales, College of Medicine.

A member of many professional bodies, she became a Fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College, Faculty of Pathology (by Exam) in 1995, Fellow of West African College of Physicians (by Exam) in 1997, and Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, UK (by Published Works) in 2021. She is also a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science and of the Royal College of Physicians, UK.

Professor Ogunsola joined the services of University of Lagos as Lecturer I in 1995, became a Senior Lecturer in 1997, an Associate Professor in 2004 and a full Professor in 2008. 

Outside the classroom and the research laboratory, she has served the University in many capacities such as: Head, Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Medicine, (2009-2012); Deputy Director of MEDILAG Consult, College of Medicine (2009-2010), Director of MEDILAG Consult, College of Medicine (2010-2012), Chairman of the Board, Kesington Adebukunola Adebutu (KAAF) Maternity and Laboratory Center, UNILAG (2016-date), and Executive Chairman of the Board, Academic Publishing Centre (2021- date).

In a similar vein, she served as a Member of the National/State Programme on Antibiotherapy Project (Promoting Rational Antibiotics Use), funded by Sanofi Aventis (2008-2009); Consultant to AstraZeneca on Antibiotic Resistance and Infection Prevention and Control in Critical Care Medicine (2011-2015); and Chairman of the Scientific Review Board of AstraZeneca Research Trust in Nigeria (2013-2015).  She was a Member of the Lagos State Think Tank on COVID-19 (2020-2021) and is currently a Member of the Governing Council of the Lagos State Biobank (2019 – date). 

In 2013, she began her streak of many firsts in UNILAG’s history of leadership succession when she emerged as the 1st female Provost of the College of Medicine. She served meritoriously in that position until 2016. In 2017, she was appointed the 1st Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services), a position with which she initiated and hosted the first ever UNILAG International Week. Between August and September, 2020, when the University was going through the Council-Management Crisis, Professor Ogunsola was the trusted hand to which the University Senate turned to steady the ship during those stormy times. She, again, emerged the 1st female Acting Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG. Her eventual emergence as successor to the 12th Vice-Chancellor was, therefore, a pleasant culmination of events that confirmed her date with destiny.

A researcher of global reckoning, she has one hundred and forty-two (142) publications in reputable academic journals, and has co-authored four (4) books on antibiotic resistance, infection control and HIV. Her publications have been important reference materials in medical and public health research, and have garnered over 2,000 citations from the late 1990s till date. Her areas of interest include the prevention and control of infectious disease and antibiotic resistance.

Since 1998, as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator, Professor Ogunsola has attracted over 4 billion Naira to the University of Lagos in teaching, research, and capacity building grants.  She has thirteen (13) completed grants and eight (8) ongoing grants to her credit.

A Consultant to the World Health Organisation (WHO) since 2009 where she chairs various committees, the 13th Vice-Chancellor is a member of many scientific organisations. She is a Reviewer for several academic journals and External Examiner/ Assessor to many universities, within and outside the country.  She is also a Consultant to the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Infection Prevention and Control.

Her academic mentorship has produced sixty-one (61) Master’s students, eight (8) Ph.D students, and twelve (12) Postgraduate Medical Fellows.

Professor Folasade Ogunsola has attended and presented over eighty (80) academic papers at conferences, workshops and symposia, locally and internationally. She has many academic and professional distinctions to her name – the most recent of which was her nomination and feature as one of 23 Outstanding Women in Science in United Nations Economic Commission for Africa 2022 Book titled, “Earth, Ocean, and Skies: Insights from Selected Outstanding African Women”.

She is a member of many professional associations, including the Association of Pathologists of Nigeria, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Infection Control Association, European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, the American Society for Microbiology and the Infection Control African Network.

The 13th Vice-Chancellor is a philanthropist with a passion for community service. A lover of music, and travel, and autobiographical books, she is happily married and blessed with children and grandchildren.

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