Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Lagos, Grace Eigbibhalu Ukpo, has delivered the 8th Inaugural Lecture of the 2021/2022 Academic Session.
With an audience-captivating delivery on the title, Drug Discovery: Drudgery of a Combatant Pharmaceutical Chemist, Professor Ukpo shared how her curiosity as a young girl, listening to the feedback of her grandmother on the use of drugs, lured her into the field of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.
“After 35 years in teaching and research into drug metabolism and interactions with other drugs and herbal products, that curiosity has been sufficiently satisfied and quenched.”, she said.
She shared how her Ph.D research on “Studies on Some Biopharmaceutical and Metabolic Actions of Ciprofloxacin” set her on a path in a field of Chemistry that informed her evolution into a Scientific Combatant.
Professor Grace Ukpo posited that while some herbal drugs may not be toxic, it may not be bioavailable for therapeutic action.
According to her, research findings show that most people have resorted to the use of herbal preparations in the treatment of their ailments, which at times, have resulted in toxicity and treatment failure. That has become a great concern to medical doctors.
She shared how, in 35 years as a Pharmaceutical Chemist, she has worked on the interaction of some of these herbal preparations and orthodox drugs. Some of the interesting findings she made on these plants, particularly their interaction with ciprofloxacin, glibenclamide, and rifampicin, were mainly due to their binding with metals present in the herbal products.
She proposed that the formulations of herbal products need to be looked into more closely, and that would require interdisciplinary collaboration in order to take herbal products from the laboratories to the market in a standardised form.
“Our indigenous pharmaceutical companies must collaborate with Pharmacy Schools in Nigeria, as a matter of urgency, to achieve this noble task”, she submitted.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, FAS, presided over the lecture. She was flanked by the full complement of the Management staff.
Friends and Family of the Inaugural Lecturer, as well as colleagues from across the university were also present.