Knowledge for a sustainable world

Development and evaluation of novel diagnostic tools for African yam viruses

Yam is an important crop for food security in Africa, whose production is threatened by pest and diseases among other factors. Viruses can cause up to 50% yield loss in the crop, as well as, impede germplasm exchange for its improvement.

This project aims to develop, optimize and validate a range of diagnostic tests for economically important yam viruses in West and East Africa. In addition to that, characterize novel yam viruses.

These research findings will aid in establishing routine diagnostics for different laboratory settings and quarantine services which will invariably reduce the risk of virus spread as well as, increase the efficiency of breeding programs for yam virus resistance.

Primary Supervisor: Susan E Seal
Secondary Supervisor(s): Goncalo D R Silva

Ruth commenced her full-time doctoral studies at NRI in February 2020 as an international student. She had earlier obtained her BSc with a First-class Honours in Crop Protection from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Nigeria and an MSc in Plant Breeding jointly from the Pan African University and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in the year 2014 and 2018 respectively. 

Ruth has a passion for plant virology and food security which made her volunteer work as a research assistant for the plant virology Unit in FUNAAB. Her research then focused on the detection and management of virus diseases in vegetables. Again, she worked as a research fellow in the virology and molecular diagnostics Unit of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria. Her research there focused on the evaluation of Yam mosaic virus titer in white yam genotypes at different growth stages.

Her years of research experience has gained her expertise in on-field and lab diagnosis of plant viruses, as well as, the use of diagnostic tools and disease surveillance.

Ruth is interested in plant virus diagnostics, bioinformatics, disease surveillance and plant virus resistance breeding.


  • Best oral presenter in plant health at the 22nd annual symposium of the International Association of Research Scholars and Fellows (2019).
  • Senate annual prize for First-class Honours graduating students (2013/2014).

Professional Membership

  • Member of the Nigerian Society for Plant Virology. 2019 – till date
  • Member of the Connected Virus Network. 2018 – till date
  • Member of the Nigerian Society for Plant Protection. 2016 – till date
  • Alumnus of the International Association of Research Scholars and Fellows. 2017 – 2019
  • Alumnus of the African Union Chapter. 2016 – 2018
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