PhD Candidates


Temitope Arinola JEKAYINOLUWA

Student Short Biography:

Temitope Arinola Jekayinoluwa is a doctoral graduate of Plant Biotechnology at the Centre for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics (CEBIB), University of Nairobi. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Master of Environmental Chemistry and Pollution Control at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. 

For her doctoral research, Temitope explored the use of RNAi technology to develop transgenic banana and plantains that are resistant to banana aphids, a vector that transmits banana bunchy top virus causing banana bunchy top disease. She has published her research findings in reputable peer-review journals.

Temitope is a recipient of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) fellowship funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IITA-Genetic Resources Center fellowship, IITA-TALENT Grant, IITA Outstanding staff award, NIW Innovation Summit and 1st Annual Conference on science for Development poster awards. 

Temitope is interested in using her plant tissue culture and biotechnology skills in developing disease resilient plants for the horticultural/ agricultural industry as a way to promote global food security.

Project Summary

Thesis / Project  Title: Development of Transgenic Banana and Plantains Using RNAi Approach for Control of Banana Aphids

Thesis / Project  Abstract:

Banana and plantain are consumed by over five hundred million people around the world. Despite their market value and importance in ensuring global food security, several pests and diseases threaten their yield. Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) is one of the world’s most destructive diseases of banana and plantain causing up to 100 % yield loss in severe cases. Transboundary exchange of infected planting materials and banana aphid (Pentalonia nigronervosa) are the two transmission modes of the disease. Banana aphid harbouring banana bunchy top virus (BBTV), is the sole vector and an efficient method of transmission of the virus from infected to healthy plants. Controlling the spread of BBTD has been very challenging since there is no known banana germplasm containing an endogenous gene that could confer absolute resistance to BBTV. Therefore, the pre-eminent way of controlling the virus starts with controlling the vector. Biotechnological strategies via RNA interference (RNAi) could be used to target banana aphid as well as BBTV to reduce virus-associated banana and plantain yield losses. The aim of this study was to generate transgenic banana & plantains using RNAi as a strategy to control banana aphids.