In his youth, Abdullahi Abdulkareem admired great scientists like Louis Pasteur and Isaac Newton. Learning about their achievements and contributions to the world inspired him to become a scientist who would also make a positive impact on the lives of people around the globe. Naturally, his interest was initially focused on medicine and public health, but during his undergraduate years at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria he realized there was a significant need for more scientists to be engaged in the agricultural sector. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture with First Class Honors in 2009 and was offered a position as an Assistant Lecturer in 2011.
In Fall 2014, Mr. Abdulkareem was accepted into the Borlaug LEAP Fellowship in support of his Master’s research on the Occurrence, Distribution, and Characterization of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. dieffenbachiae—the causal agent of bacterial leaf blight for cocoyam in North Western Africa. Cocoyam is one of the most commonly consumed foods and a crop of major economic importance in Nigeria. Mr. Abdulkareem will be working with Dr. Shien Lu of Mississippi State University, a specialist in plant bacteriology and experienced in molecular characterization and sequencing, and Dr. Ranajit Bandyopadhyay at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), an established scientist who has worked as a plant pathologist for several decades.