Chinyere Florence Anagbogu hopes to address the issue of food security in Nigeria from multiple angles, and her approach begins with coffee. Due to changes in climate and new agricultural priorities made by the Nigerian government, coffee is becoming a very important crop in her country. Ms. Anagbogu would like to develop a better quality coffee crop in order to help Nigeria become more competitive within the international coffee market. By improving coffee quality, new markets may be created, and the living standard of rural coffee farmers can be improved. According to Ms. Anagbogu, nearly 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide everyday, so quality coffee with unique taste profiles is in high demand. She hopes making Nigeria a new coffee export hotspot will have a variety of impacts on the lives of smallholder farmers, and the broader Nigerian economy. Ms. Anagbogu presently works as a Research Officer at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, carrying out the evaluation of coffee quality in Nigeria.
Ms. Anagbogu was accepted as a Borlaug LEAP Fellow in the Fall of 2014 in support of her research titled: Exploring the Chemical Diversity of coffea canephora in Nigeria for Genomics Quality Improvement. She is currently at the University of California, Davis and is working with her US mentor Dr. Diane Beckles. Dr. Beckles heads a lab at UC Davis that aims to develop a better understanding of the synthesis, degradation and inter-conversion of starch and sugars in plants. She will be assisting Ms. Anagbogu with DNA synthesis as well as gene expression analysis and sequencing throughout her stay. Dr. Ranjana Bhattacharjee, currently at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), will also be working with Ms. Anagbogu to isolate DNA, help her to prepare samples, analyze data, and develop her dissertation. Dr. Bhattacharjee is a Molecular Geneticist with a specialization in molecular breeding, and will be overseeing Ms. Anagbogu’s RNA and DNA isolation and sample preparation. Ms. Anagbogu's goal is to complete her degree by the end of 2015.