Borlaug LEAP Fellow Mustafa Jibrin worked towards an MSc in Crop Protection at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. His MSc thesis was entitled, “Molecular Characterization and Race Classification of Bacterial Spot Pathogen of Tomato in North-Western Nigeria.” Based on fieldwork in northern Nigeria, Mustafa worked to identify the races as well as the actual species of the bacterial spot pathogen present, because recent research has shown that the different races of the pathogen actually belong to four different species. Unfortunately, information about this devastating disease is lacking in Nigeria, hence the poor management measures currently being adopted. Jibrin’s research will hopefully form the bedrock for a well-informed integrated disease management approach that would be developed afterwards.
Mustafa began his Borlaug LEAP Fellowship in 2013 and was mentored by Prof. J.B. Jones of the University of Florida, and Dr. Fen Beed of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Tanzania. Mustafa, who currently holds an assistant lecturing position in his university, planned to return to Nigeria and join the leadership front in improving agriculture and the livelihood of the rural poor. Mustafa both completed his fellowship and received his master's degree in 2014.
Mustafa is currently a PhD student at the University of Florida where he is researching the evolutionary studies of worldwide strains of Xanthomonas species that causes bacteria spot disease on tomato and pepper, while also attempting to manage the disease using sustainable approaches. Mustafa is using phylogenetic and comparative genomics approaches to trace their evolution and how the bacteria have adapted to their host plants. His work on strains from Nigeria additionally explore pathogen population dynamics over a period of time. Mustafa has also been working in a project entitled Extension: Development of Novel Extension Methods for the Adoption of Animal Traction by Women Farmers, which is being sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He continues to serve as a leader for the those he works with and credits the Borlaug LEAP Fellowship with exposing him to excellent mentors and study opportunities, which have helped him in advancing his education and career.