Kindly Share This Story:•Prof. Chinonso Achebe..Sometimes, people are very cynical about things, instead of encouraging those who delve into certain areas, they have a way of writing things off. By Ebele Orakpo
Professor Chinonso Achebe of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, is the Dean of Student Affairs of the university.
Achebe whose research interest is mainly in alternative energy sources with special reference to Biogas generation using diverse biomass sources also researches on surface thermodynamics of the HIV-blood interactions and possible remedy for the AIDS pandemic. In this chat with Vanguard, Achebe speaks on the HIV-blood interactions and Quadcopters/Drones projects. Excerpts:
Our research is on bio-engineering, especially in the area of HIV-blood interaction. We have done some novel researches in this area where the interaction mechanism has been analysed and then the energy of that interaction quantified. This is novel indeed because it has not been done anywhere in the world and has also been published internationally and presented at a conference of International Association of Engineers in London which attracted a merit award.
We have also looked at the current drugs for treating HIV and mathematically, we have come up with a rating that explains the efficacy of these drugs. Before now, the clinicians had their measures in terms of viral load and some other clinical markers but with this research, we have come up with a mathematical quantification of the energy of interaction which agrees totally with what the clinicians know. So that is an addition to the knowledge that mathematically, energy-wise, these drugs can be rated in terms of their efficacy with the highly active antiretroviral therapy ranking highest.READ ALSO: Lagos City Marathon: Access Bank, NIBUCCA, HACEY advocate HIV testing and counseling
We are currently investigating some of the herbal extracts that people have claimed to be effective in AIDS management because for now, I think what we have in AIDS management is functional cure not an eradicative cure and also Hepatitis C.
We are also researching on Drone technology. Already, the university and some industry generals are quite interested in this area. We are currently talking about setting up a laboratory on drone technology. We already have some manpower on ground and a couple of pieces of equipment that we have fabricated here. Some of those pieces have gone for competitions here and there and won some prizes.
Military drones are said to cost millions of dollars and Nigeria is looking to acquire some. Is it not possible to produce our own drone?
Well, the drone technology is a grey area and an emerging area, it is also an area that has wide application in different areas – military, medical, agricultural, ecological, security, film industry etc., so it has a very wide application and there are drones that are specific for certain operations. It has geological applications also like the Geo-informatics discipline makes use of drones. It is also used in delivery exercises especially in very difficult terrains, so there are vast applications of drones and drone technology. Research keeps broadening every day but you have to start from somewhere. Sometimes, people are very cynical about things, instead of encouraging those who delve into certain areas, they have a way of writing things off and at the end of the day, they do nothing and are not happy that somebody is doing something. So we are talking about indigenising some of these things.
For instance, my students have researched on how to get the blades; one has worked on producing the blades locally and then finding some materials that are locally available that can function effectively as the ones that are imported. Nothing stops people from looking at the electronic components to see how these things can be assembled locally instead of importing them and some of these importations are very costly. But if we can sit down and put these things together here, we will save a lot of foreign exchange.