Edidiong Akang, PhD
Research & Publications
Dr Akang has been teaching and conducting extensive research in tertiary institutions since 2010. he has worked in 4 different Universities including the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He has coordinated the teaching of different aspects of anatomy including gross anatomy, human embryology, histology, and neuroanatomy to both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
During his Ph.D. he studied the mechanisms by which alcohol impaired spermatogenesis and testicular distortions using animal models. He brilliantly explained this pathway linking it to an oxidative stress-induced toxicity on the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis, after which he suggested possible therapies (Akang et al., 2015, Toxicology reports; Oremosu and Akang, 2015, Middle East Fertility Society Journal).
He advanced his research endeavors by undergoing a postdoctoral fellowship to decipher the reason for the infertility problems experienced by men living with Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in South Africa. Researching on the antiretroviral therapy- the treatment for HIV, He was able to identify testicular toxicities in some of the combinations which eventually led to the withdrawal of efavirenz from the first line of HIV treatment in 2018. Nevertheless, it was not still clear whether it was HIV or the treatment that caused the infertility in men living with HIV.
After his postdoctoral fellowship, he became faculty with the Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine of the University of Lagos and continued with the research of HIV and male infertility. As at this time, the UNAIDS had introduced the “test and treat” policy and had also changed the HIV first line treatment replacing efavirenz with dolutegravir. Dolutegravir combination therapy became the recommended first line treatment for HIV since 2018. Dr Akang obtained funding from the National institutes of health (NIH) USA through Building Research and Innovation in Nigeria`s Science (BRAINS) to study the sperm of men living with HIV from which he reported for the first time that HIV was responsible for the decline in sperm motility whereas the drugs for HIV treatment led to Sperm DNA fragmentations in HIV infected men (Akang et al 2022, Andrologia).
He also had this unique research collaboration with Medical University Vienna sponsored by the Austrian OeAD to study the epigenetic changes in the sperm cells of HIV-1 infected men. This study involved semen analysis, sperm wash, DNA isolation, DNA methylation using Illumina Infinium MethylationEPIC array, and bioinformatics.
His quest for a better understanding of HIV and to devise a better means of mitigating it as well as improving the reproductive health of men living with HIV led him to Yale School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases of the Department of Internal Medicine, wherein he develops unique therapies to neutralize the HIV.
In addition, he has won several awards including the Marie Sklodowska Curie Action Postdoctoral fellowship “Seal of Excellence” in March 2022; American Association of Anatomy Early career travel award 2021; best poster at the international society of for men`s health world congress at Nice, France in 2010; and best oral abstract and outstanding mentee at the 2022 general assembly of Building Research and Innovation in Nigeria’s science (BRAINS), July 2022.
He hopes that sooner than later he should have explained several mechanisms by which environment impairs sperm function and proffer plausible remedies.
Education & Training
- PhDUniversity of Lagos, Anatomy (Reproductive biology) (2015)
- MScUniversity of Lagos, Anatomy (Reproductive biology and Neuroendocrinology) (2010)
- BSc (Hon)University of Calabar, Anatomy (2007)