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Funmilola Mabel OJO
Postdoctoral Visitor
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond Surrey,
TW9 3AE, London, United Kingdom
Posted 4-18-24



Funmilola Mabel OJO


Presently, I am researching the leaf trichomes morphology and elemental compositions in Solanales to understand their role in plant resistance against insects. The study aims to document variations in shape, structure, and location of trichomes across 60 Solanales species using Scanning Electron Microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis under the supervision of Ana Rita Simoes, a taxonomist from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the incredible support and hospitality she has shown me during this period. From the moment I arrived, she made me feel welcome and part of the team. Her guidance, expertise, and encouragement are invaluable to me, and I greatly appreciate the time and effort she invested in my research and professional development. The bioimaging lab has been an ideal environment for me to grow and learn, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside her. Her mentorship and trust mean a lot to me. This research will enhance crop improvement efforts in Solanales crops like tomato, eggplant, potato, and sweet potato. I encountered inspiring teachers, mentors, and role models who are passionate about botany and this plays a significant role in shaping my interest and enthusiasm for the field. I use this opportunity to appreciate my mentor, a fantastic man for being supportive and passionate about my growth: He is Prof. Vagner A. Benedito (Benedum Distinguished Scholar), a Professor of Biochemical Genetics in the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, West Virginia University, USA.  

My journey began at Adeyemi College of Education, where in 2007 I earned a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.Sc. Ed.) in Biology, from the then Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo (now Adeyemi Federal University of Education, Ondo), Ondo state, Nigeria. In furtherance of my study, I obtained a Master's Degree of Science (M.Sc.) in Botany, from the Botany Department of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife, Osun State Nigeria in 2013, specializing in Plant anatomy. I later pursued a Ph.D. in Botany in the same university in 2021 focusing on botanical, genetic, and cytogenetic studies of the Andropogon gayanus-Andropogon tectorum complex in Southwestern Nigeria.

Throughout my academic career I have demonstrated a keen interest in both teaching and research. My teaching portfolio includes such courses as General Biology, Plant anatomy, Plant physiology, Plant genetics, Plant breeding and Plant ecology in the Department of Biological Sciences of the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology (OAUSTECH), Okitipupa, Ondo State Nigeria from November 2015 to date. Meanwhile, my research endeavors have yielded impactful findings, ranging from the morphological characteristics and mineral properties of infant herbs to the chemical compositions of essential oils extracted from plant leaves.


Funmilola Mabel OJO


Among my notable research contributions are studies on the proximate and anti-nutritional properties of Basella species, stem anatomical studies of Talinum species, and chemical compositions of essential oils from Bambusa vulgaris leaves. Through my investigations, I have shed light on the nutritional value, anatomical features, and medicinal properties of various plant species, offering insights that could inform agricultural practices, food security initiatives, and pharmaceutical developments.

My research extends beyond laboratory investigations to fieldwork and collaboration with international research institutions. I have presented my findings at prestigious conferences worldwide, including the Society for Ethnobotany's Fall Members-Only Virtual Symposium, the South African Association of Botany conference, different Botany meetings in the US, plant meetings in the UK, and the Alexander Von Humboldt Conferences in Nigeria to mention but a few. My participation in these events not only showcases my research but also fosters collaboration and knowledge exchange within the global scientific community. I am an active members of scientific associations including: Botanical Science of America (BSA), Botanical Society of Nigeria (BOSON), MSPT Planting Science under Botanical Society of America (BSA), The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), South African Association of Botanists (SAAB), American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), and the Society for Ethnobotany (SEB).

I am currently at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as a postdoctoral visitor sponsored by TETFUND, Nigeria. I am poised to embark on a new phase of my research journey, driven by a passion for exploration and discovery. My future research plan encompasses a diverse array of botanical topics, including the evaluation and exploitation of indigenous crop plant diversity for food security, the assessment of radiological health impacts of commonly consumed plants, and the study of plant genetics and cytogenetics.

With my multidisciplinary approach and dedication to excellence, I aim at making significant contributions to the fields of botany, agriculture, and biotechnology. Through my research, I seek to address pressing challenges such as food insecurity, environmental degradation, and public health concerns, ultimately striving to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

In conclusion, my scientific accomplishments underscore me as an upcoming trailblazer in botanical research. With my expertise, passion, and vision, I will continue to push the boundaries of knowledge and pave the way for innovative solutions to global challenges.


Funmilola Mabel OJO

Funmilola taking high-quality pictures under a stereoscope of herbarium specimens that show trichome structures


How Funmilola got interested in the botanical sciences:

I became interested in botanical sciences for a variety of reasons, driven by a combination of personal experiences, values, and aspirations. As a child, I developed an early interest in plants and nature through gardening with my maternal grandpa, exploring the outdoors with him during holidays. The incredible diversity, beauty, and complexity of the plant world sparked my curiosity and wonder, inspiring me to learn more about plants and their ecological significance. My passion for plants and the natural world continues to fuel my dedication to studying, understanding, and protecting the rich tapestry of plant life on our planet. 


Funmilola Mabel OJO


Funmilola's advice for those just starting their botanical journey:

Take the time to learn about the specific needs of your career growth. Practice Patience, do not be discouraged by setbacks or slow growth—celebrate each new leaf and milestone along the way.

Pay attention to details, do not be afraid to try new things and experiment with different plants, techniques, and growing conditions. Every plant and environment are unique, so embrace the learning process and enjoy the journey of discovery. Connect with fellow plant lovers- Join online communities, attend annual plant meetings, and connect with fellow plant enthusiasts to share tips, experiences, and inspiration. Building a support network of like-minded individuals can enhance your botanical journey and provide valuable insights and advice. Remember, botany is not only about growing plants, it is about nurturing a connection with nature, finding joy in the process, and cultivating a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the natural world. Enjoy the journey, embrace the ups and downs, and let your botanical journey unfold at its own pace.

Funmilola's other passions:

I am passionate about sharing the knowledge and passion for plants with younger generations through teaching, leading nature walks, giving talks, or involvement in workshops and educational programs.

I do spend quiet time outdoors, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of nature and connecting with the natural world on a personal level with my son.


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