PROFESSOR MARIAN DORCAS QUAIN OF CSIR-CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE HONOURED AT OFAB AWARDS
Professor Marian Dorcas Quain, a Chief Research Scientist of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Crop Research Institute (CRI), and nine other nominees have been honoured at the 2022 Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Awards. OFAB, a project of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), awarded the nominees during a ceremony to mark the 2nd OFAB Day, an annual event held in Accra, for their contributions to the prosperity of farming in Africa.
This year’s OFAB Day was on the theme: “The Role of Biotechnology in Achieving Africa’s Development Aspirations.” OFAB, now operating in 10 African countries, convenes stakeholders contributing to the biotechnology space to share knowledge and experiences in creating awareness on agricultural biotechnology in the achievement of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the Malabo Declaration, and the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).
The nominees were carefully selected by OFAB chapter countries in consultation with OFAB boards, they include former Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, one of the African biotechnology heroes, awarded for supporting farmers’ rights to access modern agricultural technologies and innovations.
Prof. Quain is a plant biotechnologist with expertise in plant physiology, tissue culture, molecular biology, genetic engineering and biosafety. A visibly elated Prof Quain, in her remarks, highlighted her unpopular journey of using biotechnology tools to improve crops over years but which is being celebrated today as an important tool to transform Africans Agriculture. She thanked AATF for the significant recognition, adding that it gives her impetus to innovate more and to better the lives of farmers.
AATF is contributing to the wealth and health of Africa’s smallholder farmers, showing how progress is possible when governments, NGOs, the private sector, researchers and farmers work together to unleash technology that targets specific production challenges and opportunities.
PROFILE OF PROF QUAIN
Professor Marian Dorcas Quain is a renowned biotechnologist with expertise in tissue culture, genetic transformation, plant physiology, molecular biology, cryopreservation, and aeroponics. She holds a PhD in Botany-Plant Physiology, an MPhil in Botany-Physiology as well as a BSc. in Botany-Zoology-all from the University of Ghana, Legon. She carried out certain aspects of her PhD research studies at the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal Howard Campus in Durban, South Africa as well as the Tuskegee University of Alabama, USA as a fellow of the Third World Organization for Women Science.
She served as a teaching and a research assistant during her national service at the Department of Botany of the University of Ghana, Legon in 1991 and also after her M.Phil. in 1994. She was a research scientist in charge of field sanitation at the Paradise Farms Ltd, Ghana which produced organic papaya for export to Europe (1995-1996).
Prof. Quain joined the CSIR-Crops Research Institute in 1996 and immediately started running the Institute’s tissue culture laboratory. Over the years, she has worked on numerous crops focusing on utilizing tissue culture techniques for the production of clean planting materials, germplasm conservation and the use of molecular tools for crop diversity, disease diagnostics and molecular marker assisted selection to facilitate current state-of-the-art breeding using transcriptomics and proteomics, as well as application of recombinant gene technology for crop improvement.
She started the molecular biology laboratory of the Institute in 2006 and is currently the leader of the Biotechnology Research Program at the Institute.
Prof. Marian Quain is currently the principal investigator for the Yam Improvement for Income/Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA II) project, the Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA II) project as well as the Conservation of African Sweetpotato Landraces Genebank Platform project. She has played key roles in the development and release of over thirty (30) crop varieties of sweetpotato, groundnut, rice, taro and cocoyam. She was part of research teams that worked to develop and release popular varieties such as CRI-Obooshi, CRI–Mayeyie, CRI-Ena Pa, Crops Nkatie, CRI-Kofi Annan and CRI-Agyenkwa.
Prof. Quain has authored over one hundred scientific publications comprising refereed journal papers, books, book chapters, conference papers, production guides, technical reports and manuals-most of which have been published in very reputable high impact local and international journals.
As a very experienced scientist, she has trained several technicians and researchers in the application of biotechnology in research. She also consults and contributes expertise to the running of a number of tissue culture and molecular biology laboratories in a number of organizations in Ghana.
Prof Marian Quain is an award-winning scientist with several awards under her belt. In 2013, she was adjudged the National Best Research Scientist by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA). She also won the American Society for Plant Biologists Award for Excellence in Education for her outstanding contributions to plant biology education.
She is a 2017 Cochran Fellow and a Fellow of the Africa Science Leadership Program for 2017. Under the Schlumberger Foundation Fellowship for Future Faculty, Marian was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Leeds University, UK, between 2011 and 2013.
Prior to her appointment as the Deputy Director of the Institute, she previously served as the head of the Biotechnology, Seed and Post-harvest division of the Institute. She has also served and continuous to serve on numerous committees as well.
Prof Quain is a Chief Research Scientist and an associate professor at the CSIR College for Science and Technology (CCST), Ghana, as well as a part-time lecturer at the Pan African University Institute of Life and Earth Sciences, Ibadan, Nigeria. She is currently the only female Chief Research Scientist at the Institute. She has also supervised and served as an external examiner for several undergraduate and post-graduate students. She is currently the chairperson for CSIR Basic School Management Board. She is married with a child.
Prof. Marian Quain has the following local and international affiliations:
Member, Ghana Science Association
Member ,The American Society of Plant Biologists
Member ,Research Staff Association of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
Member, International Society for Seed Science (ISSS)
Member ,Society for in vitro Biology (SIVB)
Member, Gamma Sigma Delta Tuskegee University Alabama USA Chapter
Member, International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS)