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Associate Professor of Radiology, Godwin Ogbole has arrived on a six-month visit to the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, as part of the Africa Oxford Initiative.

Godwin Ogbole and colleagues at a desk looking at a computer screen
Associate Professor Godwin Ogbole (centre) and radiology residents at University College Hospital Ibadan, Nigeria

Godwin Ogbole teaches at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. As well as teaching diagnostic neuroradiology to medical students, he works as a Consultant Neuroradiologist at the affiliated University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan. In terms of research, his major interests are stroke, dementia and paediatric epilepsy. He is also keen on improving the quality of brain imaging research in Africa and more recently has become fascinated by applying machine learning tools to his work.

One of his academic colleagues, who had benefited from the Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx), first told him about it. AfOx strives to encourage equitable research collaborations between Africa-based researchers and researchers at the University of Oxford. Their Visiting Fellowship Programme, which assists African academics in spending time at Oxford, was established to improve academic mobility and network building.

When Godwin first heard about AfOx, he was keen to discover whether there was any work going on in Oxford in his areas of interest, which would make a Visiting Fellowship worthwhile. He contacted Michael Chappell, now at the University of Nottingham but previously at Oxford, having heard from a colleague that he was a pioneer of a particular technique known as Arterial Spin Labelling (ASL). Professor Chappell suggested that Godwin would be interested in the work of Peter Jezzard and our Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. So this is how Godwin came to cite Peter as a potential host on his application form.

It was heart-warming to hear Godwin say 'In my more than twenty-year career and having visited a number of other countries in Europe and the Americas, I have never met a more wonderful host than Peter', who has taken such care to welcome him to Oxford. As well as expressing concern over his experience of the food and the weather, Peter has already introduced Godwin to a 'mountain of people' and is prepared to assist him in navigating the 'Oxford academic climate' while he is here.

Godwin has high hopes for his visit. His overarching ambition is to bridge the gap between African scholars' ideas for advanced MRI research, and the current lack of local facilities to enable them to be carried out. He is keen to establish a long-term research collaboration with Oxford researchers. Such a partnership could eventually help to leverage funding for an MRI research hub in Africa. Godwin's vision is for a centre with up to date equipment which researchers from around Africa could use, with the help of seasoned global research mentors and innovators. This would mean that locally relevant research questions could be addressed, thereby improving healthcare systems in Africa.

The practical steps towards achieving this vision are already under way. Godwin and his Canadian collaborator, Udunna Anazodo, recently obtained funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) 'Strengthening MRI Education & Research in African Countries' to start a 'Consortium for the Advancement of MRI Education and Research in Africa' (CAMERA). Godwin will use his visit to Oxford to build this network.

Godwin is attached to University College while he is here, and was amazed to find that he is staying just a stone's throw from where Thomas Willis made his seminal discoveries about the brain over four hundred years ago. Godwin describes his experience of being in Oxford as an overwhelming feeling of 'walking inside history'. He's looking forward to visiting Christ Church to see the location of the Harry Potter movies, and sending some pictures to his children, who will be very impressed.

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