Professor Cyril Enwonwu

Professor Enwonwu has, for several years, studied the cellular and molecular effects of food nutrients, particularly the micronutrients, in human and experimental animals (including nonhuman primates). The specific areas of his team’s interests have included the underlisted, namely:

  1. health problems in resource-poor countries;
  2. the interactions between nutrition, inflammation, infections and immunity as important determinant of oral and systemic health;
  3. perinatal malnutrition and the long term effects on post natal development;
  4. aspects of neurochemical ramifications of protein-energy malnutrition in non-human primates;
  5. impact of nutrition on pre- and post- HAART in HIV-infection/AIDS;
  6. diet/nutrition and human cancer sites;
  7. over the last decade, Enwonwu has lead a team of investigators from the University of Maryland, The Founding Campus, the World Health Organization (Geneva, Switzerland), the University of Lagos Dental School (Nigeria), and the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, to explore the etiopathogenesis of NOMA. Our studies have made significant contributions to a better understanding of the potential roles of viruses (eg. Measles, HIV), bacteria (Fusobacterium necrophorum, Prevotella intermedia), parasites (Plasmodium falciparum), host factors (prenatal/neonatal malnutrition) and close residential proximity to livestock, in the genesis of the very destructive disease. With the basic data obtained, we have now embarked on rational preventive measures against the disease, in collaboration with indigeneous professionals resident in the affected countries. Our team from the university, in collaboration with other Non-Governmental Organizations, played a key role in lobbying the Sokoto State Government of Nigeria to establish a special Noma Children Hospital based in Sokoto City. This hospital serves the needs of Nigeria and other neighboring countries. Professor Enwonwu had the honor of serving as the Honorary Founding Chairman of the International Governing Board of the hospital (1999-2004);
  8. other studies: we are still analyzing the large volume of data collected during our studies on noma, and the systemic diseases (malaria, measles, etc.) that precede noma. Of particular interest is the relationship between malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) and aggressive periodontitis in young adults.