ALD21: Professor Omowunmi Sadik, Chemist and Inventor

Professor Omowunmi Sadik

Professor Omowunmi “Wunmi” Sadik is a Nigerian chemist and inventor who has developed an “electronic nose” – microelectrode biosensors that can detect trace amounts of organic materials and is used for detecting drugs and explosives. She has also developed a biosensor that can identify the presence of the HIV virus in a matter of minutes rather than the three-to-four days it takes with the ELISHA tests.

Sadik has developed methods for removing toxins such as organochlorine compounds from the environment, and is investigating ways to reclaim metal ions from industrial and environmental waste. Using microbial enzymes, she increased the conversion of highly toxic chromium (VI) to non-toxic chromium (III) from 40% to 98%.

Other research includes examining the whole lifetime impact of nanoparticles used commercially in products such as nano silver-impregnated socks. Silver nanoparticles are believed to have anti-microbial properties, but the consequences of exposure to these particles is poorly understood. Sadik is using conducting polymer membranes to trap or filter silver and other nanoparticles to help study how they behave in the environment and the human body.

Sadik co-founded and is currently president of the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organisation, a non-profit organisation which promotes the development and advancement of sustainable nanotechnology in all parts of the world. She was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2010 and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2012.

You can follow her work here:


Further reading

Posted in Ada Lovelace Day 2021.