Omowunmi Sadik is a chemist and the inventor of microelectrode biosensors, which is used to detect drugs and explosives.
Growing up in the midst of her brothers, Omowunmi had great support from her parents, especially her father who trained her through school and supported her interests in sciences.
In 1985, she received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Lagos and her master’s degree in chemistry in 1987. In 1994, she received her Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Wollongong.
Omowunmi is currently a professor at Binghamton University in the US, where she is working on the development of technologies for recycling metal ions from waste, for environmental and industrial purpose.
Sadik studies surface chemistry with emphasis on the development of biosensors for use in environmental chemistry. She found that conducting polymers are especially promising for use in sensing applications.
She developed microelectrode biosensors sensitive to tracing amounts of organic materials, which can be used for drug and bomb detection, as well as the study of detoxification mechanisms of wastes such as organochlorine compounds in the environment.
Last year, she became the fourth woman and the first female scientist to be so honoured with the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award. The award recognised her accomplishments in science, innovation/research, her international professional leadership and her passion for developing sustainable solutions to Nigeria’s educational and research needs.
The award also applauded the quality of her groundbreaking works in biosensors, nanotechnology and environmental science.
From 1994 to 1996, a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Research Council supported her as a researcher at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She also became director of the Center for Advanced Sensors & Environmental Systems at Binghamton.
In 2003, she became the first Nigerian American to receive the distinguished Harvard University Radcliffe Fellowship. In 2010, she became a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in the United Kingdom.
She is a Fellow of many prestigous international scientific organisations and the President and Co-founder of the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organisation, a non-profit international professional society dedicated to advancing sustainable nanotechnology around the world.
As the President and co-founder of SNO, she devoted the last five years educating the public and stakeholders on what sustainable nanotechnology is and how sustainably engineered nanotechnologies can greatly improve society.