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Lanre Morenikeji

Lanre Morenikeji
Lanre Morenikeji
Assistant Professor of Biology

Division of Biological and Health Sciences

Contact Information:
Email: obm3@pitt.edu
Phone: 814-362-5135
Location: 203F Fisher Hall

Degrees and Credentials

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Genomics & Immunology

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
08/2018-12/2019

Ph.D. Animal Genetics & Genomics
Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
2013 – 2017

Pre-Doctoral Fellow
Animal Genomics & Bioinformatics

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
2015 – 2016

M.Sc. Animal Breeding & Genetics
Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
2009 – 2011

B.Sc. Animal Production and Health
Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
2002 – 2008

Short Bio

Primary research interest include; systems immunology, molecular biology and computational genomics.

As a faculty, teaching and research are my main career passions. For several years, I have been dedicated to applying both experimental and computational genomics approaches to understand the underlying mechanism of phenotypic and genotypic differences shaped by the evolutionary forces and elucidating biological pathways of complex trait expression in animals and humans.

Specifically, my research has focused on perturbation of innate immune gene expression due to variations in host-pathogen interactome which could be deployed for disease surveillance and potential diagnostic biomarkers, vaccine production or as drug targets. My current research interests included identification of naturally occurring variants within genome for disease tolerance, deciphering the role of non-coding RNAs in immune gene regulation, and development of a network-based pipelines to elucidating crosstalk among regulatory elements (such as lncRNA, miRNA and TFs) associated with immune response in infectious disease progression and outcome.

Up till date, I have mentored more than 30 undergraduate students, many of which have also proceeded to either the graduate schools, pursuing careers in all areas of biology or ended up in industries. My goal as a professor is to engage students in real research, working one-on-one with them, providing open access and mentorship, being a positive role model and giving my time and energy to make sure my students succeed in and outside the classroom. This is key to training the next generation of scientists.

Academic Focus

Area of expertise: genomics, functional genomics, epigenetics, immunology, bioinformatics, disease/complex trait expression, transcriptional control, population genomics, genome stability, genome evolution and comparative genomics.

Research, Accomplishments, and Publications

Please see my google scholar or the list below:
Google Scholar

PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS (* denotes student co-authors)

  1. Kutchy NA, Morenikeji OB, Ugur MR, Lesch B, Memili E. Deciphering sperm functions using biological networks. Veterinary World 2021 (accepted)
  2. Bhalla M, Heinzinger LR, Morenikeji OB, Marzullo B, Thomas BN, Bou Ghanem EN. Transcriptome profiling reveals CD73 and age-driven changes in neutrophil responses against Streptococcus pneumoniae. Infection and Immunity 2021; doi: 10.1128/IAI.00258-21
  3. *Ayoola AO, Zhang B, Meisel RP, Nneji LM, Shao Y, Morenikeji OB, Adeola AC, Dganga S, Roos C, Ogunjemite BG, Okeyoyin AO, Mittermeier RA, Wu D. Population genomics reveals incipient speciation and introgression in the Mona monkey (Cercopithecus mona) of African Guenon. Molecular Biology and Evolution 2021; 38 (8), 876-890; https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa248
  4. Morenikeji OB, *Bernard K, *Strutton E, *Wallace M and Thomas BN. Evolutionarily conserved long non-coding RNA regulates gene expression in cytokine storm during COVID-19. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 2021; 8, 582953; doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2020.582953
  5. Morenikeji OB, *Wallace M, *Strutton E, *Bernard K, *Yip E and Thomas BN. Integrative network analysis of predicted miRNA-targets regulating expression of immune response genes in bovine coronavirus infection. Frontiers in Genetics 2020; 11, 584392; doi: 10.3389/fgene.2020.584392
  6. Peters SO, Hussain T, Adenaike AS, Hazzard J, Morenikeji OB, De Donato M, Paul S, Babar M, Yakubu A, Imumorin IG. Evolutionary pattern of interferon alpha genes in Bovidae and genetic diversity IFNAA in the bovine genome. Frontiers in Immunology 2020; 11,580412; doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.580412
  7. Morenikeji OB, *Strutton E, *Wallace M, *Bernard K, *Yip E, and Thomas BN. Dissecting transcription factor-target interaction in bovine coronavirus infection. Microorganisms 2020; 8, 1323; doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8091323
  8. *Adegbaju MS, Morenikeji OB, Borrego EJ, Hudson AO, Thomas BN. Differential evolution of α-Glucan Water Dikinase (GWD) in plants. Plants 2020; 9, 1101; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091101
  9. Morenikeji OB *Metelski JL, Thomas BN. Significant upregulation of signaling and pro-inflammatory markers indicate adaptation for tolerance in bovine trypanosomosis. Journal of Immunology 2020; 92(1), 7
  10. Morenikeji OB, Ajayi OO, Peters SO, Mujibi FD, De Donato, Thomas BN, Imumorin IG. RNA-seq profiling of skin in temperate and tropical cattle. Journal of Animal Science and Technology 2020; 62:141-158 https://doi.org/10.5187/jast.2020.62.2.141
  11. Morenikeji OB, *Metelski JL, *Hawkes ME, *Capria AL, *Seamans BN, Falade CO, Ojurongbe O, Thomas BN. CD209 and not CD28 or STAT6 polymorphism mediates clinical malaria and parasitemia among children from Nigeria. Microorganisms 2020; 8,158. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8020158
  12. Morenikeji OB, *Capria AL, Ojurongbe O, Thomas BN. SNP diversity in CD14 gene promoter reveals possible evidence of adaptation footprints in trypanotolerant N'Dama (Bos taurus) but not susceptible White Fulani (Bos indicus) cattle. Genes 2020; 11,112. doi: 10.3390/genes11010112
  13. Morenikeji OB, *Hawkes ME, Hudson AO, Thomas BN. Computational network analysis identifies evolutionarily conserved miRNA-gene interaction potentially regulating immune response in bovine trypanosomiasis. Frontiers in Microbiology 2019; 10:2010 https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.02010
  14. Morenikeji OB, Thomas BN. In silico analysis of CD14 molecule reveals significant evolutionary diversity potentially associated with speciation and variable immune response in mammals. PeerJ 2019; 7:e7325 doi: 10.7717/peerj.7325
  15. *Seamans BN, *Pellechio SL, *Capria AL, *Agyingi SE, Morenikeji OB, Ojurongbe O, Thomas BN. Genetic diversity of CD14, CD28, CTLA-4 and ICOS gene promoter polymorphism in African and American sickle cell disease. Human Immunology 2019; pii: S0198-8859(19)30556-7 doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2019.08.005
  16. Morenikeji OB and Thomas BN. Disease tolerance and immune response in bovine trypanosomiasis is mediated by CD14 promoter gene. Journal of Immunology 2019; 73(1), 17
  17. Morenikeji OB, Akinyemi MO, Wheto M, *Ogunshola OJ, Badejo AA, Chineke CA. Transcriptome profiling of four candidate milk genes in milk and tissue samples of temperate and tropical cattle. Journal of Genetics 2019; 98:25 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12041-019-1060-y
  18. Morenikeji OB, *Ogunshola OJ, Adu OA, Aro SO, Chineke CA. Genotype and sex effects on the performance characteristics of pigs. International Journal of Livestock Production 2019; 10:127-134 https://doi.org/10.5897/IJLP2015.0254
  19. Ajayi OO, Peters SO, De Donato M, Sowande OS, Mujibi FD, Morenikeji, OB, Thomas BN, Adeleke MA, Imumorin IG.  Computational genome-wide identification of heat shock protein genes in the bovine genome. F1000Research 2018; 7: 1504 doi: 10.12688/f1000research.16058.1
  20. Morenikeji OB, *Ogunshola OJ, Wheto M, Adebayo AA, Chineke CA. Variants mining of Kappa casein (K-CN) and Prolactin (PRL) genes among four indigenous cattle breeds in Nigeria. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research 2018; 9: 1907 ISSN 2229-5518
  21. Morenikeji OB, *Oghate EB, *Adetunbi AJ, *Ogunshola OJ, Chineke CA. Association of kappa-casein genotype and the linear parameter in two indigenous Bos indicus cattle in Nigeria. Open Journal of Agricultural Science 2018; 1:12 Article Ref. No.: 01201801116
  22. Morenikeji OB, Chineke CA, Adu OA, Aro SO. Genetic correlation and heritabilities of performance traits among three pig genotypes. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research 2013; 4(3):120-129 ISSN 2229-5518
  23. Morenikeji OB, Adu OA, Chineke CA. Body weight prediction of three pig genotypes using linear body measurements. Applied Tropical Agriculture 2012; 17 (2):154-159

PEER-REVIEWED ABSTRACTS/CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

  1. Morenikeji OB, *Tucker AR, *Salazar NA, *Ayoola AO, Thomas BN. Regulatory network of miRNAs, lncRNAs and target genes associated with immune response in bovine mastitis. The Annual Meeting of The American Association of Immunologists, Virtual IMMUNOLOGY2021. May 10-15, 2021
  2. *Wallace M, *Strutton E, *Bernard K, *Yip E, Morenikeji OB. Evolutionary elucidation of conserved miRNA-targets potentially regulating immune gene expression in bovine coronavirus infection. Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), The Virtual Experience. November 9-13, 2020.
  3. *Strutton E, *Wallace M, *Bernard K, *Yip E, Morenikeji OB. Identification of potential transcription factor-target interaction in bovine coronavirus infection. Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), The Virtual Experience. November 9-13, 2020.
  4. *Bernard K, *Yip E, *Strutton E, *Wallace M, Morenikeji OB. Characterizing possible type I interferon regulators in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), The Virtual Experience. November 9-13, 2020.
  5. * Metelski JL, * Hawkes ME, Morenikeji OB, Thomas BN. Extensive interethnic diversity of the CD36 (rs3211938) gene polymorphism is associated with clinical malaria but not disease covariates. Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), Anaheim, CA. November 13-16, 2019.
  6. * Hawkes ME, * Metelski JL, Morenikeji OB, Thomas BN. Genomic dissection of trypanosome internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-1 gene in disease-tolerant cattle. Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), Anaheim, CA. November 13-16, 2019.
  7. Morenikeji OB, Thomas BN. In silico network analysis reveals significantly conserved miRNA-gene interactions during bovine trypanosomosis. 22nd Annual Upstate New York Immunology Conference, Cooperstown, NY. October 27-30, 2019
  8. Morenikeji, OB, *Capria AL, *Pellechio SL, Thomas BN. SNP density at CD14 gene promoter activates a higher downstream expression which mediate disease tolerance and immune response in bovine trypanosomiasis. UNYTE Translational Genomics and Proteomics. An Un-Meeting, Rochester, NY. March 13, 2019
  9. Purwantara B, Morenikeji OB, Duryadi D, Rosyada Z, Indriastuti R, Lestari CT, Satrio F, Memili E. Genomic diversity of native cattle breeds in Indonesia. 27th International Conference on Plant and Animal Genomes, San Diego, CA. January 12 – 16, 2019
  10. Morenikeji OB, *Oghate EB, *Adetunbi AJ, *Ogunshola OJ, Chineke CA. Identification of kappa-casein genotype in two indigenous Nigerian cattle. Proceedings of the 7th Animal Science Association of Nigeria-Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (ASAN-NIAS) Joint Annual Meeting, September 9th-13th, 2018; Ilorin. Pp: 140 – 143.
  11. Morenikeji OB, Ajayi OO, Akinyemi MO, Peters SO, Mujibi FD, Wheto M, Ikeobi CON, Thomas BN. Imumorin IG. Comparative expression analysis of heat-adaptation candidate genes in thermoregulatory tissues of temperate and tropical cattle. 25nd International Conference on Plant and Animal Genomes, San Diego, CA. January 14 – 18. 2017.

HONORS & AWARDS

  • 2021 American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Minority Scientist Award
  • 2020 Judges Travel Award, Annual Biomedical Research Conference of Minority Students 
  • 2020 American Association of Immunologist (AAI) Travel Award 
  • 2019 Judges Travel Award, Annual Biomedical Research Conference of Minority Students 
  • 2019 American Association of Immunologist (AAI) Travel Award 
  • 2018 - 2019 American Association of Immunologist Career Development Fellowship
  • 2018 Judges Travel Award, Annual Biomedical Research Conference of Minority Students 
  • 2015 - 2016 Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Visiting Fellowship of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Cornell University, Ithaca, NY