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Nigerians In History: Thomas Adesanya Ige Grillo


Thomas Adesanya Ige Grillo was born on January 29, 1927, in Lagos, Nigeria. The son of J. Aina Osaoba and V. Adenike Omolara (Serrano) Grill. He was the First professor of Anatomy in Nigeria.

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Professor Thomas Adesanya Ige Grillo was importantly the founding Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, now College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, Osun state. He was considered a legend both in his field and Institution. He was legendary for insisting on excellence and had zero tolerance for error.


He studied at Baptist Academy, Lagos and Hope Waddell Training Institution, Calabar for his primary and secondary Educations respectively. He continued his studies at City College Norfolk, England.

He was then admitted to Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, St. Stephen Green, Dublin, Ireland. He subsequently got his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, at St. John’s College, Cambridge, England, in 1960. Doctor of Science, Trinity College, Dublin, 1972. Doctor of Medicine, University College, Dublin, 1993.


A few notable aspects of his sterling career included the following:

  • He was Supervisor St. John’s College, Cambridge, England, 1955-1960.
  • He was an Assistant professor at Stanford University, California, 1960-1961.
  • He was a Professor of Anatomy at the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), 1966-1972.
  • He was also a Professor, dean foundation University Ife (Nigeria), 1972-1990. Prf.,
  • Professor Ige Grillo was also the principal, College Medicine, Sierra Leone, 1988-1992.
  • He was a Fellow Churchill College, Cambridge, England, 1992-1994.
  • Grillo was also Professor Emeritus Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
  • He was a Consultant Pathologist at Ife University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria, 1975-1984.
  • He was also a Consultant for the World Health Organization, Africa, 1973-1986.

Publications and articles

Book The Evolution of Pancreatic Islets (Proceedings of a Symposium held at Leningrad 1975)

Editor: Journal University Ibadan, 1962–1972

Evolution of the Pancreatic Islet, 1976.


Chieftain Basheguy of Ilesha (Nigeria), 1981.

Fellow Science Association Nigeria (editor journal. 1966-1972)

Nigerian Academy of Sciences (editor journal.1972-1985).

Member Royal College Surgeons (Ireland, licensed, Visiting Professor 1995, French-O’Carroll Medal 1953)

Royal College Physicians (licensed, Ireland),

Anatomical Society Brittany and Ireland

Endocrinology Society Nigeria (President), Oxford and Cambridge University Club.

College of Health Sciences, Ile Ife

The college was pioneered by Professor Ige Grillo. Since its inception in 1972, the College of Health Sciences (then Faculty of Health Sciences) has made major contributions to the supply of highly trained medical graduates, especially to the Nigerian health sector.

Formerly instituted in the then University of Ife in 1971 as the Faculty of Health Sciences, the College has expanded into a Collegiate System formally approved by the University’s Senate in 1995 and comprises three Faculties and one Institute.

Over the years, the College has enjoyed the service of senior faculty members who are committed to its core aims. The educational and administrative policy of the College fully embraces the traditional tripod of education, research and service with greater emphasis placed on service. To this end, faculty members have done more than just teaching.

They have improved health care through novel roles as scholars and physicians. They have also helped develop new and improved curricula and educational models that address emerging needs in the health sector.

Coupled with an affiliation agreement with one of the prominent hospital unit in the country, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife (then Ife University Teaching Hospitals Complex), the College has produced over 5000 empathetic medical practitioners, nurses and dentists who are effective health team players and can assume and play leadership roles in health care delivery through the efficient application of their expertise.

The College is undaunted in its aim to train health care personnel who can work as a team, provide comprehensive health care to individuals in any community (urban or rural); and be up-to-date on issues of global health relevance.


Professor Ige Grillo died on October 21st, 1998.


Oauife NG

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Jeremiah Aluwong

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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