Professor Isabella Quakyi Receives Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award

Prof. Isabella Quakyi receiving her award

Prof. Isabella Quakyi, Professor of Immunology and Parasitology has received the 2014 Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award for women for the Western Africa Region at an awards ceremony held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Prof. Quakyi, who is the founding Dean of the University Of Ghana School Of Public Health, was selected as the winner in the field of Life and Earth Sciences, at the end of the jury session held recently.

The prestigious African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards Programme was launched by the African Union Commission on 9th September 2008. The objective of the programme is to give out scientific awards to top African Scientists for their scientific achievements and valuable discoveries and findings.  The programme is implemented at national level for young researchers, regional level for women Scientists and continental level for women Scientists and continental level open to all Scientists.  The continental level is highest level of programme.

Prof. Isabella Quakyi completed her PhD in Immunoparasitology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of London, England, in 1980 and returned to the University of Ghana Medical School, as a lecturer in immunology and established the immunology unit at NMIMR. She is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and immediate past member of the Ghana Health Service Council.

Professor Quakyi’s research and teaching over the past 3 decades focused on malaria: immunity, immunoepidemiology, immunopathology, immunodiagnosis, autoimmunity, molecular immunology and vaccine development. Her contributions to the field of malaria Immunoparasitology and cellular and molecular immunology include cloning of Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein and subsequent peptide vaccine development, these events led to testing of the first human malaria vaccine. Her research provided the first direct immunological evidence that the 230kDa gametocyte antigen (Pfs 230) is a major target of transmission blocking immunity.

Her work was also central to the cloning, sequencing and vaccine development of the 25kDa (Pfs 25) ookinete protein of P. falciparum. She mapped B cell and T cell epitopes on Pfs25 by the use of synthetic peptides more immunogenic by the use of adjuvant and cytokine IL2. She served as the Director of the School of Public Health from 2002 to August 2006 and then, as the first Dean of the School from August 2006 to July 2007, also making her the first female to be made Dean in the College of Health Sciences.

Professor Quakyi has over 60 publications in peer review journals, has received a number of awards and serves on a number of national and international boards and committees. She was elected the First Woman Commonwealth Travel Fellow in 1982, president of the Immunology Society of Ghana, and member of several WHO/TDR Steering Committees, including the Strategic Discovery Research, Pathogenesis and Applied Genomics, Vaccine Discovery Research, Research Strengthening Group, RCS Plus and South/South collaboration, UNESCO’ AAU Chair for Women in Science and Technology in West Africa, 2004 to present. Professor Isabella Quakyi retired in July 2007 and is on post-retirement contract at the School of Public Health, University of Ghana. Currently she is the Chair of the Malaria Vaccine Technical Group and PATH/ MVI Vaccine Science Portfolio Advisory Council (VSPAC) Member. Professor Quakyi is a staunch Christian interested in the activities of the youth and in this direction, has supported the National Union of Anglican Students (NUAS) in many of their programmes.

Hearty Congratulations to Professor Isabella Quakyi for making the University of Ghana proud.

prof. quakyi receiving certificate