UG Senior Lecturer Dr. Richard Kwamla Amewu Appointed Member of the Malaria Drug Accelerator (MalDA)

Dr. Richard Kwamla Amewu, a Senior Lecturer and leader of the Drug Innovation Group at the Department of Chemistry, has been appointed as a member of the Malaria Drug Accelerator (MalDA). This appointment highlights his significant international contributions to malaria research.

Dr. Amewu will be the representative of the University of Ghana within MalDA. His appointment follows a presentation at the semi-annual meeting of MalDA in December 2023, where he shared his initial work on discovering novel early leads for the treatment of malaria. His appointment was confirmed after the Pro Vice-Chancellor (RID) signed a Sharing and Collaborative Agreement on behalf of the University of Ghana with MalDA.

MalDA is a network of eminent researchers and institutions working on innovative solutions for malaria.

The consortium comprises institutions such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Medicines for Malaria Ventures (MMV); Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; University of California, San Diego; Columbia University; Washington University at St. Louis; GlaxoSmithKline; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Other institutions include Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (WCAIR) at the University of Dundee; Holistic Drug Discovery and Development (H3D) Centre; University of Cape Town; Pennsylvania State University; the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute; TropIQ Health Sciences; Calibr at Scripps Research; Lgenia; and Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research.

Dr. Richard Kwamla Amewu

The appointment will enable Dr. Amewu to join the distinguished institutions and their representatives, as well as collaborate on advancing the drug discovery pipeline for malaria. By joining the consortium, he will have access to vast resources, expertise and the opportunity to network with other researchers in the field. Moreover, his unique insights and experience will enrich the consortium and benefit the current members, who are eager to learn and exchange ideas with him.

In a short interview with the news team at UG’s Public Affairs Directorate, Dr. Amewu expressed his excitement about the appointment, stating “I have been researching malaria drug discovery for a very long time and it is an honour to be among globally recognised scientists in the MalDA group. This is very exciting news for me and a major milestone as far as my career and research in malaria drug discovery is concerned”.

Dr. Amewu mentioned that since the appointment is open-ended, and he will represent the University on the committee, for as long as his contributions remain relevant in the field of malaria drug discovery.

He adds, “This is a significant opportunity for the University of Ghana, as it is one of the few institutions across the continent participating in the consortium which I see as a great privilege for both me and the University of Ghana”.

Other eminent malaria researchers representing their institutions include Dr. Gang Liu, Prof. Elizabeth A. Winzeler, Dr. Brice Campo, Prof. Dyann F. Wirth, Prof. David Fidock, Prof. Daniel Goldberg, Dr. Javier Gamo, Pof. Marcus Lee, and Prof. Jacquin C. Niles. The rest are Prof. Ian Gilbert, Prof. Manuel Llinás, Prof. Kelly Chibale, Dr. Koen Dechering, Dr. Case McNamara, Dr. Philip Hipskind, and Dr. Thierry Diagana.

Dr. Richard Kwamla Amewu joined the University of Ghana in November 2013 after over a decade at Liverpool University in the United Kingdom. His background is in Medicinal Chemistry focusing on the discovery of new medicines for communicable and non-communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and cancer amongst others.

The University of Ghana views this appointment, which is a significant opportunity for Dr. Amewu, as an avenue to further contribute to advancing malaria research and education. The University looks forward to his continued impact on the global stage in the medical sciences.