Under Phase I, a total of three (3) calls for applications were announced. This attracted a total of forty-two (42) applications, out of which twenty-one (21) fellowships were awarded under the programme to UG faculty members from the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and faculty members working on infectious diseases from other parts of the University.
Under the Phase II, a total of 38 applications were received 14 were awarded under the CAPREx programme.
In 2012, the CAPREx programme announced the 1st call for applications which yielded a total of nine (9) applications out of which seven (7) UG faculty members were successfully selected and placed as Post-doctoral fellows on the program. The fellows were selected based on their eligibility, academic achievements, career path, research experience, publications, originality of ideas and the impact of the fellowship on their individual careers, institution and the society at large.
The first cohort of the awards was made in May 2012 to six (6) UG Faculty members from the former Faculties of Science and Engineering Sciences as well as the School of Agriculture. The fellowship provided an opportunity for the fellows to spend between 1 and 6 months at the University of Cambridge to work with their Cambridge collaborators on specific research topics which are expected to help build research capacities in their respective UG Departments.
Department of Material Science and Engineering
Dr. Dodoo-Arhin, during his fellowship, worked with Dr. Tawfique Hassan of the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge on the project titled “Graphene Based Natural Dye Sensitized Solar Cells”.
The project sought to investigate novel techniques in fabricating graphene-based counter electrode natural DSSC with improved characteristics. Various tropical natural dyes (photosensitizers) from Ghana were investigated and correlated with the solar cell parameters to improve on solar cell performance.
Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
Dr. Manful in collaboration with Dr. Mark Carrington of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge conducted research on “The epidemiology of lifetime infections with trypanosomes in individual cattle in Ghana”.
The project made use of molecular fingerprinting to identify individual trypanosome genotypes and then characterized the epidemiology of the trypanosome populations present in individual cows over their lifetimes. The outcome of this project helped to provide a better understanding of animal trypanosomiasis and trypanosome biology, and aims to contribute to inform control strategies for this disease.
Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
Dr. Ocloo collaborated with Dr. Andrew Murray of the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge on the project “Mitochondria as pharmacological targets for pharmacological and toxicological evaluation of medicinal plant extracts”.This study sought to understand the effect of extracts of Ghana’s medicinal plants on mitochondrial function in vitro. Since mitochondria are also known to be responsible for producing about 90% of cellular energy, they are involved in host of cellular processes and have been implicated in many disease conditions. Mitochondria are also known to be important in drug metabolism, either acting as primary drug targets or secondary targets for drug and could therefore be important targets for finding therapeutic treatment for many non-infectious diseases. In addition, many xenobiotics exert their toxicity through the mitochondria.
Department of Animal Science
Dr. Osei Amponsah’s work on the project titled “Genetic diversity, linkage disequilibrium and genomic selection of the Ashanti dwarf pig of Ghana” was done in collaboration with Professor Nabeel A. Affara and Dr. Carole Sargent, both of the Department of Pathology at the University of Cambridge.
The study aimed to establish that the application of genomic selection tools, contribute to enable genetic characterization and the establishment of a sustainable breeding programme for the Ashanti Dwarf Pig (ADP).
As part of the expectations, the study also sought to establish a breeding programme for the ADP based on the genomic selection scheme developed and also help to build human and institutional capacity in the management and characterization of swine genetic resources among others.
Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
Collaborating with Dr. Finian Leeper of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, Dr. Arthur conducted the project titled “Structural Charazterization of antimycobacterial compounds isolated from wood decaying fungi in Ghana”.
The study sought to search for new sources for new lead antimycobacterial compounds as a means of addressing the global problem presented by the rise in multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and other mycobacteria infections such as buruli ulcer.
The project was designed to set up collaboration to conduct structural studies of isolated antimycobacterial compounds from wood decaying fungi in Ghana which are a good source of isolation of antimycobacterial compounds.
In November 2013, the 2nd Call for expressions of interest for the CAPREx Post-Doctoral Fellowships was announced simultaneously at the University of Ghana and Makerere University in Uganda. For this round, three (3) UG faculty members from the former Faculties of Science and Engineering Sciences were selected for placement on the programme as the 2nd cohort of post-doctoral fellows.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering Sciences
Dr. Abu Yaya in collaboration with Dr. Kevin M. Knowles of the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, Cambridge University on the worked on the study titled “Development of electro-porcelain composites from local raw materials in Ghana”.
The project was aimed at exploring the raw material deposits used in the production of electro-porcelains in Ghana. Electro-porcelain ceramics were formulated from these deposits and the properties of the resultant fired materials were explored in relation to their workability, firing temperature, dielectric and mechanical characteristics and compared with internationally sourced electro-porcelain ceramics.
Through this fellowship, Dr. Yaya acquired the needed skills in order to help establish a composite materials research laboratory which will facilitate the training of students to better appreciate the course on composite fabrication techniques, and also serve as a hub for training undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Engineering sciences.
Department of Animal Biology and Conservation Science
Dr. Aboagye-Antwi collaborated with Dr. Frank Jiggins of the Department Genetics, University of Cambridge on the project titled “Biotic and abiotic factors influencing the costs of plasmodium falciparum infection in Anopheles gambiae s.s.”
Using a field-like set-up, his project investigated the role of An. gambiae s.s. factors and their interaction with environmental stress factors in modulating the fitness cost of P. falciparum infection in the mosquitoes; determined if patterns of survival to the infection may be attributed to mosquito factor(s) dependent expression of the trade-off between stress and immunity.
The project investigated the possible molecular mechanisms leading to the trade-off between resistance to stress and the immune response to Plasmodium falciparum infection in An. gambiae s.s. as well as the molecular architecture of how the trade-off between resistance to stress and P. falciparum infection changes with mosquito age of An. gambiae.
The fellowship provided Dr. Aboagye-Antwi with the opportunity to further explore the subject of Anopheles gambiae stress adoptive mechanisms and their impact on malaria transmission. It has also contributed immensely to knowledge towards the development of effective novel vector control tools. The use of molecular biology approaches such as ultra-sequencing, which has a wide range of applications, in addressing the topic above will further expand his skills sets and aid in the achievement of his goal of using teaching and research to help build human capacity in the developing world towards controlling tropical vector borne human diseases.
At the international level, participating in this programme has helped to facilitate north-south technology transfer that could eventually lead to poverty reduction through improved health.
Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
Dr. Quaye collaborated with Drs. Caroline Trotter and Barbara Blacklaws, both of the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Cambridge on the project titled “Contribution of strain diversity to rotavirus vaccine effectiveness in Ghana: Investigating human rotavirus reservoirs and strain diversity in farm animals”.
The project was aimed at determining the reservoirs of human Group A rotavirus strains in farm animals in Accra as well as investigating the molecular diversity of these animal strains.
Group A rotaviruses are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis among children younger than five years of age. The disease burden is worse in developing than developed countries, and this observation has prompted various explanations which include the incidence of high rotavirus strain diversity in low income countries, among others. Even though the WHO has recommended a worldwide use of two licensed rotavirus vaccines, Rotarix and Rotateq, vaccine trials and post-vaccine era surveillance suggest a stark disparity of vaccine efficacy and effectiveness between developed and developing global regions. In Ghana, as with the case in many developing countries, there is close contact between humans and domestic and/or farm animals, or with the faeces of these animals. These interactions could be prime causes of zoonotic transmission and possibly genetic reassortment which could compromise the efficacy of the vaccines.
This study hypothesized that zoonotic transmission contributes to the high strain diversity in Group A rotaviruses in humans in developing countries. The study was therefore designed to determine reservoirs of human group A rotavirus strains in farm animals (e.g. pig, cow and chicken) in Accra, Ghana, and investigated the molecular diversity of these animal strains.
The 3rd Call for Applications, which was announced in August 2014, attracted a total of sixteen (16) applications out of which ten (10) UG faculty members were selected to receive Early Career Postdoctoral Research Fellowships under the programme.
DR. KEN OKWAE FENING
Soil and Irrigation Research Centre
Dr. Fening is working with Dr. John Peter Carr of the Department of Plant Sciences in exploring the “Role of aphids in the transmission of a suspected viral disease and the disease’s impact on the growth and yield of cabbage in Ghana”.
Dr. Fening in his research discovered a new disease threat to cabbage in Ghana which appears to have the characteristics of an insect-transmitted viral disease. The project aims to test the hypothesis that the causative agent of this new disease is viral in nature. Additionally, it will identify the causative agent and its most important aphid or whitefly vector(s), and assess the impact of the disease by initiating field experiments in Ghana.
The outputs of the project will provide the basis of diagnostic tests and allow for the formulation of sustainable disease management or eradication methods. The project also seeks to contribute to capacity building through training of Dr. Fening in molecular-virological methods and building a collaborative relationship with the University of Ghana. The work is also beneficial to the Cambridge group; allowing the translation of basic research work on plant-virusaphid interactions in a model crucifer (Arabidopsis thaliana) to an important crucifer crop (cabbage).
Working in collaboration with subject-based experts from a world class University, Dr. Fening will be provided with the necessary skills, access to state-of-the- art facilities and equipment, research links and platform to develop himself as an early career Scientist. Additionally, the fellowship will also offer networking opportunities in different fora through the exposure to peers to cross fertilise ideas as well as be useful in attracting additional grants for research. The knowledge and experience obtained from this programme will position Dr. Fening to conduct collaborative demand-driven and action-oriented research as well as better equip him to contribute to the teaching and supervision of both MPhil and PhD students in Entomology at the University of Ghana.
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Kwofie collaborated with Dr. Simon Frost of the Department of Veterinary Medicine, Cambridge Veterinary School on the project titled “Genomics and Bioinformatics of Infectious Pathogens”.
The project sought to use High Performance Computing (HPC) to undertake research in bioinformatics, phylogenetics and genomics of infectious pathogens, including Hepatitis B and C viruses. Specifically, it aimed at using NGS methods to generate entire genomes from hepatitis viruses, elucidate phylogeography patterns of hepatitis virus transmission, perform NGS analysis of host and viral genomes to understand disease pathogenesis and epidemiology and to develop robust bioinformatics pipelines integrating algorithms which facilitate easy and efficient assembly of viral genomes.
Participating in this fellowship enabled Dr. Kwofie to significantly improve his research and teaching capabilities through undertaking collaborative cutting-edge research in bioinformatics and genomics of infectious diseases.
He aims to leverage opportunities emanating from the CAPREx Fellowship to facilitate the establishment of the West African Centre of Excellence for Genomics and Bioinformatics of Infectious Pathogens. This will position him to help establish graduate programs in bioinformatics and genomics, which are currently not offered at the University of Ghana. This could be done through the development of e-learning platforms in bioinformatics and molecular biosciences to support students.
Department of Crop Science
Dr. Nyaku is collaborating with Dr. Uta Paszkowski of the Department of Plant Sciences of University of Cambridge. Dr. Nyaku’s research on the fellowship will investigate “Comparative transcriptome analysis of susceptible and resistant tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) genotypes from Ghana to root nematode (meloidogyne incognita)”.
The study is aimed at understanding the tomato-root knot nematode interactions, with a major emphasis on the root transcriptome and will enhance the current knowledge on the innate immunity and tolerance mechanism used by tomato against root-knot nematodes. Also, the creation of functional genomics resources will enable the identification of cross-talk between various defense pathways in distant tomato species. Dr. Nyaku will also acquire new skills and knowledge that will be shared with his students.
DR. NEILS BEN QUASHIE
Centre for Tropical Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Dr. Quashie worked with Dr. Julian Rayner of the Malaria Programme, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to undertake research on the “Use of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to identify novel antimalarial drug targets”.
Whilst at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Dr. Quashie aimed to learn the CRISPR-Cas9 approach, and apply it to the follow-up of potential new drug targets identified through ongoing large-scale screens. Transfer of the technology to Ghana will allow much more routine generation of transgenic parasites in endemic countries, allowing local follow up of resistance mutations.
Dr. Quashie’s collaboration with renowned scientists would greatly enhance his continuous development as an independent researcher. With his vision of training the next generation of graduate students from Ghana to carry out research into infectious diseases, Dr. Quashie hopes to share/ transfer the knowledge acquired with younger scientists/ students and fellow colleagues at the University of Ghana as well as develop joint research projects with his collaborators in the University of Cambridge for a possible short term exchange of students/scientist between the two institutions.
Department of Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology
Dr. Mosi has a research interest in Buruli ulcer and is working on the project titled “Identification of specific metabolites in Mycobacterium ulcerans infection: exploring potential diagnostic biomarkers” in collaboration with Dr. Jules Griffin of the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Cambridge.
The project aims to characterize the metabolome of M. ulcerans with respect to other mycolactone producing mycobacteria and pathogenic environmental mycobacteria. Specifically, it seeks to characterize the protein and lipid metabolomes of selected mycobacterial species including M. ulcerans and other mycolactone producing mycobacteria. It also seeks to identify key M. ulcerans metabolic markers that can be found only in Buruli ulcer patients. This will ultimately help to identify potential targets for further development as a diagnostic tool.
Through this fellowship, Dr. Mosi aims to obtain increased knowledge and improved research skills which will enhance her career. The knowledge and training acquired under this fellowship will be beneficial to the Department through active teaching and training conducted for the graduate students. Also, this fellowship will provide a platform for fostering partnerships with the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Cambridge to promote work on Buruli ulcer.
DR. DILYS MACCARTHY
Soil and Irrigation Research Centre
Dr. MacCarthy and Professor Howard Griffiths of the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge collaborated on a project to Assess the efficacy of locally produced rice husk biochar in managing Greenhouse gas emissions and the mechanism in improving yield.
The study was aimed at assessing the impact of rice husk biochar produced under local technology in managing Greenhouse gases (GHGs) and characterized it to understand the mechanism of its impact on yield and GHG emissions. It also sought to determine the structural characteristics of the biochar.
Dr. MacCarthy aims to build a network of international scientists from which she could benefit from their expertise and improve on her research output. Through the fellowship, Dr. MacCarthy had access to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, obtained skills on the use of state-of-the-art analytical tools. She also improved her chances of collaborative research work with faculty members from the University of Cambridge. Participating in the fellowship will help to enhance the quality of research output and contribute to eventually to speed up her academic progression.
Immunology Department, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research
With interest in malaria transmission, Dr. Amoah collaborated with Dr. Gavin Wright of the Cell Surface Signalling Laboratory, Wellcome Trust Sanger on the project titled “Development of a rapid sensitive detection tool for the identification of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes in clinical Malaria”.
Dr. Amoah is interested in developing an affordable rapid monoclonal antibody-based sensitive tool for the detection of low levels of late stage gametocytes in the peripheral blood of clinical malaria samples, a tool similar to the rapid diagnostic test kits used to diagnose malaria.
The fellowship has helped to establish professional relationships with new and well-established researchers with interest in malaria transmission reduction. Also, it served as a platform for building Dr. Amoah’s capacity in the area of molecular biology which is still very lacking in Ghana, which is recombinant DNA technology and monoclonal antibody production.
The fellowship would enhance local collaboration within the University of Ghana and other Ghanaian universities as there is the need for a number of rapid detection tests for a variety of diseases prevalent in Ghana and Africa at large. In addition to the rapid detection kits, there is also a very high demand for such molecular and immunological reagents which we would eventual have capacity to do locally on our own.
Recombinant DNA technology including recombinant antigen and antibody production is a technique that is mainly taught as an abstract course with very limited practicals in most Ghanaian universities. Dr. Amoah therefore aims to incorporate knowledge and experiences gained into the undergraduate and graduate practical class organized by the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology as well as organize hands on training workshops to train young researchers and students on how to make these valuable recombinant antigens using different heterologous systems as well as produce monoclonal antibodies.
Department of Microbiology
With a background in infectious diseases, Professor Sampane-Donkor worked with Professor Stephen Bentley of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute on the project titled “Application of whole genome sequencing to investigate Staphylococcus aureus outbreaks in Ghana”.
The study sought to apply whole genome sequencing to retrospectively investigate three recent Staphylococcus aureus outbreaks at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana. The study was relevant as the information obtained would be useful in preventing further Staphylococcus aureus outbreaks in Ghana.
The fellowship provided a platform for Professor Sampane-Donkor to work in a state-of-the-art genome sequencing laboratory at the Sanger Institute. Through the fellowship, he has also improved his research skills and expertise in infectious diseases.
Professor Sampane-Donkor aims to publish his work in top tier journals as this will better position him to contribute to enhance the research profile of the University and ultimately contribute to the University’s vision of becoming a research-led.
He also aims to incorporate the knowledge gained in his teaching so to provide improved teaching and supervision for both undergraduate and graduate level students.
Department of Crop Science
Together with Dr. Lesley A. Boyd of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, Dr. Naalamle Amissah is exploring “Alternative methods of cultivation of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta and Croton membranaceus to maximize active compound production and prevent species extinction in the wild: GhanaMedPlants”.
The fellowship has opportunities for north-south and south-south collaborations and interactions with scientists at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB). This will provide insights into methodologies and techniques that would enhance Dr. Amissah’s research competencies in tissue culture and micropropagation whilst providing an opportunity for mentorship by/ networking with senior colleagues working in that area of interest. This will provide the necessary expertise for career advancement and in turn enable Dr. Amissah to serve as a mentor to young faculty and students in her field of study.
DR. JOSEPH OKANI HONGER
Soil and Irrigation Research Centre
Dr. Honger is collaborating with Dr. John Carr, a plant reader in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge to work on the project titled “Identification and phylogenetic studies of xamthomonas species infecting citrus in Ghana”.
The fellowship will enable Dr. Honger to work in a plant pathology laboratory to learn and acquire knowledge on the use of modern equipment for the diagnosis of plant diseases as well as obtain improved research skills to facilitate the formulation of control measures. The fellowship will also provide an opportunity for Dr. Honger to understudy distinguished experts in the field of plant pathology. This will help establish a linkage with the scientists which could translate in future collaborations in the area of plant pathology. Also, the knowledge gained would be used to modify the teaching syllabus to help enhance the teaching activities at the Centre as well as imparted to other plant pathologists in Ghana through collaborative research programmes.
The 4th Call for Applications for the CAPREx Post-Doctoral Fellowships available in the 2016/2017 academic year was announced in October 2015 under Phase II of the project. African research fellows were invited to embark on collaborative research projects, which usually takes place in Cambridge, with researchers from the University of Cambridge as well as collaborators from Makerere University (where appropriate) in areas of mutual research interests that are relevant to Ghana and Uganda.
For this round, the Call attracted applications from applicants in the fields of Basic and Applied Sciences and Infectious Diseases (for UG) and Social Sciences and Humanities including Education, Law and Business (for Makerere University). A total of seven (7) fellowships were awarded to UG faculty members to be taken up from July 2016 to October 2017.
Department of Nutrition and Food Science
Dr. Angela Parry-Hanson Kunadu is currently a Lecturer at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. Dr. Kunadu is researching on the Characterization of bacterial pathogens from informal dairy value chains in Ghana. Her research in microbiological quality and safety of dairy forms part of a broader goal to improve fresh dairy consumption in Ghana. She intends to achieve her goal by conducting research that will encourage and support fresh dairy businesses to thrive, and provide essential information that can be used by all relevant stakeholders to boost the dairy industry and ultimately nutritional gain from dairy consumption.
Whiles in Cambridge, Dr. Kunadu characterized Salmonella species and Staphylococcus sciuri isolated from the informal fresh milk products. Through the collaborative research project with Dr. Andrew Grant, Senior Lecturer at the Veterinary Medicine Department, University of Cambridge, Angela drew new insights into antimicrobial resistance research. The CAPREx fellowship has changed the way she thinks about science research in terms of the research questions and doing in depth sound science. She has also learned about robust analytical tools that are more widely trusted in microbiology and molecular biology research. The specific skills she gained have upgraded her research profile and research output. She is also making use of her learnings on how science is used to change society and inform policy in UK to change her approach to research dissemination and uptake.
Whiles in UK, Dr. Kunadu participated in several conferences such as “Research tackling antimicrobial resistance: social and biological dimensions” by Cambridge Infectious Diseases, “New insights into food safety” by the Society of Applied Microbiology and The African Diaspora Biotech Summit at the Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge University.
Department of Bacteriology
Dr. Beverly Egyir is a Research Fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Department of Bacteriology. Her project focuses on ‘Whole Genome Sequence Profiling of Antibiotic Resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates from Livestock and Farm Attendants in Ghana’ under the CAPREx fellowship programme.
Whiles in Cambridge, Dr. Egyir was hosted by the Veterinary Medicine Department, and attended several conferences, participated in numerous talks and seminars at University of Cambridge.
Together with her Cambridge collaborator Dr. Mark Holmes, and other Senior Scientists (Prof. Stephen Bentely of Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Dr. Estee Török of the Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Dr. Adebayo Shittu of Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, and Dr. David Aanensen of the Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance, Sanger Institute) Dr. Egyir won a grant from the Wellcome Trust-Cambridge Centre for Global Health Research (an initiative of Cambridge-Africa) to set up a network for African researchers and UK collaborators working on Staphylococcus aureus; among other activities. The Kick-off Meeting for the Network (StaphnetAfrica) was held at Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research from 15th to 16th August, 2017.
To Dr. Egyir, the Cambridge-Africa program has been an excellent platform that gave her the opportunity to broaden her scope of research, honed her scientific skills, and network with more experienced scientists for further collaborations. Altogether, these have impacted (and will continue to impact) positively on her research career.
Department of Chemistry
Dr Kwaku Kyeremeh is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry. Dr Kyeremeh is
a Microbial Natural Product Drug Discovery Chemist with well-established Microbiology and Organic Chemistry laboratories at his Department. Dr Kyeremeh’s visit to Cambridge University gave him the opportunity to acquire the full set of skills in the Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics aspects of drug discovery which makes it possible for him to run a proper, top level drug discovery program at the University of Ghana. Whiles at Cambridge, Dr Kyeremeh worked in the laboratory of Professor Peter F. Leadlay at the Biochemistry Department but developed new collaboration with Professor Alison Smith of the Department of Plant Sciences. The title of Dr Kyeremeh’s research was “Novel Marine-derived Actinomycetes from Ghana’s Western and Volta Regional Wetlands: Genetic Sequence, Chemistry and Biological Activity Profiles”. He successfully knocked out and heterologously expressed the WhiE and KS-AT clusters from the Ghanaian Streptomyces sp. DE2E which produces a series of novel chlorinated compounds similar to the 4-Methyloxazoline-containing nonribosomal peptides JBIR-34 and 35. Dr Kyeremeh also got the opportunity to finish and publish some of his on-going research at Cambridge: “A ThDP –dependent enzymatic carboligation reaction involved in Neocarazostatin A triclic carbazole formation” and “Anti-Proliferative and Anti-Plasmodia Activity of Quinolactacin A2, Citrinadin A and Butrecitrinadin co-isolated from a Ghanaian Mangrove Endophytic Fungus Cladosporium oxysporum strain BRS2A-AR2F”.
Department of Chemistry
Dr Mary Chama, a Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry working on isolation, characterisation and biological activities of Ghanaian medicinal plants used the six month CAPREx Fellowship for training on ‘In silico prediction and mode of action hypothesis of phenylpyranotriterpenoids’ with her collaborator Dr. Andreas Bender. She also spent some time to run spectral on samples and carry out elucidation of pure compound.
Whiles in University of Cambridge, Dr. Chama won an Isaac Newton Award together with her collaborator for the completion of the training. She participated in several training programmes on different target prediction methods, mode of action hypothesis of medicinal plants using Dichapetalum gelonioides and D. madagascariense as examples, and different molecular docking methods. Out of the training, she and her collaborator worn a grant from the Alborada Funds to organize workshop in Ghana on ‘Computational Techniques in Drug discovery’. The workshop which was attended by 35 staff and students of the University of Ghana trained participants on the processes involved in computational aspects of drug discovery.
The training has helped to complement her original research with in silico methods.
Department of Crop Science
Dr. Agyeman Danquah has research interest in making inputs that will accelerate growth in tomato value chain in Ghana; hence conducting a research titled “Development of heat tolerant, high yielding and consumer-acceptable tomato varieties for all year round production in Ghana”. This study aims to identify and characterize additional heat tolerant genotypes through managed-stress screening of local and introduced accessions. It also seeks to identify single nucleotides polymorphism markers for marker-assisted selections and develop superior lines for off-season production in Ghana. The fellowship has helped Dr. Danquah to broaden his network collaborators and enhance his research skills and teaching output.
Dr Japheth A. Opintan is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Biomedical & Allied Health Sciences, Medical Microbiology Department. Dr. Opintan’s research under the CAPREx fellowship focused on the ‘Origins and Evolution of Epidemic Cholera in Accra, Ghana’. His visit to Cambridge produced whole genome sequence data on understanding the spread of cholera in the Greater Accra region of Ghana. This base-line data will help in future control of outbreaks within cholera ‘hot spots’ in Ghana. His work under the supervision of Prof Dougan and Dr Mutreja has been so well received among cholera researchers. He was invited to give a presentation at the prestigious annual United States-Japan panel cholera meeting held in South Korea in February 2017. Dr. Opintan’s visit to Cambridge also saw him winning a research grant in the amount of GPS 20,000 together with his collaborators from the Economic and Social Research Council, University of Cambridge. This current grant is to conduct public health research in Ghana and Uganda. Recently, Dr Mutreja visited University of Ghana and together with Dr. Opintan spent one-week collecting samples from remote parts of Greater Accra for metagenomic analysis. It is envisage that the current analysis will further help in the understanding of the pathophysiology of enteric pathogens.
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Kwabena Kan-Dapaah of Department of Biomedical Engineering is conducting research on “Nanocomposite materials for Theranostic Biomedical Applications: Fabrication, Characterization and intro-vitro testing”. This project aims to eliminate residual breast cancer cells within its vicinity when exposed to human-safe alternating magnetic field. Dr. Dapaah’s collaboration with his UK-based collaborator will enhance his research and understand the properties of nanocomposite to predict the behavior of the devices.
PROFILES OF THE 5TH COHORT OF AWARD WINNERS
Department of Material Science & Engineering
Dr. Ebenezer Annan has research interest in food microbiology and safety. He is working on a project titled “Nano-engineered water filter: processing and properties”.
This project seeks to fabricate clay (ceramic) water filter that is impregnated with nanoparticles to improve water filtration capability of the filter. The filter will also have pores in the nano-regime. This will be achieved via combination of experiments and models in exploring the influence of factors such as nanoparticle incorporation in clay mixtures, combustible materials size variation and their effects on water quality.
It is hypothesized that filters having ‘smaller holes’ termed pores in the nano-regime will improve the efficiency of filtration via size exclusion complementing the disinfection ability of selected nano-particles. The strength and toughness of the filters will also be investigated.
.The CAPREx fellowship will provide the opportunity to initiate and sustain collaboration for further research.Moreover, It will provide training on some key materials engineering techniques which will ultimately shape his research and teaching.
Department of Materials science and Metallurgy
Dr. Emmanuel Nyankson is working with Dr. R. Vasant Kumar on a research titled “Synthesis and application of visible light photocatalyst in oil spill remediation ”.
Oil spill causes great harm to the vegetation, food crops, aquatic species and human inhabitant in the spilled zone hence different remediation strategies are employed to minimise their effect on the ecosystem. However, the current remediation strategies are toxic and expensive. To further innovate in oil spill remediation, this project proposes an innovative highly efficient oil spill remediation method using naturally abundant solar energy and environmentally benign photocatalysts. The various hydrocarbon components in crude oil can be oxidised into innocuous compounds using the concept of photocatalysis. This research will therefore involve (a) synthesizing visible light photocatalyst, (b) application of the synthesized photocatalyst in oil spill remediation and (c) conducting toxicological studies of the entire remediation process.
The CAPREx Fellowship will give Dr Nyankson the opportunity to participate in various training programs and seminars which will help in developing my teaching and research skills. It will also give him the opportunity to network with experienced researchers at the University of Cambridge to further enhance his research skills.
Dr. Jewelna Efua Birago Akorli
Department of Genetics
Dr. Jewelna Efua Birago Akorli is working on a research titled “Anti-Plasmodial mechanisms of mosquito gut bacteria isolated from field-caught malaria vectors.”
This project is aimed at identifying genes and proteins that are elicited in the presence of bacteria that are involved in disrupting the progress of Plasmodium in the midgut of an infected mosquito. RNAseq will be used, a method that can screen gene expressions of both mosquito and parasites in an infected mosquito. It is expected that the project will help in gaining a better understanding of how such bacteria in the gut of mosquitoes can be useful in disease control
The CAPREX Fellowship has provided Dr Akorli the platform to further build her research skills, and promote her research career through strong lasting collaborations and networks.
School of Veterinary Medicine, Cambridge University
Dr Joseph Humphrey Kofi Bonney is working on a research project titled “Using advanced genomic analysis to identify viral pathogens in residual diagnostic specimens after routine laboratory testing for haemorrhagic fever causative agents"
The project seek to apply a metagenomics approach that uses next generation sequencing (NGS) to detect pathogen genomic material amplified directly from these samples.
The CAPREx Fellowship will give Dr Bonney the opportunity to participate in various training programs and seminars which will help in developing my teaching and research skills. It will also give him the opportunity to network with experienced researchers at the University of Cambridge and this will greatly enhance his research skills.
PROFILES OF THE 6TH COHORT OF AWARD WINNERS
Center of African Studies
Dr. Amanda J. Coffie .She is working on a project titled “Refugee Diaspora and Peacebuilding in the Gambia”.
The core objective of my proposed study is to understand the engagement of Refugee Diaspora in regime change andbuilding peace in the context of the Gambia. The study seeks to probe the changing composition of Diaspora and their transnational engagement with the home country.
The proposed project adopts a retrospective longitudinal approach to examine the creation and composition of Gambian refugee diaspora, their participation with the home state particularly focused on activities of regime change. The study will also focus on post-regime change activities of the refugee diaspora and the responses from the State during the various stages. This research is qualitative and is a multi-site study of The Gambia, the United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America (USA).
Dr. Adriana Andrea Ewurabena Biney
Department of Sociology;
Dr. Adriana Andrea Ewurabena Biney is on a research titled “Examining the Transition to Adulthood in an Urban Poor Context”.
The project’s aim is to explore the transition to adulthood among young people residing in an urban poor community in Accra, Ghana. Theseyouth are part of a vulnerable population that faces peculiar life disruptions, including exacerbated challenges to their health and wellbeing. A failure to address these challenges has implications for
their development into healthy adults. A mixed method approach will be used to gather the data. First, focus group discussions with young and old participants will be undertaken to understand the markers of adulthood in that context.
Second, a survey using a life/relationship history calendar will be used among 18-30 year olds to gain insights on their relationships, family formation, employment, education, and living arrangement patterns. The project will enable an understanding of the current pathways to adulthood as interventions are developed to improve adolescent development in the urban poor setting.