Saturday, November 30, 2013

Advancing Towards The Frontiers of Science Research

In my January 2011 article for the Molecular Biology Newsletter, titled "Operating Far Behind the Frontiers of Science". I recounted my two years of experience doing science in Ghana. The months and weeks following this moment of deep soul searching brought me to the point where I had two clear choices, to stay or to leave Ghana in pursuit of my scientific career. I decided to make the most of my stay in Ghana and use my training in Göttingen to prove to myself that I got something to contribute, something that is worth going the long haul.  

The first set of positive developments started to trickle in by the middle of 2011, two short-term postdoctoral fellowships by the EMBO and SNSF allowed me to study mass spectrometry-based proteomics at the ETH-Zurich. After the six-month research stay in Zurich, I had the impetus to apply for many research grants, while at the same time consolidate my new research area. I envisioned for myself a research goal of working towards a world without drug resistant infections. This means I will combine concepts of Infection Biology, Microbiology, Mycology, Natural Product Chemistry, Proteomics and Protein Biochemistry and Cell Biology/Imaging to discover new chemical entities with uncommon structures and mechanisms of action.

In 2012, all but one of the many research grant applications succeeded. DAAD provided an equipment grant, which meant that I could expand my ongoing work of screening fungal metabolites for antimicrobial activities even without any other research funding. Based on the interesting preliminary data generated, I continued to apply for many diverse research grants and fellowships. My idea is to set up a research laboratory, which is well equipped enough to conduct the kind of research that will ensure that we achieved our goals in the end. I also feel compelled by the excellent training I received in Göttingen to dare and persist more in an environment where everything has got to be done by me. My major motivation has also been the many excellent scientists I interacted with in Göttingen, who have done well for science and humanity. I wish to also benchmark my own achievements by the levels of achievement obtained by my mates in Göttingen, eventhough they may be working in an environment unlike mine.  

In 2013, I have won a number grants and fellowships, the most exciting one is from the Grand Challenges Canada. This year 2013 also brought me exciting honours such as a selection to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting and the World Economic Forum meeting in Dalian, China. To cap an awesome 2013, our team at Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Ghana won a World Bank grant to set up an African Center of Excellence in Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens. This means we now have the opportunity to move towards the frontiers of science and to make a unique contribution to fighting infectious diseases in Africa and the world. Join us in this pursuit.


  1. Do not despise small beginnings. We would very soon publish volumes of books.
    Well done PAKAR, the success of science in Ghana depends on Ghanaians like you.
    The story ain't over yet.

    1. Thanks Clement. The future is definitely bright.

    2. Thanks Clement. The future is definitely bright.

  2. You are an authority and a voice of African Technology shouting amidst other voices from Europe, America, Asia, etc. Thanks for making Ghana proud.