Bio21 Big Picture: "Beyond the Laboratory: The broader impacts of research for malaria control in Ghana"

Date: 
Thursday, 28 June, 2018 - 16:00 to 18:00
Image: 

What: Bio21 Big Picture Seminar: ‘Beyond the Laboratory: The broader impacts of research for malaria control in Ghana’

Who: Prof. Kwadwo Koram, Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research Institute, Ghana

When: 4 - 5pm, Thursday, 28 June 2018

Where: Bio21 Auditorium, followed by refreshments in the Bio21 Atrium

30 Flemington Road, Parkville

Register by following the link to Survey Monkey.

Description

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) was established in 1979 with a grant aid from the Government and People of Japan as a gift to the Government and people of Ghana.  It was named in memory of Dr. Hideyo Noguchi, a Japanese microbiologist who died in the country in 1928 while researching into Yellow Fever.  From its inception, malaria research has been a major research area, as the initial focus of the Institute was to research into infectious diseases major public health importance in Ghana and the sub region.  Malaria research at the Institute has had a strong collaboration with the National Malaria Control Program, with a view to making our work has an immediate impact on a major public health problem in the country.  However, being a University, basic science research also features prominently.  The importance of malaria was recently recognized by the larger University and a few years ago, all the various researchers at the University has been brought together under the UG Malaria Research Centre.  Malaria research at the Institute has a strong focus on providing data to support the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) in developing its strategies for control in the country.  The research spans field to bench work.  The presentation will give an overview of research activities from operational research that provides immediate data for control activities to basic science research that attempts to understand the mechanisms underlying disease phenotypes as well as population genetics of malaria parasites, especially studies to understand the dynamics of asymptomatic infections.  These data will be important as we move towards malaria elimination.

Biography

Prof. Kwadwo Koram is the immediate past Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) at the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. He started his career in a deprived rural community in his home country after graduation from the University of Ghana Medical School.  In this community he came face to face with the devastation wrought on the population by infectious diseases, including malaria, meningococcal meningitis, measles etc.  This experience, at the very early stages of his medical career exposed him to the challenges of mounting and effective response to the high burden of infectious diseases if one is to make a significant contribution to the improvement of health in the country.  Further training in Public Health and Epidemiology followed at Tulane School of Public Health and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  Along the line he had practical field research experience at the MRC Unit in The Gambia.  Since returning to Ghana after completion of his doctoral training, he has been on the faculty of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.  His research focuses on the epidemiology of malaria and advancing the understanding of innate immune responses to malaria infection.  He has established collaborations with various malaria research groups across the globe (Centre for Medical Parasitology, University of Copenhagen, University of Edinburg, US NMRC, NAMRU-3, the School of Bioscience, University of Melbourne among others).  He has worked with the National Malaria Control Programme in the area of responses to treatment and surveillance of parasite resistance in the country. His interests include clinical trials and the ethics of health research in developing countries.  He has also worked with other colleagues to shed more light on mycobacterial infections, especially the transmission dynamics of Buruli ulcer and tuberculosis.  He has also been a coordinator for the teaching of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health.  He has held several positions in the Institute and is currently a research professor in the Department of Epidemiology.  He is a member of the Ghana Medical Association, Fellow of the Ghana College of Physicians and a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.