The Department of Parasitology started the implementation of Quality Management Systems in April 2014, with the support of the Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine), through funding from the Department for International Development (DFID). Following a formal assessment by SGS in July 2017, the Department has been certified as meeting the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 standard.
Prof. Kwabena M. Bosompem, Director of the Institute, receiving the ISO 9001:2015 certification on behalf of the Department of Parasitology from Mr. Kwasi Okai-Mensah, the Lead Auditor of SGS-Ghana. Present was the Institute’s Administrator, Mr. Okyere Boateng.
Dr. O. Peter Adams, Dean Faculty of Medical Sciences, Dr. Kenneth Connell, Deputy Dean- Preclinical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) as part of their trade mission to Ghana called on the Director and staff of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.
The visit was to discuss partnership with the Institute. The delegation informed the Director the visit was to identify possible areas for collaboration for programs, projects (research), identify lead “Champions” to advance discussion on the areas identified above as well as to achieve the necessary senior administrative support especially in the Medical field. The delegation also hinted how the two universities have a lot in common. According to him, the two universities have the same founding year which is 1948 and both being originally an affiliate college of the University of London hence the need to establish healthy ties between sister universities.
The Director of the Institute Professor Kwabena Mante Bosompem was elated by the visit and highlighted the core mandate of the Institutes. He also mentioned the shared areas of research and possibilities for next steps. The Institute has a high research output with contributions mainly in the area of infectious disease. He was hopeful that strong collaborations will be built between the two academies.
Professor Kwabena Bosompem(left) and Dr. Adams(right) in a discussion
Dr. Adams mentioned the UWI could benefit from the expertise at NMIMR in the area of infectious diseases whilst NMIMR on the other hand is well placed to partner with UWI on NCD research.
Both institutions promised to identify "champions" on specific projects to lead the next phase of discussions.
The FMS team assured the Director that the relationship between the two institutions will have commitment from both the academics and senior administrative officers.
The team toured the research laboratories and met with staff and Faculty members of the Institute and also familiarise themselves with the Institute’s facilities.
The Ghana AIDS Commission has invited Dr. Evelyn Yayra Bonney to present the findings of her work on HIV drug resistance at its 4th Strategic Information Dissemination Forum to be held in Kumasi on 27-28th September 2017. The purpose of this Forum is to share results from key population surveys, update on current research being conducted and consult stakeholders on pertinent issues regarding HIV and AIDS management in Ghana.
Evelyn completed her PhD in 2013. She worked on a project designed to collect evidence-based information about an important problem (drug resistance) in the management of HIV/AIDS using antiretroviral therapy (ART). The emergence of drug resistance during ART has the potential to offset the gains made during treatment. The project sought to find the extent of drug resistance among HIV patients on therapy and how this was affected by the country’s ART policy at the time. The results showed that a high percentage of patients had resistance to the drugs they were taking and also to other drugs in the same class, which they had never taken. Some of these patients, carrying drug- resistant strains, were apparently doing well according to the monitoring tools in use at the time. This meant that HIV patients in Ghana were not getting the best out of ART because the monitoring tools were inadequate. The study therefore recommended a modification in ART policy to include routine viral load and drug resistance tests as part of the monitoring tools, particularly before a switch in regimen, to inform decision on the new regimen.
Dr. Evelyn Yayra Bonney
Dr. Evelyn Yayra Bonney is a Research Fellow in the Virology Department of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. Her research interests include virus-host interactions and antiviral research with a focus on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). She holds a PhD in Biochemistry and envisages becoming a renowned HIV researcher; with a well-equipped laboratory for cutting-edge research and training of younger scientists. She is currently a Fellow of the NIH/ Fogarty Global Health Equity Scholars program and a member of the Ghana ART and HIVDR Technical Working Group.
The Office for Research Support (ORS) in collaboration with Yale Office of Sponsored Research was awarded a grant by NIH for a project titled “Capacity Building for Enhanced Research Administration (CaBERA) at Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research” for capacity building of the ORS and establishing an office of sponsored research in two identified universities in Ghana.
One of the aims of the project is to train the NMIMR Research Faculty using customized modules relevant to the Institute’s research environment.
In view of this a Research Management Training Workshop was held at the Institute for research and administrative assistants on the 12th and 13th of September 2017.
The Director, Prof. Kwabena Mante Bosompem, in his welcome address mentioned that a training like this, was essential in enhancing the research knowledge of NMIMR staff who are the driving force of the Institute.
The Coordinator of the ORS, Nana Oye Aniapam in her presentation informed participants of the responsibilities of the ORS to provide pre and post award administrative services for sponsored projects as well as to help ensure the overall effective coordination of research administration service, system, policies and processes. “Over the past twelve years since the office was established, it had grown to become a full fleshed unit with affable and hardworking staff, who see to the effective running of the office”. Ms. Aniapam said the unit’s challenges were inadequate institutionalized professional development in research administration, and lack of a Faculty reviewing unit to critical review proposals before submission. Delving further into its financial challenges, she made appealed to the accounts section to initiate a process that would ease access of funds to Principal investigators (PI) to make research work more effective.
She again mentioned that, NMIMR has made certain significant hallmarks in maintaining a high class that sought to compete with other grant award winning institutions and is currently working around five million dollars’ worth projects.
Miss Griselda Annan, a from ORS presented on the relevance of communication as a leadership and management tool which is very critical in research management. She said “communication is the project manager’s briefcase and the tool used to generate and reduce conflict”.
A presentation was also made on identifying grant opportunities by Ms. Isabella Rockson, from the college of health sciences. She enlightened participants on how to find, submit and track grant. Some of the grant opportunities can be found on the NIH website, Grants.gov. and status of submissions checked on eRA commons. She also mentioned the various budget categories essential in submitting a grant.
The workshop came to an end with the Director urging the administrative and the research assistants present to help build a research network at their various departments. Whilst applauding the seriousness shown by participants to the training, he also urged them to apply the skills acquired for building an Institutional work excellence.
Certificates were awarded to participants to climax the event.
Professor (Mrs). Regina Appiah-Opong
The Management and staff of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) wish to congratulate Professor (Mrs.) Regina Appiah-Opong on her new appointment as an Associate Professor of toxicology in the Institute.
Professor Appiah-Opong has devoted much of her working life to biomedical research, mostly at NMIMR. She is a Toxicologist at the Department of Clinical Pathology, Head of the Department and until her promotion, a Senior Research fellow. Her PhD studies were focused on pharmacokinetic drug interactions mediated by cytochrome P450 and glutathione s-transferases drug metabolizing enzymes.
Her research interests include Toxicology/Pharmacology, Drug discovery – Anticancer, antimalarial, Drug-drug/drug-herb/drug-food interactions and Environmental contaminants – Heavy metals, aflatoxins
In 2001, she undertook further training in molecular biology techniques at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases (NIID), Tokyo, Japan and during this time contributed significantly to the construction of a DNA cassette vector that was useful for drug susceptibility testing of anti-HIV drugs.
Professor Appiah-Opong is also a part-time lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Ghana and the Principal Investigator on the University’s Research grant funded project that is conducting onshore assessment of the Jubilee oil field in the Western region of Ghana. She has been involved in projects in the area of drug discovery, evaluating the efficacy and safety of drug candidates and medicinal plants and environmental contaminants, particularly heavy metals and aflatoxins. She has been Principal investigator or co-investigator for several projects and has other funded studies currently ongoing.
Professor Appiah-Opong is collaborating with University of Washington, Bothell (where she is also an adjunct lecturer), in research on genes of cytochrome P450 drug metabolising enzymes to identify differences in SNPs between Caucasian and African ethnicities, particularly Ghanaians. The result of this study may provide a foundation for altering approaches to drug approval in Ghana and other regions of the world. She was a collaborator on the JICA/JST/Nagasaki International University/Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine/NMIMR research project that investigated anti-HIV and anti-trypanosomiasis compounds in Ghanaian medicinal plants. She is also collaborating with the Pharmacology Department of Yale University Medical School on chemical and biological fingerprinting of some Ghanaian medicinal plants. She is a member of a multidisciplinary team that is investigating the efficacy of Ghanaian medicinal plants used by Traditional Medicine Practitioners to manage cancer. Currently, she is collaborating with Department of Chemistry to study the antitumor, anticancer and monoamine oxidase inhibitory potentials of isoflavones from the Millettia thonningii plants and their synthetic derivatives.
She has supervised research projects of Postdoctoral fellows (5), PhD (1), MPhil (23) and BSc (33) students in the University of Ghana and other Universities. She has also published extensively in her field of study.
The staff of NMIMR applauds you on this remarkable achievement and wishes you well in academia and all that you do.