Scientific Achievers

Scientific Achievers

Dr. Kwadwo Asamoah Kusi

Dr. Kwadwo Asamoah Kusi receives the 1st National Youth Achievers Gold award for Science

Dr. Kwadwo Asamoah Kusi of the Immunology Department of NMIMR is the recipient of a science achievement gold award at the 1st National Youth Achievers Awards (NYAA), held at the Accra International Conference Centre on 25th October 2012. The awards scheme was under the auspices of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana for youth (15 – 35 years) who are considered to have made a significant contribution to their field of endeavour.

The programme was organized by Charter House Productions with sponsorship from RLG Communications Ghana Ltd.

Dr. Kusi’s award was based on his PhD work on the development of malaria vaccine candidate antigens. He worked as part of a team that undertook the development and pre-clinical testing of three Diversity-covering (DiCo) AMA1 proteins as malaria vaccine candidate antigens at the biomedical Primate Research Centre in Rijswijk, the Netherlands. His work focused on assessment of humoral immune responses to polymorphic variants of AMA1 and the formulation of multi-allele AMA1 antigens with adjuvants as vaccines. His contribution in this process resulted in five peer-reviewed publications.

The DiCo vaccine candidate, which is a mixture of the three DiCo antigens, has successfully undergone GMP production and is expected to undergo toxicology, clinical safety and immunogenicity assessment in a non-endemic population soon. These activities are with support from the European Vaccine Institute ( and

Dr. Kusi is currently working on the development of malaria transmission estimation tools at the Noguchi Memorial Institute together with scientists from the Naval Medical Research Centre of the US Military malaria Vaccine Program.

Award received: 2012 National Youth Achievers Gold Award (Science category)

Abena Amoah

Dr. Abena Amoah

Dr. Abena Amoah

A Vaccine Hero’s

Professor George Armah

Dr.William Ampofo

Dr. William Ampofo

Dr. Willaim Ampofo

Dr. James Brandful

Dr. James Brandful of NMIMR wins Vice Chancellor's Award

The Vice Chancellor’s Academic Prize was awarded to Dr James A.M Brandful for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Science for 2012 Congregation, Great Hall, May 4th, 2012. The award was based on his doctoral thesis leading to the degree of PhD in Medical Micro -biology obtained in June 2009.

A short summary of PhD thesis work

This was titled ‘Genotypic and Phenotypic Characterization of HIV Type 1 in Parts of Ghana’. The study examined 40 samples collected in 2002/3 from HIV-1 AIDS disease and asymptomatic patients prior to antiretroviral therapy (ART). The focus was on under-investigated areas of Ghana, covering the middle and northern belts. Genetic diversity and the potential for emergence of resistance to antiretroviral drugs in this group and therefore implications for ART were examined.

Main observations included the following: A diversity of non-subtype B HIV-1 strains was prevalent. The simultaneous circulation of these diverse variants, even in a small sample size, suggested that changes in the genotypic profile of HIV-1 in Ghana will continue.

Majority of the isolates were non-syncytium inducing R5 viruses even in late disease stage. Syncytium-inducing or X4 strains also co-circulated, but were rare. Genetic sequence data indicated that antagonists to R5 viruses could therefore be extremely effective theoretically as antiviral agents for HIV-1 strains from Ghana, along with two broad neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, namely 2F5 and 4E10.

The transmission of drug resistant (DR) HIV-1 strains through CRF02_AG, even before the initiation of ART was probable. PR V11I mutation, among others, was observed in patients with CRF02_AG and CRF06_cpx infections, recombinants chiefly now responsible for AIDS in Ghana. The use of darunavir (DRV) and fosamprenavir (FPV), not currently included in the ART regimen prescribed in Ghana had to be avoided in such patients.

The identification of DR-related mutations in drug-inexperienced patients constituted important new information that is relevant for ART in Ghana. Also the study had far-reaching implications for possible new clinical interventions from phenotypic aspects of the work.

The diverse genetic profile of HIV-1 in Ghana has to be continuously monitored.

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), set up in 1979 as a semi autonomous institute of the University, is the leading biomedical research facility in Ghana.

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