West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens, University of Ghana

 

                                                   

The mission of The West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens, University of Ghana (WACCBIP) is to conduct cutting-edge research and spearhead innovation to guide development of new approaches to disease diagnosis, prevention, and control. The priority pathogens include protozoans causing diseases such as malaria and trypanosomiasis; Mycobacteria, causing tuberculosis and Buruli ulcer; other bacteria causing gastro-intestinal and blood infections; and viruses, including HIV, rotaviruses, Influenza, and Dengue. For each of the priority diseases/pathogens, research is organized into five themes:

  • disease pathogenesis and immunity,
  • pathogen genomics/bioinformatics,
  • host genetics/genomics, host/pathogen interactions,
  • molecular diagnosis, molecular epidemiology for surveillance,
  • target discovery for drug and vaccine development.

There are also emerging themes in etiology of febrile illnesses in children, maternal health, and human genetics (infectious and non-communicable).

Continuously improving our research environment, WACCBIP has developed a Core facility to serve as a hub for collaboration among scientists in the sub-region with access to modern research equipment for analysis of samples and other services at reasonable cost.

Services to  provided by the Core include high-throughput multi-color flow cytometry and cell-sorting, mass spectrometry, gene expression assays, primer synthesis, and expression and purification of proteins. In addition, the WACCBIP Core operates a laboratory supplies store, and build capacity and expertise for servicing and repair of equipment.

The WACCBIP Core facility also include a biomedical high-performance computing unit (BHPCU) to provide access to cluster computing services, and scientific software for data analyses, modeling/simulation, and information dissemination.


The Site Director

Professor Gordon Awandare (Associate Professor/Director) Mobile: +233 54 371 7697; Email: gawandare@ug.edu.gh; gawandare@hotmail.com

Prof. Awandare is the Director of West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens ( WACCBIP ). His research focuses on the pathogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in children. There are two main branches of investigations, namely the role of the host immune response on one hand, and the mechanisms used by the parasite to propagate itself and cause disease. From the perspective of the host, we have been investigating the production of inflammatory mediators and the relationship between genetic variation in innate immune response genes and susceptibility to severe malaria in children. Our research on the Plasmodium parasite is aimed at gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms used for invasion of red blood cells. Therefore, a substantial aspect of our research efforts focus on characterizing the sialic acid-independent pathways of invasion and identifying novel receptors and ligands involved.

Site Mentors

Osbourne Quaye
Mobile: +233 (0) 303 933 223; Email address: oquaye@ug.edu.gh
 
Dr. Osbourne Quaye is the Head of the Virology Laboratory of the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) and very much interested in all viruses as pathogens. His research group currently works on gastrointestinal viruses including rotaviruses, noroviruses and adenoviruses to understand the influence of sanitation and zoonotic transmission on disease burden, virus diversity, and vaccine efficacy. The group also works on HIV latency and drug discovery, host genetic polymorphisms in hepatitis B, C and D infections, and the surveillance of filoviruses in bats, Epstein Barr and yellow fever viruses. Dr. Quaye is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology and the Head of Monitoring and Evaluation at WACCBIP, University of Ghana, Legon. He has an M.Phil. degree from the University of Ghana, Legon and a Ph.D. from the Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. His research carrier as a Molecular Virologist started at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA as a Microbiologist in Molecular Virology.

 

Elvis K Tiburu
Mobile: +233 (0) 55 958 5194;
Email address: Tiburue@gmail.com; etiburu@ug.edu.gh

Dr. Elvis K. Tiburu obtained his PhD from Miami University specializing in Biophysics in 2004.  He then went to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Institutes of Medicine in Boston, USA to pursue postdoctoral training in Professor Jerry Goopman’s Laboratory. After three years at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, he joined the Center for Drug Discovery, Northeastern University as an Assistant Research Professor. His responsibility at the time was to investigate the structure of G-protein coupled receptors and identify key binding sites for drug discovery purposes to treat drug abuse patients. He was a Visiting Scholar in 2012 to the Department of Biomedical Engineering, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. During his stint as Visiting Scholar, he helped developed Graduate programs in the School of Engineering Sciences. After six months in Ghana, he returned to the USA and was later invited to join the faculty at the Department of Biomedical Engineering to help develop young talents in the field. He is currently the Head of Department of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research interest spans from structural biology to nanomaterials for drug delivery and includes;

  • Structural Biology (NMR and EPR studies of macromolecules)
  • Developing nanomaterials for cancer treatments
  • Developing diagnostic tools for early detection of disease states
  • Developing biological Interface materials for infectious disease prevention
  • Natural products isolation and characterization
  • Targeted drug design and release

Dr. Elvis K Tiburu has been actively involved in University wide activities including the organization of Grant Writing Workshops to encourage young scientists to develop skills in Grantsmanship. He is a member of various interviewing panels to identify talented young Scientists to pursue postdoctoral training in other Universities. He is also a regular reviewer of Agencies and Donor sponsored grants. He has over 40 peer reviewed publications and several conference abstract proceedings. He was the Vice- and President of the Ghana Biomedical Convention from 2015 to 2017.

Yaw Asare Afrane
Email address: yafrane@ug.edu.gh
Mobile: +233 (0) 54 228 6113

Yaw Asare Afrane is trained in malaria vector and parasite biology and epidemiology with over 15 years of research experience in vector borne diseases. The focus of his research is on the ecology of malaria vectors and the Plasmodium parasite they transmit. He is currently studying how insecticide resistance affects the fitness of African malaria vectors and their vectorial capacity. Further, he is studying the interaction between resistant malaria vectors and anti-malaria drug tolerant malaria parasites to understand the potential for parasites to evolve drug tolerance by studying genetic variation. His studies are funded through an NIH/NIAD RO1 (R01AI123074). He has authored 45 peer-reviewed publications.