Professor Gordon Akanzuwine Awandare a lecturer and Director of the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) at the University of Ghana, has been reappointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to chair the Governing Council of the C. K. Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences (CKT-UTAS) in Navrongo, Upper East Region.
Also the Africa Global Editor of the Experimental Biology and Medicine (EBM) journal, Prof Awandare was awarded a BSc in Biochemistry in 1998 and an MPhil in Biochemistry in 2002 from the University of Ghana.
In 2003, he was alerted to PhD positions at the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA) earmarked for African fellows, and moved to the USA just eight months later.
In 2007, he graduated with a PhD in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology from the School of Public Health, with a thesis on severe malarial anaemia. Following his doctoral studies, he spent three years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Maryland, USA), where he continued studying malaria, focusing on the Plasmodium falciparum parasite.
He returned to the University of Ghana in 2010 to establish his own research group. Without start-up funding, he used US credit cards to support his work whilst applying for grants, and two years later received funding from both the Royal Society and the National Institutes of Health.
Prof Awandare’s research focuses on the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and the infection it causes in children. His work focuses on both the immune response of the patient to infection, and the pathogenic processes of the parasite itself.
In particular, he studies cell-surface receptors that could be potential vaccine targets and his studies use parasites from infected children in Ghana, so that any vaccines developed will be applicable to real-life cases. He was the first to report the possibility of parasite phenotypic switching in in-vitro cultures when shaken.
Prof Awandare also led significant research into the molecular diagnosis of infectious diseases in lower-income settings in Africa. In addition, he is significantly pushing for policy change in tackling hearing impairment in Ghana.
During the 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic, Prof Awandare led a group of scientists at the University of Ghana and the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research to sequence SARS-COV2 virus isolates from Ghanaian patients. In January 2021, He reported the importation of the UK strain of the virus in travellers arriving in Ghana from other African countries.
In 2015, Awandare was awarded the Royal Society Africa Prize, which recognises innovative biological research scientists whose research also contributes towards significant capacity building in Africa.