Instrumental Access 2021
University of Energy & Natural ResourcesDepartment of Basic and Applied Biology
Improving vaccine efficiency in Ghana
Department of Basic and Applied Biology faculty
Faculty and Students in the Department of Basic and Applied Biology
Basic and Applied Biology faculty in the Infectious Disease Research Lab
Dr. Samuel Fosu Gyasi in the Gene Sequencing Laboratory
Meet our Awardee
The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) was established by the Ghanaian government in 2011. Its mission is to provide leadership and management of energy and natural resources through interdisciplinary approaches.
The Department of Basic and Applied Biology was established in 2016 to address the long-term health and environmental consequences of natural resources exploitation. The department focuses on training highly-skilled healthcare workers from the middle belt of Ghana, offering BSc programs in Biological Science, Medical Laboratory Science, and Nursing.
Research AreasThe department’s research interests include sanitation and hygiene, the impact of climate change, neglected tropical diseases, immunodiagnostics, public health, molecular epidemiology of diseases, genetic toxicology, antimicrobials, and COVID-19.
By providing us with the needed equipment, you are helping to train the next generation of global scientists, who will help bring relief to many vulnerable people suffering from malaria and other neglected tropical diseases.
Focused on the Future: Samuel Fosu Gyasi, PhD
Samuel Fosu Gyasi, PhD—senior lecturer in the Department of Basic and Applied Biology at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR)—has long been invested in public health.
"I decided to become a scientist to assist in providing solutions to the many health problems that have overwhelmed us as a people," he says.
In his position at UENR, Dr. Gyasi is able to pursue this goal through both teaching and research. He is focusing on the future health of those vaccinated against COVID-19 and malaria, while also leading a department that trains thousands of healthcare workers.
When Ghana became the first country to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through the global COVAX vaccine-sharing program, the country experienced an enormous amount of hope. But with that hope came uncertainty about the vaccine’s long-term effects.
For Dr. Gyasi, the nationwide program is an opportunity to study the ways individuals react to the vaccine on a large scale, as well as examine the vaccine’s long-term efficacy.
As a site leader for a WHO-funded study on malaria vaccine implementation, Dr. Gyasi is familiar with the work involved in fighting a widespread public health problem.
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Ghana, he says, is a chance to learn "critical information needed to fine-tune the efficiency of not only the COVID-19 vaccines, but all other vaccines of clinical importance."
The study also dovetails with the department’s teaching priorities: to prepare students for careers in healthcare.
UENR is the only university in the region that offers degrees in biological science, medical laboratory science, and nursing. So the department is tasked with training highly-skilled healthcare workers who can serve the middle belt of Ghana—the region that separates the country’s north and south.
Instrumental Access equipment will help advance this teaching and research by outfitting a new Center for Research in Infectious Diseases. The renovated space will allow for hands-on research and training that protect against a range of devastating diseases, including malaria, filariasis, schistosomiasis, Ebola, meningitis, and COVID-19.
Dr. Gyasi says, “By providing us with the needed equipment, you are helping to train the next generation of global scientists who will help bring relief to many vulnerable people suffering from malaria and other neglected tropical diseases.”
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The arrival of Instrumental Access equipment will be the icing on the cake. When fully equipped, our labs will help to raise the next generation of scientists to spearhead infectious disease research in the Region.
About the DepartmentLocation: Sunyani, Ghana
Year Established: 2016
Students Impacted Annually: 1,500
Why Instrumental Access?Equipment will outfit the only diagnostic testing center in the middle belt of Ghana for testing and treating neglected tropical diseases and emerging viruses.
It will also allow the department to fully outfit the newly-commissioned Center for Research in Infectious Diseases, which will train nearly 1,500 students to take on highly-skilled positions in healthcare throughout the region.
Shipment StatusArrived on campus in December 2021
About Instrumental Access
To begin, we identify a pipeline of scientific talent. Then we rigorously screen universities and select those with the most potential to advance education and research through Instrumental Access.