School hosts UHAS academic for MRF-funded pandemic project

Monday 18 September 2023

This summer, the Division of Infection and Global Health was privileged to host Professor Kwabena Duedu, Associate Professor of Biomedical Science at the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS). This visit was funded by the Medical Research Foundation’s (MRF) Meade Collaboration Travel Grant in Epidemiology. Working with Principal Research Fellow Dr Wilber Sabiiti and the University’s Bioinformatics team, Prof. Duedu obtained additional bioinformatics training to help him analyse data on COVID-19 genomics in his home country of Ghana.

Prof. Duedu’s UHAS research group focuses on the epidemiology and transmission of antimicrobial resistance and pathogen genomics. When the pandemic first emerged, his laboratory established a testing centre covering two of Ghana’s sixteen administrative regions. The centre also undertook genomic surveillance to provide data on circulating strains and their transmission in Ghana’s southeastern corridor.

By pursuing further training in St Andrews, Prof. Duedu sought to build on his laboratory’s COVID-19 work. This will include analysing the major mutations that characterised the pandemic in the southeastern corridor of Ghana and modelling regional transmission dynamics. Prof.Duedu plans to use his findings to identify key lessons from the pandemic, using these to inform preparation for and response to future disease outbreaks.

The visit also offered a chance to explore more opportunities for collaboration with the University and apply for further funding. This includes potentially expanding the bioenterprise project Dr Sabiiti and Prof. Duedu began last year.

Reflecting on his experience this summer, Prof. Duedu expressed appreciation for the welcoming and collaborative nature of the University, saying: “The St. Andrews community has offered a supportive and interactive experience to help me answer important questions about my research.” The School looks forward to continuing to work with Prof. Duedu on both existing projects and new ventures.

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