The University of Ghana Holds 4th Annual WACCBIP Research Conference
The West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) has held its 4th Annual Research Conference from July 24-26, 2019 to showcase novel scientific knowledge and applications of technology in the development of disease diagnostic tools, drugs, and vaccines.
The three-day conference, which was held under the theme “Building Partnerships Toward Healthcare Innovation for Africa”, also brought together more than two hundred scientists from the world’s leading research institutions to discuss and find solutions to healthcare challenges in Africa.
Prof. Samuel Kwame Offei, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs and Chairman of the conference in his opening remarks stated that the story of the WACCBIP was inspiring and echoes that Africa can undertake stellar research once there is strategic funding and partnership. Emphasising on the importance of research, Prof. Offei noted that research was key in influencing policies as well as promoting development.
The Chairman, while commending the Centre for the diligence in delivering its mandate revealed that WACCBIP has attracted support from some of the most prestigious funding regimes in the world. He assured the Centre of the University’s commitment to providing a conducive environment to help carry out their research activities. He further indicated that the operations of the various research centres was at the heart of the University as they play a major role in achieving the university’s vision of becoming a world class research intensive institution.
In closing, Prof. Offei was optimistic that findings and solutions from the conference will reflect in policy formulation and help address the healthcare challenges in Africa.
Hon. Alexander Kodwo Kom Abban, Deputy Minister of Health, in his address stated that the collaboration of science is anchored on research and innovation and is critical in the development and sustainable growth of a country. He commended WACCBIP for creating the platform for building partnerships that would support the context-specific research needed to solve local health challenges. According to him, research would be pointless if it does not go to alleviate the immediate challenges of people. He assured of the ministry’s support if researchers delve into matters that will help solve the needs of people.
The Deputy Minister in assessing the Centre noted that WACCBIP had performed beyond expectation, contributing to the renewal of the World Bank funding which started the Centre in 2014. Since its inception, WACCBIP has supported the training of 200 young scientists from 12 African countries at PhD and Master’s levels.
Delivering the keynote address, Mr. Stephen Isaacs, Chairman and C.E.O of Aduro Biotech, USA, stated that there are huge prospects in biotechnology for Africa. According to him, the biotechnology industry in Africa would be as beneficial as the pharmaceutical industry. He noted that Africa was ready for the opportunities due to the immense natural and human resource capital available on the continent.
Highlighting the importance of biotechnology for Africa, Mr. Isaacs stated that biotechnology serves as a reservoir for highly trained African scientists to conduct high-quality research, brings economic returns to countries and help treat ailments. He, therefore, charged African countries to take advantage of biotechnology.
Earlier, Prof. Gordon Awandare, Director of WACCBIP in his welcome address acknowledged the effort of all partners and indicated that the growth of WACCBIP was due to the academic partnerships that the Centre had leveraged on since its establishment five years ago. The Director noted that it was essential to maintain the Centre’s growth by extending its network of partnerships to industry. This, he indicated will help translate the biomedical research undertaken into innovations that will solve specific healthcare challenges.
In advocating for private and government investment in biotechnology, Prof. Awandare stated that there is enough evidence to suggest positive returns in investing in biotechnology. According to him, the country’s research scientists are producing potentially life-saving technology and will do more with the right support.
Prof. Abraham Anang, Director, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) in brief remarks reiterated the need for research and partnership in the development and sustainable growth of a country. He assured WACCBIP of NMIMR’s support in the discharge of its mandate.
Other speakers presented cutting-edge research on topics in diverse fields of biomedical science. Collaborators from the world’s prominent universities led plenary sessions on Drug Resistance and Drug Discovery, Immune Response and Disease Pathogenesis, Research Conduct and Dissemination, Molecular Epidemiology and Diagnostics, Host Genetics and Pathogen Genomics, and Pathogen/Vector Biology and Vaccine Discovery.
As part of the opening ceremony of the conference the Africa Editorial Office of the Experimental Biology and Medicine (EBM) was launched with Prof. Gordon Awandare appointed as its first Editor.
Please click the links below to watch videos of the various sessions of the conference
WACCBIP RESEARCH CONFERENCE 2019 Day 1
WACCBIP RESEARCH CONFERENCE 2019 Day 2
WACCBIP RESEARCH CONFERENCE 2019 Day 3