DMM UGMS

Department of
medical microbiology, UGMS

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Building a strong reputation in the microbial sciences
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OVERVIEW OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY

The Department of Medical Microbiology was established in 1966, and is one of the sixteen constituent departments of the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS). Located on the bustling Korle Bu Medical Campus of the University, the Department provides training in Medical Microbiology to about 200 undergraduate medical students each year; this provides a unique and critical linkage between the basic and clinical sciences. We also run graduate programmes in Medical Microbiology including MPhil and PhD, which had produced about 190 alumni as of 2020. The Department of Medical Microbiology is organized into three main units, including Bacteriology/Mycology, Parasitology, and Virology. There is also an Animal Experimentation Unit which is attached to the Virology Unit. The vision statement of the Department is spelt out as follows “leveraging on the strengths of the University of Ghana, we will develop a strong reputation in microbial diseases research and teaching and become a centre of excellence that benefits the patient, community and academia”. Driven by this vision, faculty, staff and graduate students of the Department are engaged in diverse research projects on microbial pathogens, especially those of primary significance to sub-Saharan Africa. Over the years, our research projects have been funded by various institutions, such as DANIDA, UK Department of Health, NIH, WHO, GAVI, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and Alborada Fund. The Department has a strong reputation for research on antimicrobial resistance, and is currently designated as the National Reference Laboratory for antimicrobial resistance surveillance by the Ministry of Health under the UK Fleming Fund support to the Government of Ghana. Several of our faculty members hold editorial positions with reputable journals and offer consultancy services to local and international institutions. Our departmental laboratories are well-equipped and participate in three international external quality assurance programmes. The Department of Medical Microbiology aims to maintain a research-intensive environment, and invites collaboration from across the globe!

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The Department of Medical Microbiology is located in the famous Red Building on the Korle Bu Medical Campus of the University of Ghana

Collaborations of the Department of Medical Microbiology in the last decade; each blue dot represents a collaborating institution; hover over a blue dot to identify the institution

PROFILE OF DEPARTMENT HEAD: PROFESSOR ERIC SAMPANE-DONKOR

Eric Sampane-Donkor is a Professor of Bacteriology and Global Health in the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Ghana Medical School. He was appointed head of the Department in August 2019. He holds a PhD in Medical Microbiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and a PhD in Public Health from the University of Iceland, Reykjavik. He undertook postdoctoral studies in Microbial Genomics at University of Cambridge, UK. To be more efficient in his administrative roles, Prof. Sampane-Donkor recently completed an MBA Management degree awarded by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, during which he undertook a project in marketing and branding of academic institutions. His other academic qualifications include MSc in Structural Molecular Biology from Birkbeck College, University of London, UK, MPhil in Animal Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Ghana, Legon, Postgraduate Diploma in Infectious and Tropical Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and a BSc (Hons) degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ghana, Legon.
With a broad academic background, Prof. Sampane-Donkor applies concepts from several fields to help address the global infectious disease challenge through research. His current research interests focus on understanding the dynamics of infectious pathogens in at-risk populations, such as patients with stroke, sickle cell disease and diabetes. He has published over 100 peer- reviewed articles in international journals, including 64 first and/or corresponding author articles. Many of Prof. Sampane-Donkor's publications appear in reputable journals, such as MBio, BMC Genomics, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Lancet EClinical Medicine, Frontiers in Infection and Cellular Microbiology, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, and Genes. He is a high-level expert on the pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae), a highly virulent microbial pathogen that causes severe invasive and non-invasive diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia. His work on this pathogen contributed to the introduction of the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Ghana in 2012, and also earned him the African Prize of the Robert Austrian Award in Pneumococcal Vaccinology from Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, USA. He has also researched extensively on the evolution of antibiotic resistance in Ghana, providing timely data for empirical treatment of bacterial infections in the country. For instance, a paper he published on antibiotic resistance of uropathogens in 2016 was the basis for changing ciprofloxacin to amikacin as prophylaxis among bladder outlet obstruction patients at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana. Working in the area of global health, Prof. Sampane-Donkor has been involved in extensive research collaborations across the globe, working with institutions such as the Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK, Centres for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, Sackler School of Public Health, Tel Aviv University in Israel, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, USA, and the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Taif University in Saudi Arabia.
Prof. Sampane-Donkor provides consultancy services to several local and international institutions, such as the National Accreditation Board of Ghana, Clinton Health Access Initiative and the World Health Organization. In a recent assignment, he undertook and led a nationwide study for the Ghanaian Ministry of Health towards public-private partnership in diagnostics as part of the African Health Diagnostics Platform. This study formed the basis for a 40 million Euro loan from the European Investment Bank to the Ghanaian Government to improve diagnostics in the country. Overall, Prof. Sampane-Donkor has undertaken 16 funded research projects, with funding support from several institutions, such as the Pneumococcal Vaccines Accelerated Development and Introduction Plan of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, World Health Organization, Wyeth Vaccines and Eimksip Fund. Currently, he is the site (Ghana) Principal Investigator of a 3.1 million GBP Fleming Fund regional grant project aimed at addressing the problem of antimicrobial resistance in developing countries through surveillance. He serves as Academic Editor for several journals, including Frontiers in Tropical Medicine (USA), Pathogens Journal (Switzerland), and the Journal of Ghana Science Association. He also serves as an ad hoc reviewer for many local and international journals. Prof Sampane-Donkor had been a visiting faculty/scientist to several international institutions, such as the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, University of Sussex in the UK and University of Minnesota in the United States. Currently, he is a Visiting Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Sackler School of Public Health, Tel Aviv University, Israel and a Life Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, UK. He is part of several international initiatives, including the Global Pneumococcal Sequencing Consortium, Fleming Fund Convening of Antimicrobial Resistance Experts, Partnerships for International Medical Education, and the Global Bacterial Vaccinology Network (BactiVac).
At the University of Ghana, Prof. Sampane-Donkor has served on several committees, including the Graduate School Board, Ethical and Protocol Review Committee of the College of Health Sciences, Scientific and Technical Committee of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Editorial Board of the UG Readers Project, College of Health Sciences Research Board (Chairman), Board of the Office of Research Innovation and Development (ORID), UG Academic Board, and Academic Board of the College of Health Sciences; moreover, he is the current Vice-Chancellor's representative on the School Management Committee of the School of Biological Sciences.
In recognition of his high achievements, contribution to science in Ghana, and excellent academic scholarship, Prof. Sampane-Donkor was elected to fellowship of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021.

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Professor Eric Sampane-Donkor
Head, Department of Medical Microbiology, UGMS

SPOTLIGHT: PROFESSOR KWAMENA W. C. SAGOE, CLINICAL VIROLOGIST

Prof. Kwamena W. C. Sagoe is a Molecular and Public Health Virologist with experience in clinical virology who has worked extensively on HIV, and is a member of the International AIDS Society (IAS). Other viruses in his research spectrum include hepatitis B virus, rotaviruses, and is currently working on SARS-CoV-2. He has worked on projects funded by Ghana AIDS Commission, ACRiA, Ghana-Dutch Collaboration Program for Health Research and Development, Calypte Inc., Alameda, CA, USA, NIH - NINDS/NHGRI, CFAR/Brown University (NIH CFAR), and the World Health Organization. He is an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Clinical Virology, and has done ad-hoc reviews for several journals including Ghana Medical Journal, Journal of Medical Virology, PLoS ONE, Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, West African Journal of Medicine, Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research, and BMC Infectious Diseases. His current research includes HIV drug resistance, viral etiology (including SARS-CoV-2) of patients with non-plasmodium malaria-like symptoms, and the use of hydrogen peroxide as topical prophylaxis to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections. He is currently working with Revna Biosciences to develop and improve diagnostics.

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Professor Kwamena W.C Sagoe
Clinical Virologist