UG: Noguchi opens refurbished Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory of the Drug Innovation Group

Kuuku Osei-Baidoo
Kuuku Osei-Baidoo
6 Min Read

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), the Department of Chemistry (UG), and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have collaboratively refurbished the medicinal chemistry laboratory of the Drug Innovation Group, based in the Department of Chemistry, to become a world-class laboratory after receiving funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the ‘Supporting a Drug Discovery Hub in Ghana’ project.

Excerpts of the refurbished laboratory.

Speaking at the opening of the refurbished laboratory, Provost of the UG College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Prof. Boateng Onwona-Agyeman commended the collaboration between the aforementioned institutions for the refurbishment, further urging faculty and staff to share findings as well as generate funds from research in the labs.

“It is really laudable that Noguchi, the Department of Chemistry of the University of Ghana, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) came together to refurbish this laboratory, which we are grateful for. Also, in terms of application, try and share your results, and make sure you can generate some funds from the research that can be beneficial in the space of herbal medicine.”

Placing emphasis on maintaining and protecting the laboratory, Prof. Onwona-Agyeman advised faculty to properly manage and preserve the laboratory.

“We have to ensure that this state-of-the art equipment are maintained, and since we do not manufacture them in the country, there is a need to preserve them. It is very important. Lastly, you have to work closely with the College Materials Officer since manufacturers of this state-of-the-art equipment have a framework, so in order to maintain this equipment, you must formulate a framework maintenance policy for this equipment in the event of future challenges.”

Representative on behalf of the Director of Noguchi, and investigator of the project, Professor Linda Eva Amoah expressed gratitude for the funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, subsequently calling on the Department of Chemistry’s management to ensure that the laboratory produces world-class findings.

“…we are very grateful for the funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We leave the laboratory in the hands of Prof. Richard K. Amewu of whom we are confident will ensure that the results from this laboratory are something worthy of the lab itself.”

Also present at the opening, Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Ghana, Prof. Richard K. Amewu revealed that the refurbished medicinal chemistry laboratory will focus more on drug recovery to combat diseases.

Excerpts of the refurbished laboratory.

He also claimed that the laboratory was the first of its kind not only in Ghana but in the entire sub-Saharan African region.

“Basically, our research is focused on drug discovery of small molecules not from natural sources but synthetic compounds, so that is what this equipment is for. We can boastfully say that this laboratory is the first of its kind in Ghana, the first of its kind in most parts of Africa except limited institutions in South Africa.”

He also expressed his appreciation for the funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which he believes will facilitate the research and training of students in medicinal chemistry.

According to Prof. Amewu, the new laboratory would create endless opportunities by improving training for students and staff, and helping the department win more grants and funding.

Excerpts of the refurbished laboratory.

Dean of the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Ghana, Prof. Elsie Effah Kaufmann who spoke at the opening, applauded the collaboration in bringing into fruition the refurbishment of the laboratory.

She also called on the faculty to share findings and collaborate widely with outside institutions to improve upon research in medicinal chemistry.

“We look forward to the work that will be done here and hope you will collaborate widely. I urge you to collaborate widely across the university and let us see some wonderful work being done here.”

Excerpts of the refurbished laboratory.

The Drug Innovation Group (DIG) is a medicinal chemistry group at the University of Ghana (UG). DIG staff and laboratories are situated in the Frank Tortor Building at the Department of Chemistry.

DIG is part of a fully integrated malaria drug discovery project under the ethos of the Grand Challenges African Drug Discovery Accelerator (GC-ADDA) program, which comprises of eight (8) African institutions with many international partners funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and LifeArc.

Story by: Kuuku Osei-Baidoo |

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