University of Cape Coast

Profile of Dr. Akwasi Anyanful

Dr. Akwasi Anyanful is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Medical Biochemistry of the School of Medical Sciences (SMS), College of Health and Allied Sciences (CoHAS). His research interest areas are in Biochemistry, Molecular and Public Health Biology. Specifically, he is majorly interested in the pattern of breast cancer distribution and prevalence in Ghana, molecular characterization of breast cancers in the sub-region by elucidation of unique biomarkers and targeted therapy by offering tailored treatment for breast cancer patients. His other interests are in comparative assessment of metabolic and chronological age and linkage between metabolic age and health status in the Ghanaian population.

 Dr. Anyanful has held and still holds many administrative, leadership and academic positions including Head of Department and Board Membership in SMS and CoHAS; External Examiner for the Graduate Schools in University of Ghana (UG), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS); Promotions Assessor for UG, KNUST, UHAS and Ghana Institute for Management and Public Administration (GIMPA); Past President, Current Scientific Committee Chair and Organizer for the Convention for Biomedical Researchers Ghana (CoBReG) formally Ghana Biomedical Convention (GBC) annual conferences; Former Organizing Secretary and current Vice President for Breast Society of Ghana; Former Editor and current reviewer for International Journal for Breast Cancer (Hindawi Journals);  Central and Western Region Coordinator, Ghana Genome Project; and Board Member, Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, amongst others. Dr. Anyanful has also attended and presented both oral and poster presentations in C. elegans and breast cancer research at many conferences all over the world. He is a member of major Professional bodies including America Society for Microbiology; International C. elegans Community; Convention for Biomedical Research, University Teachers Association of Ghana, amongst others.

 Dr. Anyanful obtained his BSc degree in Biochemistry at KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana in 1990. He then proceeded to do his National Service as a Teaching/Research Assistant at the Biochemistry Department of the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS), Accra and completed in August 1991. He joined the Electron Microscopy Unit of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) at the University of Ghana, Accra from January 1992 to September 1996. At Noguchi, he was a member of the team working on rotavirus to ascertain its pattern of infection and serotypes. 

Dr. Anyanful then proceeded to Okayama University in Japan on a Mombukagakusho Scholarship for graduate training in October 1996 and completed in March 2002 with a PhD in Molecular Biology. During his graduate study, using the soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as the model organism, he was able to identify and characterize two tropomyosin isoforms and elucidate the regulatory transcription factors using molecular biological techniques. 

After a short six-month Postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School in Boston from April to September, 2002, he transferred to the Ono Laboratory at Emory University in Atlanta from October 2002 to September 2004. During his Post-Doctoring training, he ascertained the mechanisms regulating tissue specific alternative splicing of unc-60 gene in C. elegans muscle and successfully secured a two-year Post-doctoral Fellowship grant from American Heart Association to support this work. 

From Ono Lab, he joined the Kalman Lab also at Emory University, in October 2004 and focused on using C. elegans as a model system to understand the pathogeneicity of Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) and Enterohemmorhagic E.coli (EHEC). Specifically, his research was focused on elucidating both the virulence mechanism employed by the microbes and host mechanism that determine susceptibility or resistance to infection. 

From 2007 - 2012, he was promoted to positions of Research Associate and Instructor and his focus was on identifying and characterizing the crystalline forms of the toxin(s) produced by EPEC and identified a family of indole molecules that regulated the virulence. These small molecules identified were sent for patenting. All in all, an amount of 1.22 Million dollars RO1 grant was awarded to the Kalman Lab for his research work with C. elegans.

At Emory, he also collaborated with the Gerwitz Lab at Georgia State and the Schroder Lab at Cornell University, New York to identify factors in EPEC that trigger protective immunity against bacterial toxins in C. elegans and the role of small molecule metabolite signaling in extending lifespan in C. elegans respectively. The work in these two labs is still ongoing. He also supervised and mentored several undergraduate students at Emory University especially for the summer programs.

In June 2012, he relocated to the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and teamed up with his colleague Dr. Frank Ghartey for breast cancer research using the first in the world, a handheld optical device Breast-I, which detects angiogenesis and is therefore an effective screening breast cancer tool for resource deficient Africa.  Since 2013, they have screened over 15000 women and have been organizing the Cape Coast Breast Cancer awareness Program every October. At, UCC, he teaches Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, supervised several undergrad and graduate students and collaborated with several researchers from other departments in the College of Health and Allied Sciences. Dr. Anyanful is part of team that has been charged with the establishment of the new School of Biomedical Sciences and developing curricula for new courses in the College. In addition, he is a part time lecturer for the Medical and Genetic Counselling programs at the Accra College of Medicine and West Africa Genetic Medicine Centre respectively.

 Dr. Anyanful being a result-oriented and resourceful individual with a proven track record thus brings aboard his experience in quality Research, Collaborative Networks, Grantsmanship, Mentorship, Leadership and Teaching abilities.