Founding Director of West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), and a Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology (BCMB) at the University of Ghana, Legon, has been appointed Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana.
The appointment followed a meeting by the university council on December 23, where Prof. Gordon Akanzuwine Awandare was considered and approved as Pro Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs (ASA) with effect from 1st January, 2022.
Prof. Gordon Awandare is also a visiting Professor at the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK.
He completed his O’level in 1991 at Notre Dame Seminary Secondary School, Navrongo and A’level in 1993 at Presbyterian Boys Secondary School, Legon. He then obtained his Bsc Biochemistry in 1998 and MPhil Biochemistry in 2002 at the University of Ghana, Lgeon. Subsequently he obtained a PhD in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA in 2007, followed by a Postdoctoral fellowship at the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research, MD, USA from 2007 to 2010.
He was appointed Lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Ghana in 2002, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2011, Associate Professor in 2015 and Professor in 2018. He was Head of Department of Biochemistry from 2013 to 2017. In 2014, he led the establishment of WACCBIP after winning one of the World Bank’s African Centres of excellence grants. Subsequently WACCBIP has won several other big grants, including a Wellcome Trust DELTAS grant, which altogether have secured over $40 million to University of Ghana for equipment, infrastructure, and fellowships to about 300 African scientists for Masters, doctoral and postdoctoral training. He has supervised 14 postdoctoral fellows, 20 PhD students and 23 Master’s students.
His research interest is in the molecular and cellular aspects of infectious diseases in Africa, with specialization in the biology of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and the pathogenesis of its infections in African children. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Prof Awandare’s team have played a leading role in Ghana’s response by providing research data on seroprevalence and genomic diversity of circulating SARS-CoV-2 viruses. He has more than 130 peer-reviewed journal publications in a wide range of journals, including some of the leading infectious diseases and immunology journals.
Prof Awandare brings significant experience in university management and governance. He is currently the Foundation Chairman of the Governing Council of the CK Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences in Navrongo, where he is also Chairman of the University’s Finance Committee. He has previously served on the Governing Council of the University of Development Studies, Tamale, where he was also the Chairman of the University’s Audit Report Implementing Committee. Within the University of Ghana, he has been a member of Academic Board and served on the Business and Executive Committee for many years. He has also been Chairman, Centre Management Committee for WACCBIP, and member of Management committees/boards for many units, including, Office of Research Innovation and Development (ORID), Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, School of Pharmacy, Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, School of Biological Sciences, and School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. Prof Awandare has also Chaired or served on numerous Adhoc committees at the University of Ghana, including the Search Committee for Vice Chancellor in 2020/2021.
Awards and Recognition
Prof Awandare was a recipient of the Royal Society Pfizer award for 2015 for achievements in molecular and cellular studies of malaria, and science capacity building in Africa. At the University of Ghana, he received the Distinguished Award for Meritorious Service in 2014, Citation of Honor in recognition of contributions to science development in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences in particular, and University of Ghana in general in 2020 and Meritorious Award in Recognition of Outstanding Service, College of Basic and Applied Sciences in 2021.
He is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society of Biology of the UK. In 2019, he was appointed the first Global Editor for Africa for Experimental Biology and Medicine, the journal of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. He also serves on numerous prestigious international boards and committees, including, Chairman, West African Network of Infectious Disease ACEs (WANIDA), a World Bank/French Government funded collaborative network for training and research; Member, Expert Advisory Board, Wellcome Trust Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI), University of Cape Town, South Africa; Deputy Director and Member of Steering Committee, Crick African Network, Francis Crick Institute, UK, Member; Steering Committee, National Institute of Health Research Global Research Unit on Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa (TIBA), University of Edinburgh, UK; Member, Technical Consultant, Science Engagement to support Evidence Informed Policy Responses to COVID-19 in Africa, Africa Academy of Sciences, Nairobi, Kenya; Member, Lancet COVID-19 Commission, Africa task Force; Member, Editorial Board, Parasitology; Member, MalariaGEN Governance Committee, Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK; Member of Council, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine; Member, Advisory Board, AAS Open Research, African Academy of Sciences; Member, Wellcome Sanger Institute Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences Steering Group, UK.