WACCBIP Student Spotlight – Adzoa Sena Matrevi
This week’s student spotlight had always wanted to be a lawyer, but a lot changed over the course of her education. Mrs. Adzoa Sena Matrevi, describes herself as an individual of exceptional accomplishment, character, intellectual ability and a life experience that has defined her purpose as a woman in the scientific world. A final year PhD Biochemistry student with WACCBIP, she has inspired other young researchers with her determination and confidence.
Tell us about your upbringing and what makes you who you are?
I grew up in the village of Taviefe, in the Volta Region but my family later moved to Kumasi in the Ashanti Region. I had always desired to be a lawyer until a friend convinced me that being a good lawyer means spinning the truth in favor of your client, that is basically lying and that changed my mind. I was encouraged to pursue Science which I was never interested in because I thought I was not good especially in Mathematics. However, with persistence and assistance, I did well in my O and A-levels and that generated my interest to eventually pursue science and I have not regretted it!
What is your research area and why are you passionate about it?
Currently, I work with the Epidemiology Department of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR). I have been working in this laboratory since 2006 as a research assistant, working on antimalarial drug resistance and performing molecular assays on key antimalarial drug resistance molecular markers. My research is basically to find antimalarial drugs. So far, parasite DNA have been extracted from positive blood blot samples of 10 sentinel sites set up by the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and the NMIMR. I use these samples to monitor antimalarial drug resistance by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by sequencing the DNA and analyzing these sequences or doing restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). Monitoring is intensified to enable us detect early changes that can lead to reduced drug efficacy. If it leads to reduced efficacy, we alert the NMCP. I am very passionate about this project because I am contributing positively to the health of Ghanaians and to the world as a whole.
What do you like about WACCBIP?
WACCBIP is a place where scientists who want to be knowledgeable and contribute to society should be. WACCBIP is raising excellent students and hence, adhere to very high standards and assist students to reach such standards. I really enjoy the annual research conferences as they are interesting and expose us to well-known researchers who give stimulating presentations. I was really impressed with a lecture delivered by Professor Abdulai Djimde from Mali during this year’s research conference. His presentation answered many of the questions observed during my research. Another lecture which was very insightful was one delivered by Professor Ambroise Wonkam of University of Cape Town, on genetic bases of childhood hearing loss in Cameroon. His lecture explained why a family in my village has about 50% of its members having hearing impairments. This was highly impressive and I realized that Africa is blessed with top notch scientists and WACCBIP is contributing to that effect.
What impact do you think your research will have in the world in the next decade?
The importance of Plasmodium falciparum resistance has been a major issue for malaria endemic countries in its prevention, treatment, elimination and eradication since there is no effective vaccine to date. Resistance to antimalarial drugs, is therefore, a huge threat. So far, the artemisinin and its derivatives in combination with other drugs have shown nearly 100% efficacy. Therefore, my research is trying to determine the genetic constitution of the Plasmodium parasite before the introduction of artemisinin. My results will represent a baseline data concerning the targeted genes. The findings in this research will help the NMCP to alter or change the drug policy for malaria treatment if the need arises.
Any future plans you want to share?
I train both local and foreign interns who visit our laboratory and in the future I would like to continue with this training because I believe I know what I do. In addition, I would like to continue with my malaria research and to collaborate with other scientists across the world.
Any advice for WACCBIP students?
I would advise students of WACCBIP to always deliver to the standards of WACCBIP. The key to this is to be updated with scientific articles which highlights current issues and findings in scientific research.
[Sena received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and post-graduate studies in Microbiology at the University of Ghana Medical School. On her favorite food, she enjoys yam fufu with goat light soup containing all the internal organs (throat, stomach and intestines). For relaxation, she enjoys cool and sentimental music.]