Dr. Francis Djankpa, a developmental and molecular neuroscientist, has returned to Ghana to start his own lab with the support of an IBRO Return Home Fellowship. The laboratory will be the first neuroscience research laboratory in the country and will be based in the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Cape Coast. Support from the university is essential to the laboratory’s long-term success as the administration has provided space, remodeling assistance and the provision of two freezers.
After obtaining his PhD at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, and returning to Ghana, Dr. Djankpa has become very active in the local neuroscience field. He attends seminars organized by the School of Medical Sciences and his department (physiology) is spearheading the establishment of a research group under his initiative. Together with this group, he is writing grant proposals to support future research activities. He also gave two presentations of his PhD thesis at the University of Cape Coast and has established a research collaboration with the university’s Department of Music to investigate the influence of a particular type of music on brain functions.
Furthermore, the Department of Physiology is currently developing a curriculum for a multidisciplinary graduate program in the medical school. When completed, Dr. Djankpa’s research laboratory will be used to integrate this program for those interested in Neuroscience-related research.
Dr. Djankpa adds:
“I aspire to spearhead Neuroscience research in Ghana and also advocate for my government to take the initiative and fund Neuroscience research in the country. I am also working very hard to start my own research very soon and train and mentor graduate students.
Another objective that I am passionate about is to spearhead and champion the cause of brain protection in Ghana and advocacy for mentally ill individuals to be treated in a more humane manner.
The IBRO Return Home Fellowship initiative is indispensable for the advancement of neuroscience research in Ghana and Africa at large. It serves as a stepping stone upon which young scientists like myself can stand and leap forward to higher laurels. The current structure and flexible rules governing the disbursement of the grant are ideal for my situation as a young African scientist. I am glad that IBRO and host institutions do not dictate or compel grant winners to purchase some specific equipment.”
To learn more about IBRO Return Home Fellowships, please see http://ibro.org/international/