SENA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RECEIVES A $100,000 GRANT FROM NEW ENGLAND BIOLABS®.

We are happy to announce a generous gift from New England Biolabs, Inc. (NEB®) to expand our effort to develop basic science research in Ghana and beyond in Africa. The grant was made possible through the advocacy of Dr. Rich Roberts, 1993 Nobel Prize Laureate and NEB Chief Scientific Officer, and Mr. Jim Ellard, NEB Chief Executive Officer. “I am delighted to support the development of SIT, which offers an excellent opportunity for scientific advancement in Ghana. While current resources are limited, as more scientists, government agencies and charitable Foundations discover the opportunities that can be offered, I feel sure SIT will have a very healthy future and make a major contribution to science in Ghana. I pledge to do all I can to help” said Dr. Rich Roberts.

The core mission of the Sena Institute of Technology is to build capacity in fundamental research and to provide resources for Ghanaian scientists and researchers to explore their environment and develop solutions that enhance the quality of life. Dr. Bartholomew Dzudzor, Head of the Medical Biochemistry Department at the University of Ghana Medical School, emphasized the relevance of SIT in the region. "Sena Institute of Technology has demonstrated over the past years as an organization determined to boost research capacity across the region. I did my masters and doctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a doctoral research student, I worked on selective expression of RIN1 in some regions of the brain which required culturing of neurons and other cell lines. Since my return to Ghana, it has been extremely difficult to get access to basic resources for pursuing credible research. I foresee many researchers across the country using this facility to further their molecular biology research".

"We are grateful to New England Biolabs for this award. The grant will enable us to expand our field research into local plants and their applications for food, nutritional supplements and medicinal application", said Dr. Kwasi Agbleke, and President of the Sena Institute of Technology. "The goal of the project is to identify and document tropical crops for global food security, preserve both the seeds and tissues for conservation efforts, and characterize their biochemical and molecular properties for nutritional supplements and therapeutic applications".

“As a member of the board, I provide guidance both in SIT scientific and administrative approaches to the research mission”, said Dr. Enrique M. De La Cruz, Professor and Chair of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University.  “In the pace of over 2 years, I have witnessed progression from the bare structure to the setting up of a facility that entails laboratory spaces, a library, office and an art center. Dr. Agbleke has built the capacity to compete on an international level through infrastructure development, dedicated staff and a team of advisors to guide them." Dr. Julia Gohlke, an Assistant Professor of Population Sciences at Virginia Tech and a member of the SIT advisory board echoed, "I have continually been impressed with Dr. Agbleke's commitment and hard work to build a comprehensive research institute in Ghana.  In particular his vision is evident in the research focus areas that are complementary to each other and fulfill goals to characterize and improve our understanding of the natural resources in Ghana and, in turn, how these are connected to human health outcomes that affect people across the globe".

Rich-Roberts-1024x576 copyA meeting of Dr. Rich Roberts, (Chief Scientific Officer of New England Biolabs and 1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine) and Dr. Kwasi Agbleke, (Founder and President of the Sena Institute of Technology) at the New England Biolabs headquarters in Ipswich, MA.

About the Sena Institute of Technology

To achieve our mission the institute has focused on these major areas:

  1. Develop infrastructure capacity to train students and researchers within the country. Our facility has a wet laboratory for molecular research, a dry laboratory for computation and data science research, a Fab Lab, a library that is open to the general public  and a cultural and museum facility.
  2. Develop local solutions through novel technology developments, molecular biology, agriculture, and health. The institute is developing molecular grade culture media from agricultural waste and involved in research efforts into fibroid research in Ghana.
  3. Organize seminars and conferences in molecular biology and microscopy to infuse new knowledge and update researchers on the African continent on current trends in the field. Through our partnership with the Federation of American Societies for experimental Biology (FASEB) we are making conferences and seminars available across the African continent.
  4. Promote collaborative research through internships, international exchange programs and project-based research collaborations. This interdisciplinary effort is possible through collaborations with the Harvard Center for African Studies, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology International Science and Technology Initiative, the University of Chicago and the University of Ghana.
  5. Provide a Fab Lab environment for the general public to pilot their ideas in woodwork, pottery, metal work and 3D printing. This initiative is through the MIT Fab Lab network which provides resources to individuals to pilot and test their ideas in a controlled environment.
  6. Expand the reach of Ghanaian cultural and artistic work within Ghana and beyond. We are executing this project with proper documentation of existing Ghanaian arts and culture.

For more information on New England Biolabs, please visit https://www.neb.com/about-neb/neb-overview.