It has been a pleasure to host Senyo Botchie at WCAIR for the last 9 months. As Senyo prepares to return to Ghana he talks to University Media Relations officer Jonathan Watson about his time in Dundee.
“I want my research work to have a positive impact in both my home country and the world at large. This dream is what brought me to Dundee.”
Senyo Botchie is determined to transform lives. The 29-year-old from Ghana’s Volta region is currently a trainee at the University of Dundee’s Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (WCAIR), enhancing his knowledge of Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes diarrhoea, fever and sickness, particularly in children.
He is halfway through a nine-month placement at the University, and says that his time within the School of Life Sciences has already changed the way in which his research will progress.
“I’ve studied Cryptosporidium for several years now back in Ghana. It is a major problem there.
“Over the years there has been many epidemiology studies reporting prevalence of Cryptosporidium in malnourished children and environmental water sources, but this wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to do something that impacts positively and bridges the gap between the research lab and the community. That’s why I started looking around the world for places that could help me develop my skills and knowledge.
“I applied to the WCAIR, where Dr Mattie Pawlowic’s lab was already looking into Cryptosporidium, and I was very fortunate enough to be accepted for a traineeship here.”
Senyo is based at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research at the University of Ghana. Having witnessed the effects of Cryptosporidium first-hand in his homeland, he said that he is determined to develop ways of tackling the parasite.
He admits that he has been able to expand his knowledge considerably while in Dundee, with the WCAIR’s staff and state-of-the-art technology allowing him to develop his research skills in ways previously unavailable to him in Ghana.
“The equipment here allows us to be much more precise with our data, so we don’t need to speculate so much and our findings are more accurate,” he continued.
“The working culture and systems here really work. Back in Ghana there are issues with procrastination, but here everybody is very professional. I’m learning so much and I’m already excited about what this opportunity will do for my future.
“I enjoy teaching and want to share my knowledge with other researchers. When I return home I would like to establish a screening system that would allow us to scan water samples for Crypto, and that would help to transform the lives of children back in Ghana.”
As well as forwarding his career, Senyo also admits that his time in Dundee has already helped him to develop as a person.
“This is my first trip to the UK and only my second time abroad,” he said.
“I have grown a lot in my first five months here. I had heard that Scotland was cold but when I arrived here I realised I could handle it. Everybody has been really friendly and my time in Dundee has been really enjoyable.”