I always wanted to be a doctor because of how I was cared for, treated, and loved by a professional medical doctor who operated on me when I was six years old. However, due to a lack of guidance and financial resources, I was unable to pursue a medical education after completing high school. Alternatively, I chose to study Biological Sciences at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Ghana.

During university, I developed an interest in studying microbiology after taking a first-year course on general microbiology. In this course, I was fascinated by the depth of knowledge and creativity demonstrated by Louis Pasteur to resolve the great controversy (‘theory of spontaneous generation’) that existed among the early scientists. The originality and replicability of his approach and methodology were astounding, and this exposure inspired me to also advance my knowledge in the discipline of microbiology. Remarkably, it happens to be one of the most rewarding professions because it allows practitioners to interact with all other natural sciences and, thus, contribute in diverse ways to the betterment of human life. It is obvious that, recurrently, new infectious diseases are arising and old diseases are once again becoming widespread and destructive. It is microbiologists that must find ways to stop the spread of established infectious diseases and the occurrence of novel infectious diseases, and I hope to contribute to this valuable work both now and in future careers.

For my undergraduate dissertation, I contributed to the UN’s SDG target 6.1, which aims to achieve “universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all” by 2030. I investigated the microbiological quality of drinking water samples from a community in Ghana that has a history of waterborne disease outbreaks. The intention of this work was to monitor the quality of drinking water in the community in order to prevent the reoccurrence of an outbreak. This study resulted in the isolation and identification of multiple antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. My main concern with these findings was the health risks that these strains could pose to the community’s residents. As a result, I want to acquire further knowledge and understanding of how such resistant strains interact with their hosts and the transmission and evolution of antibiotic resistance genes using cutting-edge molecular techniques.

I completed my 4-year Biological Science studies in October 2021 and I am currently doing my mandatory National Service as a research and teaching assistant at the Center for Research in Applied Biology (CeRAB) and Department of Basic and Applied Biology, UENR. At both places, I assist research fellows and undergraduate students in their research projects, and by so doing, I have acquired extra knowledge of the methodology and tools used in molecular microbiology research. Most importantly, I also organize tutorials on General Microbiology, Bacteriology, and Virology for Biological Science, Medical Laboratory Science, and Nursing students at all levels. Hence, my objective to join Beyond the PhD’s ambassador program is very simple and that is, I enthusiastically seek to be mentored and augment my personal abilities in order to provide career guidance and impact the lives of many, including peers and junior members.

After attending several seminars organized by this vision-rich group, I am highly motivated and convinced that, over time, I will be equipped with the skills necessary to potently influence and impact others. Again, I am confident that my goal of becoming an efficient and established microbiologist will be accomplished.

-Written by Rabbi Coffie Baidoo

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