Dr. Charles Narh is a Research Fellow with the School of Medicine, Deakin University, having previously worked at Bio21 Institute and the University of Melbourne (PhD), WEHI and Burnet Institute (Postdoc). Dr. Narh has been an active member of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy since 2020, being a grantee of two COVID-19 projects in Ghana.
Dr. Narh focuses on interdisciplinary basic and translation research, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), ranging from R&Ds of molecular diagnostics and genomic tools and utilization of population genetic approaches for disease surveillance. Dr. Narh has engagements with industry partners to add commercial value to his research products, collaborating with clinicians and researchers, in Africa including Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and disease control programs across West African, to conduct clinical trials and field validation studies of diagnostic tools and control interventions.
What are your biggest achievements? Dr. Narh’s research findings on the evolution of antimalarial resistance (AMR) in Ghana, a malaria high-burden country in sub-Sahara Africa, has contributed to national policy changes in malaria drug resistance monitoring programs, and has been considerably translated across the West African subregion. He has played lead roles in R&D teams at ZiP Diagnostics (a biotech start-up in Australia) developing novel point-of-care molecular tests for infectious diseases. Dr. Narh and his team in Ghana have built clinical trial networks, where he works with colleagues at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACBIP) and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana, to validate and implement point-of-care tools for COVID-19 (ANZCTR Trial Registry # ACTRN12623000066684) and malaria (ongoing projects on artemisinin resistance and parasite Pfhrp2/3 deletions; funded by Deakin University, Australia). Dr. Narh is open to collaboration.
What are your biggest challenges? Funding remains a challenge for basic and translational research into infectious diseases in Africa, as evident from the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also little-to-no collaboration between academic research and industry partners in Africa, which is a critical barrier to clinical trials and commercialisation of the vast research products by scientists in the region.
What are your ambitions for the next few years? Dr. Narh hopes to lead academic and industry projects that have strong clinical impact and commercial viability in Africa, and to support capacity building through disease control programs and studentships.