Dr Abena Amoah is Science Programme Manager at MEIRU’s Karonga campus where she has oversight over research activities. Abena holds a PhD in immunoepidemiology from University of Leiden in the Netherlands and an MSc in epidemiology from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her undergraduate training was in biological sciences and graduated from Mount Holyoke College in the United States. 

Abena started off her research career as a clinical research assistant at the Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at Rockefeller University in New York City where she worked for  two years. She then relocated to Ghana where she worked at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research for almost 10 years coordinating population studies that focused on immune responses to parasitic worm (helminth) infections.

Prior to joining MEIRU in 2019, Abena was a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University Medical Center and was part of the project management team for the EDCTP-funded freeBILy project evaluating the accuracy of antigen tests to diagnose Schistosoma infections in women and young children in Gabon and Madagascar.  

She is a member of the International Epidemiology Association (IEA), American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) and the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). 

Abena’s research has focused on immune responses to helminths in urban and rural populations and she has an interest in understanding mechanisms underpinning protection against or susceptibility to noncommunicable diseases in populations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Current Grants 

  • Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Award: Healthy Lives Malawi Longitudinal Population Study. Wellcome Trust. Co-applicant, £245,520.00. February 2021 – July 2024.
  • Non-invasive biomarkers of stress in mothers, fathers and infants in urban and rural Malawi: a feasibility study, Medical Research Council UK, Co-investigator, £95,989. August 2021 – August 2022.
  • SARS-CoV-2 immunoepidemiology in Wellcome-funded urban and rural cohorts in Malawi: generating evidence to inform regional medium & long term decision making, Wellcome Trust, Co-Investigator, £249,544, October 2020 – March 2022.
  • Characterising asthma in urban and rural Malawi, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund, Principal Investigator, £49,496; January 2021 – August 2022.
  • CHild malnutrition & Adult NCD: Generating Evidence on mechanistic links to inform future policy/practice (CHANGE project), Medical Research Council UK, Co-Investigator, £ 948,995, March 2021 – March 2022.

Selected Publications 

Banda J, Dube AN, Brumfield S, Amoah, AS, Reniers G, Crampin AC, Helleringer S. Knowledge, risk perceptions, and behaviors related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Malawi. Demographic Research. 2021;44:459-80.

Amoah AS, Hoekstra PT, Casacuberta-Partal M, Coffeng LE, Corstjens P, Greco B, van Lieshout L, Lim MD, Markwalter CF, Odiere MR, Reinhard-Rupp J, Roestenberg M, Stothard R, Tchuem Tchuenté LA, de Vlas SJ and van Dam GJ, Sensitive diagnostic tools and targeted drug administration strategies are needed to eliminate schistosomiasis. Lancet Infect Dis, 2020. 20(7): p. e165-e172.

Mpairwe H and Amoah ASParasites and allergy: Observations from Africa. Parasite Immunol, 2019. 41(6): p. e12589.

Amoah AS, Asuming-Brempong EK, Obeng BB, Versteeg SA, Larbi IA, Aryeetey Y, Platts-Mills TAE, Mari A, Brzezicka K, Gyan BA, Mutocheluh M, Boakye DA, Reichardt NC, van Ree R, Hokke CH, van Diepen A and Yazdanbakhsh M, Identification of dominant anti-glycan IgE responses in school children by glycan microarray. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2018. 141(3): p. 1130-1133.

Obeng BB, Amoah AS, Larbi IA, de Souza DK, Uh HW, Fernández-Rivas M, van Ree R, Rodrigues LC, Boakye DA, Yazdanbakhsh M and Hartgers FC, Schistosome infection is negatively associated with mite atopy, but not wheeze and asthma in Ghanaian schoolchildren. Clin Exp Allergy, 2014. 44(7): p. 965-75.

Amoah AS, Obeng BB, May L, Kruize YC, Larbi IA, Kabesch M, Wilson MD, Hartgers FC, Boakye DA and Yazdanbakhsh M, Urban-rural differences in the gene expression profiles of Ghanaian children. Genes Immun, 2014. 15(5): p. 313-9.

Amoah AS, Obeng BB, Larbi IA, Versteeg SA, Aryeetey Y, Akkerdaas JH, Zuidmeer L, Lidholm J, Fernández-Rivas M, Hartgers FC, Boakye DA, van Ree R and Yazdanbakhsh M, Peanut-specific IgE antibodies in asymptomatic Ghanaian children possibly caused by carbohydrate determinant cross-reactivity. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2013. 132(3): p. 639-647.