Ghana MHIRT Site

Ghana MHIRT trainees travel to Ghana to perform research on diabetes, malaria and hypertension using ethnobotany methods. In addition to their individual research projects, students on the MHIRT project in Ghana are trained to do the following:
  • gather the supplies and equipment needed to perform organic chemistry studies in a remote location
  • extract critical elements from plants
  • use silica gel chromatography, alkaloid detection, and HPLC methodology
Students generally visit the Center for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine in Mampong, Ghana and the Aburi National Garden. These activities are invaluable in setting the tone with regards to the importance of the research they will be conducting at the University of Cape Coast. The students learn how the traditional healers, the Western trained physicians, and the scientists in Ghana are trying to understand the healing properties of the plants and herbs used to treat various diseases. Once in the lab students’ knowledge of organic chemistry is reinforced by being able to individually conduct all aspects of the research, including choosing a plant to study, preparing the plants for research and conducting the analyses of the various chemical components throughout the summer. Requirements: At least one semester of organic chemistry. For more information about this site, please contact the MHIRT program PI, Dena Plemmons at, or Kathy Kemp, the MHIRT Program Coordinator, at

Coming Soon!

Welcome to the Ghana Blog!

This is the area of the page where students who are currently enrolled in the MHIRT program can post their thoughts, pictures and experience on how it’s like to visit and work at the sites. Please enjoy and to get a more detailed account, feel free to click on the headline of the article and it will take you directly to the post page.

Research update!

As I said in one of my first posts this summer we are doing organic chemistry research at UCC. Specifically in natural products. We are looking at different medicinal local plants in Ghana and determining the chemical compounds that give them their medicinal value. The picture below shows the plant I am studying for the […]

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Nzulezo- The Ghanaian Atlantis

On Thursday we visited Nzulezo village and I have to say it was a great day. I specifically enjoyed the two-hour canoe ride to and from the village. My arms were tired from paddling hahah. I’m not even sure I was helping the guide at all. I tried! The village is located in the Western […]

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Volta Region (Heart eyes emoji)

For Cindy’s 21st birthday we traveled to Accra. While we were there I met one of Cindy’s friends (who also goes to her home university in NY and is from Ghana).  He invited me to go hiking and I am glad I said yes. IT was beautiful. I want to come back to Ghana just […]

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We miss…

What we miss… WE definitely miss home cooked meals (C, F, S). Cindy wants Nigerian Jollof rice (because its better according to her), Fatimata wants a fresh salad and a cup of green tea. Sean can hardly wait for fresh tortillas. A washer and dryer (C, S) My bed. (C, F) I miss not being […]

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Ghana Celebrates Republic Day & Cindy’s 21st Bday

Ghana celebrates Republic Day! 7.1.16 This was during a parade and she was patiently waiting for the “broni” to take the photo. She was wearing something similar to a Carnival ensemble with the traditional kente cloth.  Taken during a weekend visit to Accra region. Side note: Sometime after WWII, the British didn’t have resources to […]

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Volunteer Work!

This week we started volunteering at Montessori Primary/Junior High.  Fatimata made the mistake of exiting the car with her camera in her hands because all the little kids swarmed her for pictures.  This was the first time Sean was not the center of attention for the younger population.  Every time we returned to the school […]

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Week 6: Adwa’s Pre-Kindergarten Graduation

Our graduate Mentor in the lab is Akrofi. This week, his four and half year old daughter graduated from a day care school and we attended the ceremony. The event included choir songs by the kids and well as a fashion show and a drama play. Fatimata Sanogo

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Week 5: Teaching at Montesori School

We started volunteering at Montesori School and week 5 has been by far the busiest for us going between lab work and teaching! In fact, the students were preparing for their final annual exams and we helped them review for that purpose. Every week day, we started at 7 A.M. and helped students review until […]

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Week 5: Elmina Carnival

We got the chance to Experience Elmina Carnival thanks to our local friend Williams, also nicknamed Redemption. The carnival happens once a year and it’s a festival during which locals honor and give thanks to the gods that of the land. Williams has been a friend to MHIRT students since several years now and every […]

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Week 4: A delightful and Inspiring Surprise Visit!

I was very delighted and inspired one morning in the lab when Professor Tayman received a surprise visit from Abena Dove Osseo-Asara. Dr. Abena is currently a teacher at the University of Texas and interviewed Professor Tayman, our current principle investigator, when she was working on her PhD at Harvard. She authored the book Bitter […]

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