Alfred Attah, Nigeria
- Current employment: Academic Staff/Lecturer at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria
- Scholarship: Ernst Mach Follow-Up Grant
- Duration: 04/2018–06/2018
- Motto: "Nothing is impossible if you believe"
Beginning from January, 2018, Alfred Attah has been employed as an academic staff in the Department of Pharmacognosy and Drug Development, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Ilorin, Nigeria. This new position involves teaching and research. Before this current appointment, he served as a Postdoctoral research Scientist at the Center for Drug Discovery, Development and Production (CDDDP), Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His activities at the center involved the research, development and quality assurance of herbal drugs and supplements. The joint Austrian-Nigerian project commenced in 2012 during Alfred Attah’s pre-doctoral/docotral studies, supported by the OeAD Ersnt Mach stipendium which he received under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Christian Gruber. The just completed Ernst Mach Follow-Up Grant was awarded to him as a follow up to the 2012 project. The overall aim of this project is to achieve a sustained documentation and identification of new plants used in Nigerian ethnomedicine expressing new bioactive peptides. The core interest remains drug discovery via the purification and isolation of novel cysteine rich peptides such as cyclotides, characterise their uterotonic properties and document their traditional uses based on scientific evidence. The ultimate target is nature derived peptide drug discovery in an era where new templates are highly desired for drug design and Pharmaceutical applications.
My scholarship stay in Vienna has enabled me to better appreciate the beauty and strength in cultural diversity as obtained in an environment like Vienna. Professionally I met and interacted with scientists from different countries and educational backgrounds. I learnt new drug discovery techniques and equally transferred some learning experiences to them. One notable intercultural experience is the Vienna cycling night involving massive bicycle ride around Vienna. That was simply awesome. Other intercultural experiences are the various activities organised by OeAD. Worthy of mention are the extra-curricular and social activities which my research group in Vienna organised such as special barbecue, bowling indoor game and cycling. Besides the need to unwind and relax the mind, some of these activities were intended to celebrate the success of an accepted high impact paper. My stay in Vienna has cultivated in me a global view of the essence of life and scientific research; in particular, to Love, pursue peace and the common good of the entire human race. It’s now clearer to me the world is a global place of possibilities. One of my topmost ideas and wish has been to understand computational techniques in drug discovery as applicable to peptide-based drugs. This was realised during my stay and is now useful to me back here in Nigeria. I equally wished to strengthen my research collaboration with my host which should result in high impact publication. This too has been partially realised as the paper manuscript is in pipeline.