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Thomas K. Karikari

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I recently completed my PhD in Neuroscience at the School of Life Sciences. I was a fellow of the MIBTP Doctoral Training Partnership, with my studentship jointly funded by the BBSRC and the University of Warwick Chancellor's scholarship.

Supervised by Prof. Kevin Moffat, my PhD research combined an interdisciplinary approach to study if and how variants of the Tau protein lead to different forms of aggregates in Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia. To this end, I used techniques in molecular biology to design plasmids, which were then expressed, purified and characterised using protein biochemistry tools. The prepared proteins were subsequently studied in terms of their aggregation and conformation in neurodegeneration-like states using advanced biophysical tools to understand how each disease-associated protein aggregates into distinct types of oligomers and fibrils, similar to those isolated from human brains. Furthermore, I investigated the functional aspects of these biochemical and structural differences by studying the cell-to-cell transmission of each protein and the potential mechanisms involved in human neuroblastoma cells and stem cell-derived cortical neurons. Findings from this work are expected to help improve existing understanding of how protein structure and folding could influence the mechanisms of specific neurologic diseases characterised by dysfunctional forms of the Tau protein.

As part of my PhD, I have obtained training in molecular neurogenetics in the lab of Prof. Flaviano Giorgini, University of Leicester, studying the molecular pathogenesis of Huntington's disease in yeast and mammalian tissue models. Moreover, I was trained in the differentiation and handling of stem cell-derived human cortical neurons in the lab of Dr. Eric Hill at Aston University, Birmingham.

Immediately after my PhD, I undertook a visiting fellowship in the lab of Prof. Dominic Walsh at Harvard Medical School, studying if tau aggregation influences its neuronal toxicity. To acheive this, I analysed impacts of tau monomers, soluble and insoluble aggregates on stem cell-derived neurons using the Incucyte cell imaging system.

  • 2013-2017 PhD in Life Sciences, University of Warwick
  • 2011-2012 MSc (Distinction) Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
  • 2006-2010 BSc Biochemistry (1st Class Honours), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana
  • 2017 - Research Mobility Fellowship, Royal Society of Chemistry
  • 2017 - Travelling Fellowship, The Company of Biologists
  • 2013-2017 - Fellow, MIBTP Doctoral Training Programme, University of Warwick
  • 2013-2017 - Chancellor’s International Scholarship, University of Warwick
  • 2011-2012 - Commonwealth Shared Scholarship, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
  • 2011 – Commonwealth Shared Scholarship, Newcastle University, UK (gratefully declined)
  • 2011 – Commonwealth Shared Scholarship, Northumbria University, UK (gratefully declined)
  • 2016 – Best Poster Prize, Alzheimer’s Research UK Midlands Conference, Loughborough University
  • 2012 – Best graduating MSc Pharmaceutical Biotechnology student – De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
  • 2010 – Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence, Faculty of Biosciences, KNUST, Ghana

 Life science research

1. Karikari TK*, Turner A, Stass R, Lee LCY, Wilson B, Nagel DA, et al. 2017. Expression and purification of tau protein and its frontotemporal dementia variants using a cleavable histidine tag. Protein Expression and Purification.130: 44–54.

2. Karikari TK* 2015. Bioinformatics in Africa: the rise of Ghana? PLoS Computational Biology 11(9): e1004308 [Cover article; part of the “Developing Computational Biology” collection]

3. Karikari TK*, Aleksic J. 2015. Neurogenomics: an opportunity to integrate neuroscience, genomics and bioinformatics research in Africa. Applied & Translational Genomics 5:3-10

4. Sarpong E, Quansah E§, Karikari TK§. 2016. Disregard of neurological impairments associated with neglected tropical diseases in Africa. eNeurologicalSci 3:11-14.

5. Karikari TK*, Cobham AE, Ndams IS. 2016. Building sustainable neuroscience capacity in Africa: the role of non-profit organisations. Metabolic Brain Disease 31(1): 3-9.

6. Quansah E§, Karikari TK§. 2015. Motor neuron diseases in sub-Saharan Africa: the need for more population-based studies. BioMed Research International 2015; e298409

7. Quansah E§, Karikari TK§. 2016. Potential role of metabolomics in the improvement of research on traditional African medicine. Phytochemistry Letters 17:270-277 [Invited mini-review]

8. Amoateng P, …, Karikari TK, Nyarko AK, An ethanolic extract of Desmodium adscendens exhibits antipsychotic-like activity in mice. 2017 Journal of Basic & Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology 28(5):507-518

9. Karikari TK§, Quansah E§. 2015. Neurogenomics: challenges and opportunities for Ghana. Applied & Translational Genomics 5:11-14.

10. Quansah E§, Karikari TK§. 2016. Neuroscience-related research in Ghana: a systematic evaluation of direction and capacity. Metabolic Brain Disease 31(1): 11-24.

11. Karikari TK*, Quansah E, Mohamed, W. 2015. Widening participation would be key in enhancing bioinformatics and genomics research in Africa. Applied & Translational Genomics 6:35-41.

12. Karikari TK*, Quansah E, Mohamed, W. 2015. Developing expertise in bioinformatics for biomedical research in Africa. Applied & Translational Genomics 6:31-34.

13. Bayaa Martin Saana SB,…, Karikari TK. 2016. Assessment of groundwater for drinking purposes in the Upper West and Northern regions of Ghana. Springerplus 5(1):2001

Published abstracts

14. Karikari TK*, Osgood R, Crighton SP, Moffat KG. 2015. Effect of brain-specific kinase-dependent tau phosphorylation on tauopathy-associated sundowning sleep behaviour. Alzheimer’s and Dementia 11(7): p852.

15. Karikari TK*, Osgood R, Crighton SP, Moffat KG. 2015. Phosphorylated tau affects sundowning sleep behaviour in a Drosophila tauopathy model. Neurodegenerative Diseases 15(1): p1630

Pedagogical and science outreach articles

16. Karikari TK*, Yawson NA. 2017. A model approach to public engagement training for students in developing countries. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education 18(1): 1244-1247

17. Karikari TK*, Yawson NA, Quansah E. 2017. Build the future of science communication in developing countries through systematic training of young scientists. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education 17(3): 327-328

18. Karikari TK*, Yawson NA, Quansah E. 2016. Developing science communication in Africa: undergraduate and graduate students should be trained and actively involved in outreach activity development and implementation. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education 14(2):E5-E8

19. Bayaa Martin Saana SB,..., Karikari TK. 2016. Academic dishonesty in higher education: students’ perceptions and involvement in an African institution. BMC Research Notes 9:234

20. Karikari TK*. Letter to the Editor. 2015. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education 16:3–4.

21. Yawson NA,…, Karikari TK* 2016. Evaluation of changes in Ghanaian students’ attitudes to science following neuroscience outreach activities: a means to identify effective ways to inspire interest in science careers. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education 14(2): A117-A123

* = Corresponding author

§ = Joint corresponding authors



Thomas K. Karikari

T.K.Karikari(AT) or ohenekakari(AT)