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Summary of Research Interests

Godwin obtained a PhD in Infection and Immunity (focusing on Parasite Biochemistry and Pharmacology) from the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow in 2017 through a PhD scholarship and a MacRobertson travel fellowship to enhance his PhD research at the laboratory of Prof Kita Kiyoshi at the University of Tokyo.

His PhD research was aimed at investigating molecular targets in protozoan parasites causing some of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), precisely the kinetoplastids Trypanosoma and Leishmania species. Consequently, his PhD dissertation, which was done under the supervision of Professor Harry de Koning focused on the molecular and pharmacological characterization of the inner mitochondrial membrane-bound trypanosome alternative oxidase (TAO) – a protein that is crucial for respiration in the bloodstream form of trypanosomes but completely absent in all mammalian hosts. He also researched the novel use of mitochondrion targeting-lipocations (MT-LCs) to efficiently deliver therapeutic doses of drugs across membranes of trypanosomes.

During this time, he successfully used this strategy to significantly improve the trypanocidal activities of two relatively poor inhibitors (Salicylhydroxamate (SHAM) and 2,4-dihydroxybenzoate (2,4-DHB)) of TAO and designed a SAR-based compound library by modifying moieties on the scaffold of the lead compound, including making them fluorescent to study the localization of the compound inside the parasite using fluorescent microscopy.

He also developed and established several high throughput assay protocols for screening compound libraries including oxygen consumption assay in trypanosomes; this was in addition to developing a novel protocol for cloning and purification of the physiological form of TAO (without its mitochondrial targeting signal, MTS) using a SUMO vector in haem deficient E. coli. This new protocol is currently used by other researchers for purifying membrane-bound proteins. Furthermore, He established some preliminary biochemical data to understand their mode of trypanocide action and confirmed that it was indeed via TAO inhibition. Finally, He obtained two (2) Patent rights from his PhD research.

Following his graduation in 2017, he worked briefly as a Research Associate at Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences in the laboratory of Prof David Watson, where he researched the pathogens responsible for the bee colony collapse using Crithidia fasciculata as the model organism. He later moved to the Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT) in the same year to accept a postdoctoral research fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

At KIT he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Prof S. Harada and Prof T. Shiba (2017-2019) before joining the Teesside University in October 2019.

His postdoctoral research fellowship focused on genetically manipulating bacteria to produce parasite proteins, he purified the proteins from genetically modified bacteria and resolved their structures using X-ray diffraction analyses, including computational approaches for in-silico drug discovery. He successfully characterized the three-dimensional structure of the TAO protein essential for survival, growth, and proliferation of trypanosomes, and studied their ligand-binding mode.

Godwin’s research background and training span the areas of Biochemistry, Molecular biology, Parasitology, Pharmacology, and Chemical pathology. His present research theme focused on identifying parasite-specific molecular targets for drug and vaccine development against neglected tropical diseases. These include various protozoan parasites such as Trypanosoma, Plasmodium, and Leishmania. On the side-line, he also conducts research on natural products for drug discovery; and bee health and pathogens.

Some of the techniques/skills employed in his research to date include cutting-edge molecular biology techniques needed for cloning target protein, protein isolation purification and chemistry, protein x-ray crystallography, bacterial engineering for protein overproduction, enzyme kinetics assays including biacore experiments, genetically modified trypanosomes expressing luciferase to monitor parasite localization in cerebrospinal fluids of mice model of neurological stage T. rhodesiense infection, including the use of light microscopes to study parasite growth; fluorescent microscopy to study GFP-linked proteins and ‘fluorescent drug’ localization in the mitochondrion;  DNA configuration for cell cycle determination using FACS; live-cell imaging, and Transmission Electron microscopy for studying drug-induced changes in ultrastructure of cells. Other techniques include in vitro tissue culture techniques, in vivo animal handling and disease models, metabolomics, microbial culture techniques, phytochemistry, and Mass Spectrometry.

His pedagogic research interest focused on effective approaches for reducing the gap in achievement between disadvantaged and advantaged students. This research focuses on four domains of principal influence: instruction, curriculum interpretation, assessment, and community involvement.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Glasgow

1 Oct 20135 Apr 2017

Award Date: 5 Apr 2017

External positions

Research Affiliate, University of Glasgow

1 Sep 201831 Aug 2020


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