Meet cancer researcher Dr. Meshach Asare-Werehene

April 22, 2022

Dr. Meshach Asare-Werehene is blazing a trail in ovarian cancer research. 

"Basically what I do is to look at the main reason why some patients don’t respond to chemo. And in doing that I try to look at how the cancer cells talk to the immune cells and see how we can re-educate the immune cells to identify the cancer cells so that they can also kill them.

The favorite part of my job is also the fun part of it, especially when an experiment works for the first time when you’ve tried several times and it’s not working, that’s super exciting. And knowing that you are the only person with some form of knowledge and even expertise is super cool.

I had my high school education all the way in Ghana, then from there I did my undergrad in Ghana, then after that training I went to the UK, to the University of Nottingham, then I came to Canada to do my PhD.

I happened to know that some of the ground-breaking work in the country comes from The Ottawa Hospital, I felt pretty much at peace coming here, knowing very well I would leave as a strong independent researcher.

Challenges, I have a lot. First of all, growing up, I would want to be researcher, however I don’t have any person who looks like me, that I can even look up to and say I want to be that person. That is a challenge. Most people who identify as Black people do not get that opportunity. If they don’t see any person like them, they feel they can’t be who they would want to be.

I’m pretty much excited that generations coming after me will know that, yeah, Meshach was there, that means it is possible for us to also be there."

Read this Q&A with Dr. Asare-Werehene, and learn about the Worton Researcher in Training Award he received in recognition of his cutting-edge discoveries and extraordinary leadership.

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The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa and supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

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Amelia Buchanan
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Ottawa Hospital Research Institute