It’s a regular Monday afternoon, 12:45 pm at the Anatomy department, this conversation takes place between Salome Odei C’O 2026 (interviewer ) and Dr. Koney (respondent)

 

Salome: Good day Dr Koney.Could you kindly tell us a little about yourself?

 

Dr Koney: I’m Nii Kwaku Koney Koney… first of four siblings and the only son so I have three sisters.I’m also Ga and  grew up in Burma camp. I attended Presbyterian Boys Senior High School ( Presec)  for both O and A levels…proceeded to University of Ghana for my undergrad and masters program… then to University of North Dakota for my PhD.

 

Salome: When did you join the Department of Anatomy?

It was in 2019  however I had my Masters in the department of Anatomy. My masters thesis looked at Facial Anthropometric Measurements in 12 and 13 year old Ghanaians.. It was infact Prof Addae.. my supervisor at the time  that introduced me to the topic

 

Salome: What really was the finding?

Dr Koney: At that age sexual dimorphism doesn’t really exist in males and females implying that you can’t tell the sex of 12 and 13 year old Ghanaian skulls. …Hence we rely on other external features like dressing, hair,  earrings to tell the  sex of 12 and 13 year old Ghanaians.

 

Salome: That’s very interesting … What about your PhD… was it in anatomy?

Dr Koney: My PhD was in cell and Molecular  Biology… miles apart. And my thesis was on Chromatin Associated small RNA show evidence  of Processing after promoter RNA polymerase II pausing.  Basically, we characterised the pathways where pre mature termination occured…Funny enough, I worked with that particular lab because I didn’t understand anything… leading  me to this topic. It was a challenging process honestly it wasn’t easy at all… but  at the end of the day we did it so never give up..

 

Salome: What are you working on now?

Dr: Koney :Colon cancer … I’m more interested in that. When you take right and left colon cancers the outcomes are usually different… and I want to look at these at the genome -wise level.  Actually the type of mutation affecting the colon will determine the kind of treatment you can give to patients… but that isn’t done in the part of the world.. because of “l’argent”

 

Salome: Could you compare working in Ghana to working in the U.S?

Dr Koney:  I’ve always wanted to work here So I’d say this.. opportunities to grow are   there… It’s much easier growing outside Ghana …. It’s a bit challenging here in Ghana to grow.. Ask yourself how many times have we discovered anything here in Ghana? .. Ghanaians are very smart people but we don’t  create an enabling environments for new discoveries. However it’s not easy over there at all…You could go learn and come … the thing is just be the best version of yourself… But for me I’ve always known I was coming back .. I wanted to work in  Ghana.

 

Salome: Could you also compare American education and Ghanaian education?

Dr Koney:

Salome: What advice would you give to students who want to go into purely into Academia/ Research?

Dr. Koney:

Salome: Would you share with us your highest and lowest points in your career?

Dr.Koney: Well for me I look at things differently… I just move on with happenings…. These are just part of life… So I move on quickly .. looking back it wouldn’t really be a highest or lowest point…Maybe it’d need some time but for me it is what it is.

 

Salome : Wow…That’s a rather different perspective. What’s the hardest decision you’ve had to make though?

Dr Koney: That would have to do with career.. Coming to the University, what I really wanted to do… I could not figure out what I wanted to do… And even after undergrad, Zoology, my interest was in renewable energy.. So I struggled in transitions in terms of what do you do next.

 

Salome: What advice would you give to Medical Students?

Dr. Koney: We tend to focus more on being excellent in class..but the world wants more from its students ..what else can you do? What makes you different? Do you have leadership skills? One day you’d be going for a masters program elsewhere… You’re competing with people from all over the world who are equally academically good…You need to be balanced..What makes you stand out? …I learnt in the US that the world is for extroverts.. Those who talked a lot in school are the ones making it big and the others are working for them.

 And then also Community service… What have you done for your community … How are you giving  back? Find things that help you deal with the pressure…  Mental health issues are real.. .. so you need to find a way to balance things out

 

Salome: Ouuhhh… interesting…Would you like to share one thing you’ve failed at ?

Dr Koney: I failed at  swimming… I tried in Ghana and even in the US… and I failed so I actually can’t swim but I tried.

 

Salome: Thank you very much.What about your hobbies…what are your hobbies?

Dr Koney: Chess, which my father taught me .. and I used to play competitively , scrabble, which I taught my childhood friends, badminton, which I picked up from my lab mates in the US and recently sudoku.

 

Salome: What’s one thing that brings you joy?

Dr Koney : When you can help people, when you can put a smile on someone’s face … and secondly when you’re squeezing someone in chess ..and they are  grunting and sweating it’s a fantastic feeling.

 

Salome: Your last remarks…

Be the best the version of yourself and work hard .. Sometimes we see success as those getting 80s 90s 100s .. While I was teaching in the US I was struck by one student ( I found him rather mean faced, tall, huge  and unfriendly) who during my last  class after  handing his paper asked to hug me… Afterwards he thanked me because  he was able to moved from an F to a C… that’s also success.. and he even said he  always came to class because of me. I learnt to  treat every student differently because everyone matures  at a different age..

 

Salome: Thank you very much for the interview Dr Koney. It was an amazing time with you. Have a wonderful day.

 

 

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