Postdoctoral researchers are the main drivers of research in all major research institutions globally. As such KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme through the Initiative to Develop African Research Leaders (IDeAL) and other grants awarded to researchers in the Programme is keen to provide support for postdoctoral training for African researchers particularly those in the early stages of their careers. We have therefore defined a career path beginning from early postdocs through mid and senior research fellows to principal research fellows. Early postdoc are generally employed within a year or two of finishing their PhD training on funding from a more senior researchers. Towards the end of their training some of the postdocs may consider applying for independent funding. Such postdoc will supported and mentored to help them developing competitive grant proposal that will enable them progress up the ladder toward becoming a senior or principle research fellows. Mid, Senior and Principal research fellows are general researchers who hold progressively larger grants and run progressively larger research programmes and groups. Progression to this position is therefore largely determined by a researcher’s scientific output and ability to win research grants.​ Click here for more information.​​

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Dr. Sophie Uyoga

Mentors

Prof. Imelda Bates Prof. Kathryn Maitland, FMedSc Prof. Tom Williams

Sophie Uyoga has worked at the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme since 2004. In 2008, Sophie received a PhD fellowship from the EU Marie-Curie-Action InterMal Training Programme under the mentorship of Prof. Paolo Arese (University of Torino) and Prof. Thomas Williams. In 2012, Sophie completed her PhD at the University of Heidelberg on mechanisms of removal of red blood cells during the development of severe malaria anaemia and protection afforded by red blood cell polymorphisms. In 2016, Sophie was awarded a Mid Career Research Fellowship by IDEAL and she will be investigating the mechanisms behind the development and treatment of severe anaemia with focus on the role of red blood cell genetics and quality of donor blood on recovery and survival post-transfusion

Dr. Eunice Nduati

Mentors

Prof. Thumbi Ndung’u Prof. Shane Crotty

I joined the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Nairobi working on antimalarial drug resistance. In 2005 I transferred to Kilifi to pursue my interest in the immunology of infectious diseases under the Biology and Pathology of the Malaria Parasite (BiolMalPar) Ph.D. training programme. This was a collaborative programme with time spent between the UK and Kenya. My thesis was on understanding host immune responses, specifically B-cell regulation in malaria. On returning to Kenya, I was awarded 6 months funding by BIOMALPAR/European Molecular Biology Laboratories (EMBL) a European Union Initiative to understand the role of soluble factors, such as the B cell activating factor (BAFF) on B-cell differentiation and function. I then successfully obtained a Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship, which supported my work on B-cell regulation in HIV infection and exposure. The aim of this work was to understand whether exposure to HIV virus or antigens, antiretroviral drugs and/or an altered placental cytokine milieu, in utero, affects the developing immune system in infants born to HIV infected mothers but are themselves not infected. In HIV infection, I have been involved in understanding B cell phenotypic and functional changes in HIV infected children. Currently I hold a mid-career fellowship with the IDeAL program at KWTRP and working within the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)-Vaccine Immunology Science and Technology for Africa (IAVI-VISTA) consortium, which has established longitudinal HIV cohorts. My work involves understanding adaptive immune responses, specifically T cell and B cell functions in early HIV infection and how this may impact on subsequent disease outcomes.

Dr. Charles Agoti

Mentors

Prof. James Nokes

Charles Agoti is a Mid Career Research Fellow (MCRF) under the IDeAL Programme. Prior receiving the fellowship Charles was working as Postdoctoral Bioinformacian with the Virus Epidemiology and Control (VEC) group within the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Kilifi Programme. For more than 10 years,

Charles’ primary focus was generating and analyzing respiratory virus genomes to improve understanding on the underlying transmission and evolutionary patterns that allow persistence of these pathogens in host populations. Charles has made significant contributions into the understanding of the nature and variant composition of local seasonal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, a leading cause of childhood pneumonia) epidemics and the role of genetic variation in RSV repeat infections.

The IDeAL MCRF supports Charles to extend this transmission genomics work to medically important enteric viruses. Specifically, Charles will be investigating viral diarrhea genomics pre and post-rotavirus vaccination in Kenya to understand virus source, transmission patterns and vaccine impact.

Postdoctoral researchers are the main drivers of research in all major research institutions globally. As such KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme through the Initiative to Develop African Research Leaders (IDeAL) and other grants awarded to researchers in the Programme is keen to provide support for postdoctoral training for African researchers particularly those in the early stages of their careers. We have therefore defined a career path beginning from early postdocs through mid and senior research fellows to principal research fellows. Early postdoc are generally employed within a year or two of finishing their PhD training on funding from a more senior researchers. Towards the end of their training some of the postdocs may consider applying for independent funding. Such postdoc will supported and mentored to help them developing competitive grant proposal that will enable them progress up the ladder toward becoming a senior or principle research fellows. Mid, Senior and Principal research fellows are general researchers who hold progressively larger grants and run progressively larger research programmes and groups. Progression to this position is therefore largely determined by a researcher’s scientific output and ability to win research grants.​ Click here for more information.​​

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Dr. Julie Jemutai

Mentors

Prof. Jay Berkley

Julie is an IDeAL Early Career Postdoctoral Researcher with interests in applying and developing econometric and mathematical models. Her PhD research assessed technical efficiency and the effect of ownership in public and faith-based hospitals in Kenya. Her current focus is in economic evaluation of treatments for severely acute malnourished children as part of the FLACSAM (First Line Antimicrobials in Children with Complicated Severe Acute Malnutrition) Trial. She is particularly interested in assessing cost effectiveness of antibiotics administered to severely acute malnourished children. Her research work also aims to investigate the economic burden of antimicrobial resistance among children with severe acute malnutrition.

Dr. George Githinji

Mentors

Prof. James Nokes

I am an IDeAL early career postdoctoral fellow at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme. I utilise bioinformatics approaches to study virus evolution and transmission patterns during outbreaks. My current project investigates the role of minority variants in virus evolution and in reconstructing virus transmission chains.

I hold a bachelors degree in Biomedical Science and Technology from Egerton University and a PhD from the Open University (UK) advised by Dr Peter Bull (University of Cambridge), Prof Kevin Marsh (Oxford University) and Dr Britta Urban (University of Liverpool). My PhD thesis explored the extent of sequence and epitope diversity within a short region of the PfEMP1 molecule that is associated with characteristic expression patterns in severe and non-servere malaria cases.

Before joining the programme, I trained under Dr Patrick Duffy as a visiting student at the MoMs malaria project in Tanzania and SBRI (now Center for Infectious Disease Research) and attended bioinformatics courses at the University of Washington.

Dr. Daniel Kiboi

Mentors

Prof. Faith Osier Dr. Gordon Awandare

Daniel studied Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at JKUAT, Kenya. His postgraduate research focused on selecting and identifying molecular markers associated with antimalarial drugs piperaquine and lumefantrine resistance in rodent malaria parasites Plasmodium berghei. His study mapped promising mutations in proteins that are highly plausible candidates for mediators of drug action/resistance. During his PhD training, he visited Drs Oliver and Julian lab at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. He trained on transfection work using gene knockout and epitope tagging, PlasmoGEM vectors for P. berghei and their application in validating resistance markers/drug transporters/targets. He later established and continued with the P. berghei transfection in KEMRI, Nairobi. Daniel joined the KEMRI-WTRP, Kilifi in 2016 as PostDoc under the WACCBIP Programme. His expanded focus is validating Plasmodium proteins associated not only with drug resistance but also to genes of interest in malaria immunity using both PlasmoGEM resources and CRISPR/Cas9 system.

Dr. Mainga Hamaluba

Mentors

Dr. Patricia Njuguna Prof. Charles Newton

I am a clinician trained in Paediatrics in Oxford, UK. During my clinical training, I worked at the Oxford Vaccine Group. The work contributing to my thesis looked at the population biology of Streptococcus pneumoniae in pre-school children in Oxfordshire and Kathmandu, Nepal. We also conducted a vaccine trial in infants which led to the introduction and informed the schedule of the 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in Nepalese infants.

My current interests focus on identifying key indicators of poor early and late neonatal outcomes in Kenya, and testing novel and established interventions for improved neonatal survival and neurodevelopment.

Dr. Ambrose Agweyu

Mentors

Prof. Mike English

Ambrose is a Kenyan paediatrician and epidemiologist, based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Nairobi. Working closely with the Kenya Ministry of Health in 2009, his early research involved conducting systematic reviews for a national exercise to adapt the World Health Organization pneumonia clinical practice guidelines using the GRADE methodology. Following this, Ambrose was invited to support similar exercises in Uganda and Rwanda. More recently, he was the principal investigator on a large pragmatic clinical trial comparing antibiotic treatments for childhood pneumonia. The findings of this study contributed towards a recent major revision in the Kenyan guidelines, and are likely to eventually influence practice in the region.

For his postdoctoral fellowship under the IDeAL Programme, Ambrose is analysing routine inpatient data collected from an existing clinical information network of 14 Kenyan hospitals to identify high risk groups of children with pneumonia as potential target populations for future interventional studies.

As a member of the core team brought together by the Government of Kenya to drive the Kenya Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (KAPP), Ambrose is also actively involved in advocacy on how best to implement prevention and care for childhood pneumonia and campaigning for greater attention to be paid to this major childhood killer.

Dr. Nelson Kibinge

Mentors

Prof. James Nokes

Nelson Kibinge is a postdoctoral researcher in the virus epidemiology and control (VEC) laboratory at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust since April 2016. He holds a BSc (Biology) degree from the University of Nairobi and an MSc and PhD (Computational Biology) from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Japan. Although originally a biologist, he has recently focused on bioinformatics research involving development of computational tools for sequence analysis, phylogenetics and transcriptomics. His current research project focuses on designing optimum sampling strategies for RSV surveillance. He also has a significant interest in spatial epidemiology and computational ecology.

Dr. Agnes Gwela

Mentors

Prof. Jay Berkley

Dr. Kui Muraya

Mentors

Prof. Jay Berkley Prof. Sassy Molyneux

Kui Muraya is a Post-Doctoral Social Scientist at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya with a particular interest in gender & health and social science research more broadly. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree (majoring in Psychology & Anthropology) from the University of Adelaide, Australia, and an Honours Degree in Health Sciences (General Practice) from the same institution. For her Honours Degree she undertook research work on the experiences of intimate partner violence amongst African refugee women who had been resettled in Australia. She obtained her PhD in Public Health and Social Care from the Open University, UK in 2014. Her PhD focused on exploring the interaction between household gender relations and community-based child nutrition interventions; with a focus on the implementation and use of such interventions. More recently she was a co-principal investigator in a multi-country study exploring gender and leadership within health systems in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. She currently plays a leading role as a social scientist in one study site (Nairobi) of a multi-country study exploring (socioeconomic, cultural and household) factors that contribute to post-hospital discharge mortality in acutely ill undernourished and well-nourished children; with a goal to develop targeted actionable interventions to lower mortality. Her other research interests include qualitative research methods, health systems research, research uptake and communicating research evidence, and translation of research evidence into policy.

 

Dr. Linda Murungi

Mentors

Dr. Sam Kinyanjui Prof. Faith Osier

Linda holds a BSc. (Hons) in Biomedical Science and Technology, Maseno University, an MSc. in Immunology of Infectious Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, on a Wellcome Trust MSc fellowship and a PhD in Life and Biomolecular sciences, Open University, UK awarded in 2014 and sponsored by KWTRP in collaboration with the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, UK. In 2015, she joined Centre for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics (UoN) as a visiting Postdoctoral Fellow teaching pathogen biology, immunology and molecular biology, assisting with MSc and PhD research projects and providing training in proposal writing and statistical analysis. She is currently an Early Career Postdoctoral Researcher at KWTRP in collaboration with University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Her research project focuses on understanding mechanisms and targets of immunity to malaria using monoclonal antibodies. Her research interest is in immunology of infectious diseases and pathogen biology. She has 12 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Sam Aketch

Mentors

Prof. Mike English

Sam Akech is paediatrician with Dphil in Clinical Medicine from the University of Oxford, UK. He was initially based at the Kilifi site where he did studies leading to his PhD. He investigated haemodynamic status of children with severe febrile illnesses and conducted a number of clinical trials comparing different fluid regimes for treatment of shock in that population of children. He is currently a post-doctoral research fellow investigating risk factors for mortality and morbidity of common childhood conditions, guidance compliance and outcomes spanning hospitals (clusters) within Clinical Information Network. He aims inform case management of these conditions with high mortality, including triage, and identify outstanding questions that require pragmatic trials.

Dr. Silvia Kariuki

Mentors

Prof. Tom Williams Dr. Julian Rayner

I am broadly interested in the genetic architecture of complex traits, and specifically identifying genetic factors associated with disease susceptibility. My doctoral thesis work at the University of Chicago involved endophenotype mapping to identify novel genetic polymorphisms associated with complex traits such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and vitamin D response in the immune system. My current project at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Program involves functional validation of several genetic polymorphisms that have been previously reported to confer substantial protection against severe malaria. I am interested in uncovering the molecular mechanisms through which these polymorphisms confer their protective effect, through application of several experimental techniques such as preference invasion assays, rosetting and cytoadhesion assays. A better understanding of the protective mechanisms afforded by these genetic polymorphisms could inform the development of new methods for the control and treatment of malaria.

Dr. Peter Olupot

Mentors

Prof. Tom Williams Prof. Kathryn Maitland, FMedSc

Dr. Peter Olupot-Olupot has 18 years of experience in clinical practice and 10 years in clinical research.  His leading research is in mainly in the areas of malaria and Blackwater Fever with a focus on epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatment. His postdoctoral research project is on Acute Kidney Injury in Severe Malaria in Uganda (AKIM). 

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Health, Busitema University Faculty of Health Sciences, Mbale Campus. He also has international affiliations as Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer with Imperial College London, UK and Honorary Research Associate at University of Liverpool, UK. 

Professionally Olupot-Olupot is registered with the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC). He is also a member of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA).

 

At the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Programme we are keen to build capacity for research in East Africa. We are aware that good PhD training is the foundation for a successful research career. As such, our PhD scheme is aimed at providing students with an opportunity to carry out their training in a high quality research environment. We have developed a quality-assured supervision system that includes a supervision teams of two or three senior researchers and student advisory committee that monitors the students’ progress and advise on academic, career and if necessary social issues that may affect the students’ progress. In addition, the students’ progress is monitored through six monthly reports and an upgrading mini viva at the end of the first year to determine their suitability to continue with the PhD training. Our supervision system is internationally recognised and we are now an Affiliated Research Centre of the Open University of the UK with authority to wholly supervise students registered with that University. More information and application process is available here.​

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Dr. Ian Oyaro, BVM

Supervisors

Prof. Thumbi Ndung’u Dr. Eunice Nduati

Mentors

Dr. Evelyn Gitau Prof. Ifedayo Adetifa Dr. Yaw Bediako Dr. Agnes Gwela

Ian Oyaro has worked on sequencing and proteomic based techniques in a quest to improve diagnosis of febrile coma at the Kenyan coast. Additionally, he has also been involved in protocol optimisation studies for disease proteomics. Oyaro is interested in the evaluation of the role of early HIV-specific T and B cell interactions in predetermining downstream antibody function, in a quest to inform vaccine development. While clinical trials have shown favourable efficacies of several HIV/AIDS intervention techniques such as medical male circumcision, it is of great importance to develop a vaccine, as the currently existing methods require either behaviour change or expensive medical interventions. Determination of early immunological correlates that influence the development of broadly neutralising antibodies may suggest coherent approaches for successful vaccine development and identify useful biomarkers for assessing candidate vaccine immunogens. These biomarkers may hold the key to the development of antibody-based HIV vaccines.

David Collins

Supervisors

Dr. Charles Agoti Dr. Sandra Chaves Prof. James Nokes

Mentors

Prof. Gilbert Kokwaro Prof. Tom Williams Dr. Etienne de Villers Prof. Eduard Sanders

Collins is a molecular virologist interested in the applications of molecular techniques and bioinformatics in investigating infectious diseases. He holds a Bachelor’s in Biomedical Technology from the University of Nairobi (First Class Honours) and a Master’s in Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics from the University of Nottingham. He is currently an IDeAL PhD student under the Virus Epidemiology and Control Group. His PhD seeks to understand the introduction, evolution, and transmission of the 2009/2010 pandemic influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus in Kenya
He has previously worked as a research scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Kenya; a current collaborating institution for his PhD project.

John Muthii Muriuki

Supervisors

Dr. Sara Atkinson Prof. Alison Elliot Prof. Tom Williams

Mentors

Prof. Gilbert Kokwaro Prof. James Nokes Dr. Isabella Oyier Prof. Caroline Jones

I’m an epidemiologist with experience in mathematical modelling and analysis of large datasets. I previously worked on modelling transmission dynamics of malaria in an irrigated setting and mapping of the drivers of poor nutritional outcomes in different ecological settings in Kenya. These studies sparked my current interest to research on the complex interactions between nutrition and infections. My PhD project entails investigating whether iron status is causally associated with the risks of malaria and bacterial infections in African children. I’m utilising Mendelian randomization to draw the causal inference. My study will also identify novel genetic variants that alter iron status in a genome-wide association study of African children. Currently, the safety of giving iron supplementation remains a long-standing conundrum among clinicians and policy makers. This study will therefore have an impact on public health policy for managing iron deficiency and the associated infections. In future, I hope to extend this concept to understand how nutritional deficiencies relate to other disease processes.

Publications:

  1. A comparison of malaria prevalence, control and management strategies in irrigated and non-irrigated areas in eastern Kenya. Muriuki J.M., Kitala P., Muchemi G., Njeru I., Karanja J., Bett B. | Malaria Journal, 2016 15:402 DOI: 10.1186/s12936-016-1458-4
  2. Muriuki John Muthii, Alexander Mentzer, Gavin Band, James Gilchrist, Tommy Carstensen, Swaib Lule, Morgan Goheen, et al. (2019). “The Ferroportin Q248H Mutation Protects from Anemia, but Not Malaria or Bacteremia.” Science Advances 5 (9): eaaw0109. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/9/eaaw0109
  3. Muriuki John Muthii, Alexander J Mentzer, Emily L Webb, Alireza Morovat, Wandia Kimita, Francis M Ndungu, Alex W Macharia, et al. (2019). “Malaria Is Causally Associated with Iron Deficiency in African Children.” AAS Open Research. https://aasopenresearch.org/documents/2-141
  4. Muriuki John Muthii, Alexander J Mentzer, Wandia Kimita, Francis M Ndungu, Alex W Macharia, Emily L Webb, Swaib A Lule, et al. (2018). “Iron Status and Associated Malaria Risk Among African Children.” Clinical Infectious Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30219845
  5. Muriuki John Muthii, and Sarah Atkinson. (2018). “How Eliminating Malaria May Also Prevent Iron Deficiency in African Children.” Pharmaceuticals 11 (4): 96. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30275421.
  6. Muriuki John Muthii, Philip Kitala, Gerald Muchemi, Ian Njeru, Joan Karanja, and Bernard Bett. (2016). “A Comparison of Malaria Prevalence, Control and Management Strategies in Irrigated and Non-Irrigated Areas in Eastern Kenya.” Malaria Journal 15 (1): 402. https://malariajournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12936-016-1458-4

Alice Kamau

Supervisors

Prof. Philip Bejon Prof. Bob Snow

Mentors

Prof. Tom Williams Dr. Emelda Okiro Dr. Eunice Nduati Prof. James Kahindi

Alice Kamau is a statistician who has worked at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme since 2011. In 2014 she was awarded a Wellcome Trust Fellowship to study Msc Medical Statistics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and to undertake an 18 months project on the variation of the effectiveness of insecticide treated nets (ITNs) in Kilifi, which aimed at understanding the epidemiological and ecological characteristics of residual malaria transmission and the biological implications of long-term and widespread use of ITNs.

Her PhD work is aimed at examining potential utility of an array of routinely gathered metrics in predicting variation in malaria transmission. The resultant of this work will not only be used to identify the most promising metrics that can serve as a replacement of more expensive community-based prevalence surveys but also to assess the impact of interventions and react to changes in malaria prevalence by identifying the affected population and adjust malaria control to this group as well as inform policies and decision making.

Alex Hinga

Supervisors

Prof. Sassy Molyneux Prof. Vicki Marsh

Mentors

Prof. James Kahindi Prof. Caroline Jones Dr. Abdirahman Abdi Dr. Dorcas Kamuya

Alex Hinga holds an MSc in Public Health from UWE Bristol and a BSc in Medical Laboratory Science from Kenyatta University. After his undergraduate studies, he was awarded a national research internship by CNHR Kenya which he successfully completed in 2011. This internship enhanced his research skills and strengthened his resolve to pursue a career in research for health. In 2012, Hinga won an international scholarship to study public health. While working on his MSc thesis at Public Health England, he developed a strong interest in multidisciplinary public health research.

Hinga is currently investigating ethical issues for health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS) in sub-Saharan Africa. His PhD study has the potential to deepen our understanding and influence policy on data sharing, community engagement and consent in HDSS and other population-based surveillance systems. Overall, Hinga has research interests in critical bioethics, public policy analysis and evaluation of complex social interventions

Dr. Clara Agutu, MBChB

Supervisors

Prof. Eduard Sanders Dr. Susan Graham

Mentors

Prof. Gilbert Kokwaro

Clara Agutu is a medical doctor with a Masters in public health. She has a keen interest in infectious diseases particularly HIV, TB, Malaria and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and has worked as a research medical officer at KEMRI. She worked as the lead clinician and study co-ordinator for a multi-centre HIV clinical trial, REALITY (Reduction of Early Mortality in HIV-infected Adults and Children starting Anti-retroviral Therapy), looking to investigate interventions aimed at reducing early mortality during the first three months of starting anti-retroviral therapy, when mortality is the highest in the severely immune-suppressed. She is currently a WHO/TDR clinical research and development fellow at GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Belgium working on the malaria vaccine, RTS, S, particularly on phase 2 and 3 trials aimed at improving the vaccines efficacy and subsequent implementation in sub-Saharan Africa. Her SANTHE PhD studentship is in the field of acute HIV screening, for early HIV infection detection and reduction of HIV transmission as she continues the global fight towards the elimination of HIV.

Kevin Wamae

Supervisors

Dr. Isabella Oyier Prof. Philip Bejon

Mentors

Prof. Olubayi Olubayi Prof. James Nokes Prof. Faith Osier Dr. Charles Agoti

Kevin has a background in bioinformatics and his interests are in malaria elimination.

Malaria is a leading cause of child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. When one is infected with the malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, they may develop symptoms of malaria or carry the parasite without presenting with any symptoms. These individuals who do not present with symptoms of malaria are said to be asymptomatic. The major problem associated with asymptomatic malaria infections is they become a constant source of parasites that sustain malaria transmission.

Kevin’s is looking to employ molecular and bioinformatics tools to further our understanding of asymptomatic malaria infections. A deeper understanding of these infections will help tackle them with a goal of eliminating malaria.

Dorcas Magai

Supervisors

Prof. Hans Koot Prof. Amina Abubakar Prof. Charles Newton

Mentors

Prof. Gilbert Kokwaro Dr. Martha Mwangome Dr. Patricia Kitsao-Wekulo Dr. Melissa Gladstone

My educational background includes a Masters in Clinical and Developmental Psychopathology from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in The Netherlands and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Kenyatta University, Kenya.

One in four people globally will be affected by mental health and neuorological disorders at some point in their lives, placing mental disorders among the major causes of disease and disability globally.  My great interest is understanding the etiology, diagnostics and intervention of psychopathology in children and adolescents. My focus is to determine the development of psychopathology; establishing personal, social, and biological factors that contribute to this development; the use of scientific knowledge to improve detection and diagnostics of psychopathology; and how we can influence children and adolescents’ psychopathology through preventive and clinical interventions.

My PhD project is on the long-term consequences of severe ill-health during the first 28 days of life on thinking and learning abilities, and mental health of school aged children. Specifically, I’m interested in neonatal conditions such as yellow coloring of the skin (neonatal jaundice) and inadequate oxygen flow in the brain (hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy), which are likely to injure the child’s brain and affect their development.

By examining the adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes of neonatal insults, we hope to contribute to identifying salient points of intervention to enhance the quality of life of children who experienced these neonatal insults.

 

Derrick Ssewanyana

Supervisors

Prof. Amina Abubakar Prof. Charles Newton Prof. Anneloes van Baar

Mentors

Dr. Dorcas Kamuya Prof. James Kahindi

Derrick is Public Health enthusiast who is currently pursuing his PhD studies in Adolescent Health at Utrecht University, Netherlands. He previously graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health Science from Makerere University in Uganda and a M.Sc. Public Health from University of Southern Denmark.

His current PhD research is focused on defining the forms, patterns and underlying factors for health risk behavior of adolescents in low resource settings at the Kenyan Coast. His special focus is to examine these forms of behavior among adolescents infected or affected by HIV/AIDS at the Kenyan coast. His research will help to adapt culturally appropriate tools for measuring health risk behavior among adolescents. It will also fill important knowledge gaps for example on the impact of HIV associated executive functioning deficits and other potential determinants of risky behavior among HIV infected and affected adolescents. This shall benefit interventions and policy in the field of HIV care and management and adolescent health in general.

Derrick has previously worked on projects in water and sanitation, humanitarian healthcare, sexual health and substance abuse management programs in East Africa and Europe. Derrick enjoys sports, nature, charity drives and music.

Publications

  1. Perspectives on underlying factors for unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle of adolescents at a Kenyan coastal setting. Ssewanyana, D., Abubakar, A., Van Baar, A., Mwangala, P. N., & Newton, C. R. (2018). Frontiers in Public Health, 6,11 doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00011
  2. Health Risk Behaviour among Adolescents Living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Ssewanyana, D., Mwangala, P. N., van Baar, A., Newton, C. R., & Abubakar, A. (2018). BioMed Research International.
  3. Health risk behavior among chronically ill adolescents: a systematic review of assessment tools. Ssewanyana, D., Nyongesa, M. K., Baar, A., Newton, C. R., & Abubakar, A. (2017). Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 11(1), 32.
  4. Young people’s and stakeholders’ perspectives of adolescent sexual risk behavior in Kilifi County, Kenya: A qualitative study. Ssewanyana, D., Mwangala, P. N., Marsh, V., Jao, I., van Baar, A., Newton, C. R., & Abubakar, A. (2017). Journal of Health Psychology, 23(2):188-205. doi: 1359105317736783.

 

Dr. Esther Muthumbi, MBChB

Supervisors

Prof. Sam Kariuki Prof. Anthony Scott

Mentors

Dr. Osman Abdullahi Prof. James Nokes Prof. Olubayi Olubayi Dr. Patrick Munywoki

Esther is a Medical Doctor and Epidemiologist at the Epidemiology and Demography Department, KEMRI – Wellcome Trust. She is interested in infectious disease epidemiology and mathematical modeling. She has worked on several projects at KWTRP including an analysis of risk factors for pneumonia in adults, invasive salmonellosis in Kilifi and has coordinated research activities for the adult bacterial diseases study and SHINDA 2 study. Her current research work is focused on understanding the transmission of non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) in the community.

Publications:

  1. Muthumbi EM, Gordon NC, Mochamah G, Nyongesa S, Odipo E, Mwarumba S, et al. Population-Based Estimate of Melioidosis, Kenya. Emerg Infect Dis. 2019;25(5):984-987. https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2505.180545
  2. Gilchrist JJ, Rautanen A, Fairfax BP, Mills TC, Naranbhai V, Trochet H, Pirinen M, Muthumbi E, et al., Risk of nontyphoidal Salmonella bacteraemia in African children is modified by STAT4. Nat Commun, 2018. 9 (1), pp. 1014.
  3. Muthumbi E, Lowe BS, Muyodi C, Getambu E, Gleeson F, Scott JAG. Risk factors for community-acquired pneumonia among adults in Kenya: a case–control study. Pneumonia. 2017;9:17. doi:10.1186/s41479-017-0041-2.
  4. Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness in Kenyan Adolescents With α+Thalassemia. Etyang AO, Khayeka-Wandabwa C, Kapesa S, Muthumbi E, Odipo E, Wamukoya M, Ngomi N, Haregu T, Kyobutungi C, Tendwa M, Makale J, Macharia A, Cruickshank JK, Smeeth L, Scott JA, Williams TN. | J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 Apr 5;6(4). pii: e005613. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.117.005613. PMID: 28381468
  5. The Health Care Sector Response to Intimate Partner Violence in Kenya: Exploring Health Care Providers’ Perceptions of Care for Victims. Nguyen QP, Flynn N, Kitua M, Muthumbi EM, Mutonga DM, Rajab J, Miller E. | Violence Vict. 2016;31(5):888-900. Epub 2016 Aug 12. PMID: 27523028
  6. Invasive Salmonellosis in Kilifi, Kenya. Muthumbi E, Morpeth SC, Ooko M, Mwanzu A, Mwarumba S, Mturi N, Etyang AO, Berkley JA, Williams TN, Kariuki S, Scott JA. | Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Nov 1;61 Suppl 4:S290-301. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ737. PMID: 26449944.

Ivy Kombe

Supervisors

Prof. James Nokes Dr. Marc Baguelin Prof. Graham Medley

Mentors

Dr. Evelyn Gitau Dr. Martin Rono Dr. Benjamin Tsofa Prof. Philip Bejon

Ivy is part of the Viral Epidemiology and Control (VEC) research group at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust. Her work involves modelling the transmission of infectious diseases. She has a Masters in Epidemiology from Imperial College London and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Nairobi. Her PhD project is focused on trying to understand the spread of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), an important viral cause of pneumonia, within households. The project aims to find generalizable insights about the pattern of infection spread that can inform and help to optimize intervention strategies.

Dr. Jacquie Narosto Oliwa, MBChB

Supervisors

Prof. Mike English Prof. Caroline Jones Dr. Anja van’t Hoog Prof. Michaël Boele van Hensbroek

Mentors

Prof. Olubayi Olubayi Dr. Georgina Murphy Dr. Emelda Okiro Dr. Edwine Barasa

Jacquie is a paediatrician and clinical epidemiologist, currently pursuing her PhD studies at the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her interests lie in health systems research, specifically use of implementation science theories to improve quality of care to sick children.  Her PhD work involves understanding and improving case detection of tuberculosis (TB) in children, including use of new and emerging diagnostic tests.

Her past research work involved being an investigator on a large multi-site clinical trial on treatment of severe pneumonia in children and an observational study on optimising diagnosis of TB in children-both contributed to policy change in Kenya. She was also the lead in a project implementing use of donated medical equipment and best clinical practice guidelines to improve quality of care in maternal, new-born and child health in several hospitals in rural Kenya.

She serves on the Paediatric TB Technical Working Group, advising the Kenya National TB Programme on matters pertaining to childhood TB. She was involved in updating the Paediatric TB guidelines, developing a training curriculum and delivering training to health care workers in Kenya. She is also a member of the Union of Lung Health and the WHO Child TB subgroup-involved in global child TB policies.

Dr. Juliet O. Awori, MBChB

Supervisors

Prof. Anthony Scott

Mentors

Dr. Evelyn Gitau Prof. Jay Berkley Prof. Caroline Jones Dr. Sara Atkinson

Juliet is working on access to care for childhood pneumonia treatment. Her work will focus on the determinants of pneumonia outcomes in children who are treated in government outpatient facilities in two rural communities in Kenya. She will describe how pneumonia treatment is given at the clinics, the treatment outcomes of children who are treated for pneumonia in these clinics and the social and cultural contexts that determine why and when these parents seek treatment for their sick children.

She is a Medical Epidemiologist with six years experience working on childhood pneumonia field studies, including a large multicenter epidemiological study and a phase 1/2 vaccine clinical trial.

Dr. Makobu Kimani, MBChB

Supervisors

Prof. Eduard Sanders

Mentors

Prof. Olubayi Olubayi

Makobu Kimani is a Medical Doctor, with Post Graduate training in Public Health (Epidemiology and Biostatistics). Over the last eight years he has worked with populations that are at a disproportionally higher risk of acquisition of HIV/AIDS in Nairobi, Kenya. Kimani has also been a clinical safety advisor for an RCT inducing immune-quiescence in female sex workers. He has been part of a team that defined the minimal care package for services to female sex workers and MSM/MSW. This is currently being implemented by the Ministry of health in Kenya.

Michelle Muthui

Supervisors

Dr. Melissa Kapulu Prof. Philip Bejon Dr. Andrew Blagborough

Mentors

Prof. James Kahindi Prof. James Nokes Dr. Abdirahman Abdi Prof. Chris Drakeley

My research focus lies in identifying malaria parasite targets on the forms of the parasite responsible for human to mosquito transmission which if blocked by antibodies or drugs would inhibit the development of the parasite within the mosquito. These targets can then be used to aid the design of transmission-blocking vaccines which unlike conventional vaccines that protect against disease, prevent the transmission of malaria. I have previously worked on assessing the relationship between a parasite variant surface antigen (PfEMP1) and the different clinical manifestations of malaria using molecular assays in a bid to identify a subset of these antigens with a role in severe malaria. My background training is in biochemistry and molecular genetics which has not only helped me in my chosen field of study but also inspired me to delve deeper into parasite genetics. Aside from research, I like to participate in student mentorship programmes.

Publications:

  1. Serological conservation of parasite-infected erythrocytes predicts PfEMP1 antigen expression but not childhood malaria severityWarimwe GM, Abdi AI, Muthui M, Fegan G, Musyoki JN, Marsh K, et al. | Infect Immun. 2016; doi:10.1128/IAI.00772-15.
  2. Global selection of Plasmodium falciparum virulence antigen expression by host antibodies., Abdi AI, Warimwe GM, Muthui MK, Kivisi CA, Kiragu EW, Fegan GW, et al. | Sci Rep. 2016;6: 19882. doi:10.1038/srep19882.
  3. Differential Plasmodium falciparum surface antigen expression among children with Malarial RetinopathyAbdi AI, Kariuki SM, Muthui MK, Kivisi C a., Fegan G, Gitau E, et al. | Sci Rep. Nature Publishing Group; 2015;5: 18034. doi:10.1038/srep18034.
  4. Evaluating controlled human malaria infection in Kenyan adults with varying degrees of prior exposure to Plasmodium falciparum using sporozoites administered by intramuscular injectionHodgson SH, Juma E, Salim A, Magiri C, Kimani D, Njenga D, et al. | Front Microbiol. 2014;5: 1–10. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00686.
  5. Measuring Soluble ICAM-1 in African PopulationsAbdi AI, Muthui M, Kiragu E, Bull PC | PLoS One. 2014;9: e108956. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108956.
  6. Plasmodium falciparum antigenic variation: relationships between widespread endothelial activation, parasite PfEMP1 expression and severe malaria. Abdi AI, Fegan G, Muthui M, Kiragu E, Musyoki JN, Opiyo M, et al. | BMC Infect Dis. BMC Infectious Diseases; 2014;14: 170. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-170.

Nadia Tagoe

Supervisors

Prof. Sassy Molyneux Dr. Justin Pulford Dr. Sam Kinyanjui

Mentors

Prof. Imelda Bates Prof. Olubayi Olubayi

Nadia is a Project Management Professional (PMP) with a background in development management. She has an interest in research capacity strengthening in Africa and has been involved in programme management and research management. Her work experience includes managing several research capacity building grants and developing research management systems at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana. She has a Master of Science degree in Management and Implementation of Development Projects from University of Manchester, UK; and a Bachelor of Science in Building Technology from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Nadia’s PhD is examining the processes used in managing health research capacity strengthening consortia and the interaction between consortium management and capacity development. Her study is embedded in the DELTAS Africa Learning Research Programme.

 

Dr. Obonyo Nchafatso, MBChB

Supervisors

Prof. Kathryn Maitland, FMedSc Prof. John Fraser

Mentors

Dr. Evelyn Gitau Dr. Patricia Njuguna Dr. Alison Talbert Dr. Sam Akech

Obonyo attained his Medical Degree in 2009 from the University of Nairobi, before proceeding to Kijabe Mission Hospital for his internship programme in 2010. In 2011, Obonyo, joined the KEMRI – Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi as a Clinical Research and Training Fellow supervised by Professor Kathryn Maitland and Dr. Bernadette Brent. His main focus was on the study of heart function in severely malnourished children (CAPMAL study). In 2013 he was awarded the awarded the prestigious Global Health Research Fellowship at Imperial College London under the Wellcome Trust’s Institutional Strategic Support Fund for his work on management of shock in children (MAPS study). In 2014, he was a Research Medical Officer at KEMRI – Wellcome Trust in the study evaluating the efficacy of fluid resuscitation guidelines in severely malnourished children (AFRIM study). Since mid-2015, Obonyo has been based at the Critical Care Research Group in Brisbane, Australia as an Echocardiography Research Fellow which entails using high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to scan the heart. His PhD, supervised by Professor Kathryn Maitland and Professor John Fraser, focusses on evaluating dysfunction of the heart during infection and the response to drip-fluid treatment.

Obonyo is interested in heart research because children with healthy hearts make the best footballers – they endure physical exercise and play with a ‘good heart’ (no yellow/red cards)! He has great interest in soccer.

Patience Kiyuka

Supervisors

Prof. Faith Osier Prof. Meri Soppo Dr. John Waitumbi

Mentors

Dr. Evelyn Gitau Dr. Isabella Oyier Dr. Yaw Bediako Dr. Martha Mwangome

Patience trained as a Biochemist from Kenyatta University, completing her undergraduate studies in 2010. She was first introduced to research through an internship project at USA Medical Research Unit (USAMRU), in Nairobi. At USAMRU, she was attached to the Center for Virus Research where she joined other senior researcher in molecular studies of arboviruses in Kenya. Subsequently, she secured another internship opportunity at the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP). After successful completion of the six months project, she was recruited as a Research Assistant with the Virus Epidemiology Group. Here, she was involved in various studies that sought to understand the transmission dynamics of respiratory viruses within the population and it during that period that she was competitively awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship. The scholarship enable her undertake a distance learning masters degree in Infectious Diseases from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, completing her studies in 2015. Towards the end of the same year, she was once again competitively awarded the grant from Initiative to Develop African Research Leaders (IDeAL) for her doctoral studies on immunity to Malaria. She is currently registered with Open University for the PhD study. Overall her research interests include: immunity to infectious diseases, molecular epidemiology and health policy.

Paul Ouma

Supervisors

Dr. Emelda Okiro Prof. Bob Snow Prof. Mike English

Mentors

Dr. Evelyn Gitau Prof. Kathryn Maitland, FMedSc Dr. Georgina Murphy Dr. Sam Akech

Paul received training in Geomatic engineering and geospatial information systems from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya. He joined the KWTRP as an intern in 2015, in the spatial health metrics group with his project focusing on mapping malaria risk and defining access to health facilities in west Africa. He later joined the group as a research assistant, under the information for malaria project, where he worked on mapping access to health facilities, mapping malaria risk in Africa and quantifying interventions for malaria. His masters project was on developing spatial models of health facility utilization, as a function of many socio demographic characteristics. He is currently a PhD student under the IDeAL program, where his work focuses on understanding the variation in spatial access to emergency hospitals for acute conditions such as emergency obstetrics, severe newborn and childhood illnesses in Kenya. His work can be useful in providing important baseline information on where expansion for hospital and pre hospital care should be focused, at both national and sub-national level. In addition, Paul is an active member of the Geospatial Information management society of Kenya.

Publications

  1. Coverage of routine reporting on malaria parasitological testing in Kenya, 2015–2016. Maina JK, Macharia PM, Ouma PO, Snow RW, Okiro EA (2017). Global health action. 10:1413266
  2. Estimating the need for inpatient neonatal services: an iterative approach employing evidence and expert consensus to guide local policy in Kenya. Murphy GA, Waters D, Ouma PO, Gathara D, Shepperd S, Snow RW, English M (2017). BMJ global health. 2: e000472
  3.  Univariate and multivariate spatial models of health facility utilization for childhood fevers in an area on the coast of Kenya. Ouma PO, Agutu NO, Snow RW, Noor AM (2017). International Journal of Health Geographics. 16: 34
  4. Spatial accessibility to basic public health services in South Sudan. Macharia PM, Ouma PO, Gogo EG, Snow RW , Noor AM (2017). Geospatial Health, 12: 510
  5.  The Nairobi Newborn Study: protocol for an observational study to estimate the gaps in provision and quality of inpatient newborn care in Nairobi City County, Kenya. Murphy GAV, Gathara D, Aluvaala J, Mwachiro J, Abuya N, Ouma PO, Snow RW, English M (2016). BMJ open. 6: e012448
  6. Access to emergency hospital care provided by the public sector in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015: a geocoded inventory and spatial analysis. Ouma PO, Maina JK, Thuranira PN, Macharia PM, Alegana VA, English M, Okiro EA, Snow RW (2018). Lancet Global Health. 6. e342–e350.

Peter Macharia

Supervisors

Dr. Emelda Okiro Prof. Bob Snow Prof. Benn Sartorious

Mentors

Prof. Olubayi Olubayi Prof. Philip Bejon Prof. Ifedayo Adetifa Dr. Symon Kariuki

Peter Macharia is a PhD candidate of spatial epidemiology at The Open University UK, supported by the Initiative to Develop Research Leaders (IDeAL), based at the Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP).  His PhD research focuses on modelling subnational child mortality, its determinants and their contribution since 1965 in Kenya. This work will allow benchmarking, inform policies, resource allocation and the realization of SDGs

Prior to this Peter was a geospatial modeller with the spatial health metrics group within KWTRP, where he worked on mapping populations at risk of malaria, coverage of malaria interventions, access to health services and developed spatial models to quantify bed-nets needed at each health facility in Kenya

He holds a MSc in Geospatial Information System (GIS)  and Remote Sensing from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology(JKUAT), Postgraduate Diploma in Health research methods  from Pwani University and BSc in Geomatic Engineering and GIS from JKUAT

His interests are in disease mapping and spatial epidemiology (child mortality, its determinants, access and utilization to healthcare).

Peter is a member of The International Society of Geospatial Health , The GIS chapter of the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya and The American Association of Geographers

Publications:

  1. Sub national variation and inequalities in under-five mortality in Kenya since 1965 (2019). Macharia PM, Giorgi E, Thuranira PN, Joseph NK, Sartorius B, Snow RW, Okiro EA | BMC Public Health 19:146 [ PMID: 30717714] [PMCID: PMC6360661]
  2. What mapping Kenya’s child deaths for 50 years revealed – and why it matters (2019). Macharia PM and Okiro EA The Conversation
  3. Spatio-temporal analysis of Plasmodium falciparum prevalence to understand the past and chart the future of malaria control in Kenya. (2018). Macharia PM, Giorgi E, Noor AM, Waqo E, Kiptui R, Okiro EA, Snow RW|Malaria journal
  4. National and sub-national variation in patterns of febrile case management in sub-Saharan Africa: an insight into public health sector service delivery. (2018). Alegana VA, Maina J, Paul O Ouma PO, Macharia PM, Wright J, Atkinson PM, Okiro EA, Snow RW, Tatem AJ|Nature Communication
  5. Access to emergency hospital care provided by the public sector in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015: a geocoded inventory and spatial analysis. (2018) Ouma PO, Maina J, Thuranira PN, Macharia PM, Alegana AA, English M, Okiro EO, Snow RW|Lancet Global Health
  6. Coverage of routine reporting on malaria parasitological testing in Kenya, 2015–2016. (2017) Maina JK, Macharia PM, Ouma PO, Snow RW, Okiro EA|Global health action 
  7. Spatial models for the rational allocation of routinely distributed bed nets to public health facilities in Western KenyaMacharia PM, Ouma PO, Odera PA, Snow RW, Noor AM (2017)|Malaria Journal
  8. Spatial accessibility to basic public health services in South SudanMacharia PM, Ouma PO, Gogo EG, Snow RW, Noor AM (2017).|Geospatial Health
  9. A national health facility survey of malaria infection among febrile patients in Kenya, 2014.Githinji S, Noor AM, Malinga J, Macharia PM, Kiptui R, Omar A, Njagi K, Waqo E, Snow RW (2016).|Malaria Journal

Peter Nguhiu

Supervisors

Dr. Jane Chuma Dr. Edwine Barasa Prof. John Ataguba

Mentors

Prof. James Kahindi Prof. Mike English Dr. Emelda Okiro Dr. Ambrose Agweyu

Peter is a pharmacist and a health economist 10 years of work experience in clinical and public health system strengthening. He is currently examining the methods for measuring the level, distribution, and determinants of effective coverage with quality health services, using Kenya as a case study to assess country progress towards universal health coverage.

Beatrice Amboko

Supervisors

Prof. Dejan Zurovac Prof. Bob Snow Prof. Philip Bejon

Mentors

Prof. Gilbert Kokwaro Prof. Mike English Dr. Philip Ayieko

Beatrice has a background in Nursing and a Masters in Medical Statistics both from the University of Nairobi. She has been working on quality of care given to patients with malaria in Kenyan hospitals. She is interested in looking at the quality of health workers’ performance and the determinants in providing care in health facilities.

Her PhD project is on the determinants of the quality of outpatient malaria case management in Kenyan public health facilities. The results from this project will help refine/ define interventions geared towards improving health workers’ performance.

Akua Botwe

Supervisors

Prof. Anna Färnert Prof. Faith Osier

Mentors

Prof. James Kahindi Dr. Eunice Nduati Dr. Isabella Oyier Dr. James Tuju

Akua has research interests in malaria vaccine development, molecular biology and immunology. She has had training in Biochemistry (MPhil. and BSc. Hons) and Botany (BSc. Hons) at the University of Ghana, and has worked as a molecular biologist at the Kintampo Health Research Centre (KHRC) in Ghana.

Her PhD study is “simply” to understand why some infants have malaria parasites and remain healthy while other infants have malaria parasites and become ill. Her research is supervised by Prof. Anna Farnert at the Karolinska Institutet, Prof. Faith Osier at KEMRI-Kilifi and Heidelberg University Hospital and Dr. Kwaku Poku Asante at KHRC.

Akua has a passion for writing, teaching/mentoring and nurturing children who lose their mothers at birth. At leisure, she would go swimming.

Dr. Kenneth Munge, MBChB

Supervisors

Dr. Jane Chuma Dr. Edwine Barasa Prof. Kara Hanson

Mentors

Dr. Evelyn Gitau Prof. Sassy Molyneux Prof. Ifedayo Adetifa Dr. Dorris Kirigia

Munge is a public health practitioner with background training and experience as a medical doctor. His interests are in economics of health systems, health systems, and primary care. He has experience in research, analysis and policy engagement in Kenya examining vaccine safety, health financing, strategic purchasing and economic evaluation.
His PhD is examining the capacity of decentralised governments in Kenya to raise the level of public health expenditure without harming their financial well-being (i.e. fiscal space for health) in the context of Kenya’s pursuit of universal health coverage (UHC).
He is co-leading work surveying the distribution of, risk factors for, and cost-effectiveness of diagnostic strategies for hypertension and diabetes; which is also examining the performance and capacity of the Kenyan health systems to deliver interventions to target these diseases through primary care.
He is a member of the African Health Economics and Policy Association, the International Health Economics Association and the John Snow Society.
He is part of the management group of RESYST – Resilient and Responsive Health Systems – a DFID-funded international consortium, that brings together ten African and Asian countries and is also a member of the Kenya Country Core Group for the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage.

Dr. Michuki Maina, MBChB

Supervisors

Prof. Mike English

Susan Gachau

Supervisors

Dr. Philip Ayieko

Elizabeth Wahome

Supervisors

Prof. Eduard Sanders

Elizabeth Wahome has been working at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, which is supported by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative as a Data Manager. She attained her MSc in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in 2015. Over the years, she has been conducting statistical analysis and data management of an ongoing prospective, open cohort and observational feasibility study to assess recruitment and retention and estimate HIV incidence for an HIV vaccine efficacy trial.

She has also been actively contributing towards scientific manuscript writing and recently through the ITAPS scholarship, managed to write and publish her second paper on hepatitis B virus incidence and risk factors for acquisition in HIV-1 negative MSM who were in follow up in the open cohort since 2005. She’s interested in developing an empiric risk score that can guide PrEP uptake and assess the impact and effectiveness of PrEP on HIV-1 and STI incidence trends among HIV-1 negative MSM in the Coastal Kenya.

Publications

1.Hepatitis B Virus Incidence and Risk Factors Among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Negative Men Who Have Sex With Men in Kenya.
Wahome E, Ngetsa C, Mwambi J, Gelderblom HC, Manyonyi GO, Micheni M, Hassan A, Price MA, Graham SM, Sanders EJ.
Open Forum Infect Dis. 2016 Dec 7;4(1):ofw253. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofw253. eCollection 2017 Winter.
PMID: 28695141 [PubMed] Free PMC Article
Similar articles

 

2.High prevalence of curable sexually transmitted infections among pregnant women in a rural county hospital in Kilifi, Kenya.
Masha SC, Wahome E, Vaneechoutte M, Cools P, Crucitti T, Sanders EJ.
PLoS One. 2017 Mar 31;12(3):e0175166. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175166. eCollection 2017.
PMID: 28362869 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
Similar articles

 

3.Effect of Text Message, Phone Call, and In-Person Appointment Reminders on Uptake of Repeat HIV Testing among Outpatients Screened for Acute HIV Infection in Kenya: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Mugo PM, Wahome EW, Gichuru EN, Mwashigadi GM, Thiong’o AN, Prins HA, Rinke de Wit TF, Graham SM, Sanders EJ.
PLoS One. 2016 Apr 14;11(4):e0153612. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153612. eCollection 2016.
PMID: 27077745 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
Similar articles

 

4.Depression, substance abuse and stigma among men who have sex with men in coastal Kenya.
Secor AM, Wahome E, Micheni M, Rao D, Simoni JM, Sanders EJ, Graham SM.
AIDS. 2015 Dec;29 Suppl 3:S251-9. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000846.
PMID: 26562814 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
Similar articles

 

5.Risk of sexual, physical and verbal assaults on men who have sex with men and female sex workers in coastal Kenya.
Micheni M, Rogers S, Wahome E, Darwinkel M, van der Elst E, Gichuru E, Graham SM, Sanders EJ, Smith AD.
AIDS. 2015 Dec;29 Suppl 3:S231-6. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000912.
PMID: 26562812 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
Similar articles

 

6.Targeted screening of at-risk adults for acute HIV-1 infection in sub-Saharan Africa.
Sanders EJ, Wahome E, Powers KA, Werner L, Fegan G, Lavreys L, Mapanje C, McClelland RS, Garrett N, Miller WC, Graham SM.
AIDS. 2015 Dec;29 Suppl 3:S221-30. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000924.
PMID: 26562811 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
Similar articles

 

7.Changes in sexual risk behavior among MSM participating in a research cohort in coastal Kenya.
Möller LM, Stolte IG, Geskus RB, Okuku HS, Wahome E, Price MA, Prins M, Graham SM, Sanders EJ.
AIDS. 2015 Dec;29 Suppl 3:S211-S219. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000890.
PMID: 26562810 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
Similar articles

 

8.Prevalence, Incidence, and Clearance of Anogenital Warts in Kenyan Men Reporting High-Risk Sexual Behavior, Including Men Who Have Sex With Men.
Neme S, Wahome E, Mwashigadi G, Thiong’o AN, Stekler JD, Wald A, Sanders EJ, Graham SM.
Open Forum Infect Dis. 2015 May 12;2(2):ofv070. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofv070. eCollection 2015 Apr.
PMID: 26110169 [PubMed] Free PMC Article
Similar articles

 

9.Engaging young adult clients of community pharmacies for HIV screening in Coastal Kenya: a cross-sectional study.
Mugo PM, Prins HA, Wahome EW, Mwashigadi GM, Thiong’o AN, Gichuru E, Omar A, Graham SM, Sanders EJ.
Sex Transm Infect. 2015 Jun;91(4):257-9. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2014-051751. Epub 2014 Dec 8.
PMID: 25487430 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
Similar articles

 

10.Diagnosing acute and prevalent HIV-1 infection in young African adults seeking care for fever: a systematic review and audit of current practice.
Prins HA, Mugo P, Wahome E, Mwashigadi G, Thiong’o A, Smith A, Sanders EJ, Graham SM.
Int Health. 2014 Jun;6(2):82-92. doi: 10.1093/inthealth/ihu024. Epub 2014 May 19. Review.
PMID: 24842982 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
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11.Acute HIV-1 infection is as common as malaria in young febrile adults seeking care in coastal Kenya.
Sanders EJ, Mugo P, Prins HA, Wahome E, Thiong’o AN, Mwashigadi G, van der Elst EM, Omar A, Smith AD, Graham SM.
AIDS. 2014 Jun 1;28(9):1357-63. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000245.
PMID: 24556872 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
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12.Men who have sex with men sensitivity training reduces homoprejudice and increases knowledge among Kenyan healthcare providers in coastal Kenya.
van der Elst EM, Smith AD, Gichuru E, Wahome E, Musyoki H, Muraguri N, Fegan G, Duby Z, Bekker LG, Bender B, Graham SM, Operario D, Sanders EJ.
J Int AIDS Soc. 2013 Dec 2;16 Suppl 3:18748. doi: 10.7448/IAS.16.4.18748.
PMID: 24321111 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
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13.Evaluation of WHO screening algorithm for the presumptive treatment of asymptomatic rectal gonorrhoea and chlamydia infections in at-risk MSM in Kenya.
Sanders EJ, Wahome E, Okuku HS, Thiong’o AN, Smith AD, Duncan S, Mwambi J, Shafi J, McClelland RS, Graham SM.
Sex Transm Infect. 2014 Mar;90(2):94-9. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2013-051078. Epub 2013 Dec 10.
PMID: 24327758 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
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14.Evaluation of an empiric risk screening score to identify acute and early HIV-1 infection among MSM in Coastal Kenya.
Wahome E, Fegan G, Okuku HS, Mugo P, Price MA, Mwashigadi G, Thiong’o A, Graham SM, Sanders EJ.
AIDS. 2013 Aug 24;27(13):2163-6. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283629095.
PMID: 23842136 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
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15.High HIV-1 incidence, correlates of HIV-1 acquisition, and high viral loads following seroconversion among MSM.
Sanders EJ, Okuku HS, Smith AD, Mwangome M, Wahome E, Fegan G, Peshu N, van der Elst EM, Price MA, McClelland RS, Graham SM.
AIDS. 2013 Jan 28;27(3):437-46. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835b0f81.
PMID: 23079811 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
Similar articles

 

16.Most adults seek urgent healthcare when acquiring HIV-1 and are frequently treated for malaria in coastal Kenya.
Sanders EJ, Wahome E, Mwangome M, Thiong’o AN, Okuku HS, Price MA, Wamuyu L, Macharia M, McClelland RS, Graham SM.
AIDS. 2011 Jun 1;25(9):1219-24. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283474ed5.
PMID: 21505300 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Similar articles

 

 

Diana Nyabundi

Supervisors

Dr. Francis Ndung’u

Reagan Mogire

Supervisors

Dr. Sara Atkinson Prof. Tom Williams

 

Publications:

  1. Target-similarity search using Plasmodium falciparum proteome identifies approved drugs with anti-malarial activity and their possible targetsReagan M. MogireHoseah M. Akala, Rosaline W. Macharia, Dennis W. Juma, Agnes C. Cheruiyot, Ben Andagalu, Mathew L. Brown, Hany A. El-Shemy, Steven G. Nyanjom

Jacqueline Waeni

Supervisors

Prof. James Nokes Dr. Charles Sande

Dr. Aishatu Adamu, MBChB

Supervisors

Prof. Ifedayo Adetifa

Jacqueline Mutai

Supervisors

Dr. Francis Ndung’u

Rowland Osii

Supervisors

Dr. Francis Ndung’u

George Makau

Supervisors

Prof. Eduard Sanders Dr. Amin Hassan Dr. Joakim Esbjörnsson

George Makau is based at Lund University, Sweden. He obtained his MSc degree in Molecular Biology from an Inter-University Programme in Molecular Biology (IPMB) jointly organised by Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Antwerp University in Belgium. He completed his MSc degree thesis in Molecular Oncology at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN), investigating the molecular and cellular effects of different radiation qualities on cancer cells. Makau has gained experience in infectious diseases research through active placements in various institutes including the Flanders Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) in Belgium and the US Army Medical Research Unit.

Growing up partly in Kenya and having witnessed the devastation ensuing from the HIV-1 epidemic in the country, his current desire is to contribute to HIV-1 research for human health in Africa and help combat the spread of HIV-1 through advocating for science-informed policy making. His current study utilises high-throughput sequence data to providing insights into circulating HIV-1 variants, transmitted drug resistance and characteristics of founder viruses in well-established at-risk groups cohorts in Kenya.

Jonathan Abuga

Supervisors

Prof. Charles Newton Dr. Symon Kariuki

Jonathan did his Research Internship at the Neurosciences group of the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP), in Kilifi-Kenya. He has undergraduate (Kenyatta University, Kenya) and postgraduate (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) training in Public Health. He is currently doing a Ph.D. on examining changes in the burden of neurological disabilities in children over a period of improved child survival as well as determining long-term mortality following neurological disabilities, using both statistical and epidemiological approaches to answer these questions. He is supervised by researchers from KWTRP and the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he is registered for his Ph.D. His research work is supported by the Sub-Saharan Africa Consortium for Advanced Biostatistics Training (SSACAB) and the Initiative to Develop African Research Leaders (IDeAL).

Emma Khaemba

Supervisors

Prof. Philip Bejon Dr. Sam Kinyanjui Dr. Melissa Kapulu

Kennedy Mwai

Supervisors

Prof. Faith Osier

I am a Bio-statistician and a PhD student working on epidemiological and high-throughput proteomic data.  My Bachelor’s  Degree from JKUAT was in Mathematics and Computer Science with a specialization in Statistics. I hold an MSc in Biostats from University of the Witwatersrand with a focus on Bayesian Spatial-Temporal models. I build computational tools that make data analysis easier, faster, and more fun.

Currently, I am working on analytical frameworks for studies of correlates of protection against Plasmodium falciparum with a main interest in systems biology approach focusing on malaria epidemiology and the correlates of protection. Additionally, with others, we teach Introduction to Statistical Methods for Health Research using R and RStudio httpss://github.com/Keniajin/PwaniR_Training_2015.

If you want to keep up with everything we are working on, follow me on Twitter @kenniajin.

Doris Nyamwaya

Supervisors

Prof. George Warimwe

Anne Amulele


Karamoko Niare

Supervisors

Prof. Faith Osier

Rodney Ogwang

Supervisors

Prof. Faith Osier

Dr. Derick Kimathi, MBChB

Supervisors

Prof. George Warimwe Prof. Sassy Molyneux Prof. Philip Bejon

Mentors

Prof. Ifedayo Adetifa Prof. Caroline Jones Dr. Mainga Hamaluba

Derick Kimathi is a medical doctor, trained at the University of Nairobi. Derick joined KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in 2017. He works within the arbovirus group, where he leads the human clinical trials. His interests are in tropical diseases prevention with a focus on emerging and re-emerging diseases; how to utilize vaccines for disease outbreak prevention and disease epidemic control.

Derick was awarded the TNF -Scholarship at the University of Oxford. His PhD is examining the immunogenicity of fractional doses for the Yellow Fever Vaccines in an attempt to redefine the minimum dose recommendation for the vaccine. His work also focuses on understanding the health policy processes at a macro level and how that influences vaccine use routinely and during epidemics.

Derick is the lead for the EDCTP funded multi-site study (NIFTY) with partners in KWTRP- Kenya, Epicentre- Uganda and France, UVRI-Uganda, Institut Pasteur de Dakar- Senegal and the University of Oxford.

Masters training is first stage of specialisation in research training. As such it provides a foundation for further research training and for increased intellectual engagement in a focused research area. In line with our goal of building local research capacity by feeding the research career pipeline at all levels, The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme has developed a Masters studentship scheme to support talented Masters students registered at local universities complete the research project component of their training. The studentships, which are funded through the Initiative to Develop African Research Leaders, (IDeAL), provides the students with stipend and an opportunity to spend up to eight month at our Kilifi or Nairobi facilities doing their research projects in a highly productive research environment. Research costs for the project are catered for under the supervisor’s research funding.​ To apply visit the recruitment page.​

 

 

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John W. Oketch


I am a BSc. Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate from Kenyatta University, Kenya. Currently, pursuing my master’s project at KEMRI Wellcome Trust aimed at comparison of the patterns of spread of human metapneumovirus (HMPV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in Africa using virus sequence data, for my master’s degree in Bioinformatics. I am under the supervision of professor James Nokes, KEMRI Wellcome Trust, and DR. Everlyne Isoe (Pwani university). I am a passionate and keen to build a solid scientific career in biomedical research; specifically, I am interested in genetics of human infectious diseases.

Martha Luka

Supervisors

Prof. James Nokes Dr. Charles Agoti

I hold a BSc in Medical Laboratory Science and Technology from the University of Nairobi and a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Health Research Methods from Pwani University. I have worked as a clinical laboratory technologist at the Nairobi Hospital and interned at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Kenya. As an IDeAL PGD fellow, I worked on the molecular characterization of human rhinovirus among school-going children. This experience equipped me with numerous molecular and computational skills, and as a result, I won an EANBiT scholarship to pursue an MSc in Bioinformatics at Pwani University. For my master’s research project, I aim to elucidate the transmission pathways of human rhinovirus within and across different scales using whole-genome sequence data. The successful completion of this project will inform public health policies on the management of outbreaks of human rhinovirus, the most commonly isolated viral respiratory agent. My supervisors are Prof. James Nokes, Dr Charles Agoti, and Dr Alii Kiti from Pwani University.

I am interested in virology, molecular biology, pathogen genomics and data visualization.

Joy Kabagenyi

Supervisors

Dr. Charles Sande

Joy is an IDeAL and EANBiT funded student pursuing an MSc in Bioinformatics. She holds a BSc. (Biology) from Kyambogo University- Uganda. Currently, Joy is undertaking her research project under the Viral Epidemiology and Control group at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust. Her project aims at profiling immune responses to common and emerging infections in infants during the first years of life. Before joining IDEAL, she worked with the Immunomodulation and Vaccines programme at MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit. While there she worked on various projects that aimed to understand immune profiles to vaccines such as BCG and MVA85A, and infections such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus and how helminth infections influence these profiles. Her interest in using computational methods to understand host and pathogen interactions specifically integrating pathogen genomics and host functional genomics, as a way to contribute knowledge to vaccine and drug development.

Moses Njagi Mwaniki

Supervisors

Dr. George Githinji

Njagi Mwaniki holds an undergraduate degree in Informatics from Moi University and currently working towards a master’s degree in Bioinformatics at Pwani University. He worked for two years in Software Engineering before moving into Bioinformatics where he’s supervised by Dr. George Githinji and Dr. Pjotr Prins working on exploring virus genomic data using variation graphs using currently existing software and developing new tools. He strongly believes in the ability of graphs to represent sequence data and that the current methods used to represent sequence data will be replaced by methods that inherently represent variation and wants to be there when the change occurs.

Matano Emmanuel Rumba


My name is Matano Emmanuel and I am doing MSc.in immunology. I did BSc. Zoology for my undergraduate at Pwani University. I am now in my second year doing MSc. Immunology under the IDeAl studentship scheme. My current study is on understanding the role of Plasmodium falciparum extracellular vesicles (PfEVs) on host immune regulation specifically the role of PfEVs on host immune downregulation as a mechanism for immune evasion by the malaria parasite which has been shown to happen in other infections such as cancer. I am working towards becoming an independent health research scientist who can identify a research problem in health and come up with a solution. I have a strong interest in extracellular vesicles and I look forward to working on the same but with viruses particularly for my PhD. My supervisors are Dr. Abdirahman Abdi and Dr. Cheryl Andisi.

Hannah Wanja Kimingi


Hannah graduated with BSc. Medical Microbiology from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (2017). She’s currently an MSc Immunology student at Pwani University under IDeAL. She is a former PGD student where she was working on understanding the role of antibodies against P. falciparum variant surface antigen. Prior to being a PGD fellow, she volunteered and gained Biomedical laboratory experience at the Institute of Primate Research. During her undergraduate, she gained Microbiology, Molecular, Immunological and Serological lab work experience from KEMRI, Nairobi, and Thika Level 5 Hospital. She’s interested in infectious diseases with key emphasis on diagnosis, immunity, and strategies which may, in turn, improve human health lowering the mortality and morbidity rates arising from infectious diseases.

Lynn Nanjala Fwambah


Lynn Fwambah is currently an MSc Immunology student under an IDeAL scholarship. She graduated top of her class from the University of Nairobi with a BSc Biochemistry First Class Honours. Following this, she was awarded a studentship by IDeAL to pursue a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research Methods. Her PGD thesis was a systematic review on the effects of haptoglobin in bacterial infections. Her interests lie in HIV immunology and she would like to focus on determining what immunological and genetic factors that elite controllers possess that enable them to suppress HIV viral load without antiretroviral therapy. This information may be useful in identifying possible vaccine candidates.

Cecillia Nafula Wechessa


Growing up, I had the constant need to give a helping hand to people and interest in scientific research. This led me to pursue a degree in Biochemistry at Egerton University. Currently, I am a student at Pwani University under IDeAL Immunology Masters Studentship.  I started off as a volunteer at a local dispensary and high school.  I later joined The Institute of Primate Research for my personal attachment and acquired skills on molecular work, tissue processing and Immunological techniques. Later on, I joined Nyumbani Diagnostic Laboratory for my Industrial Attachment where I gained basic medical laboratory skills. For my internship I was trained on procedures such as phage therapy and microscopy, just to mention a few, at IPR. My primary interest lies on understanding the human immune system in relation to emerging non- communicable diseases and how such knowledge can be used to improve the well-being of the African population.

John Nderitu Kimotho


I have a background in BSc. Medical Laboratory Science and Technology from the University of Nairobi class of 2018. I am also a licensed Laboratory Technologist by the Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists board. Before the studentship, I worked as a Laboratory Technologist in a hospital which has equipped me with admirable laboratory technical skills. I have also done clinical attachments at Kenyatta National hospital and Mbagathi District Hospital. I am currently in my first year of study pursuing a Master’s degree in Immunology as an IDeAL student at Pwani University. My interest lies in the area of vaccine development which I believe to be the smartest human invention ever. I am precisely interested in malaria vaccine development which has proven troublesome over the years. I foresee myself holding a PhD within 5-10 years and at the same time leading a research group in a research institution or an academic institution.

Christine Kalekye


I did my undergraduate studies at Kenyatta University and studied BSc in Microbiology where I graduated with First Class Honors. I am currently an MSc student in Immunology at Pwani University under IDeAL studentship. I have interned with GreenLife International Company where I also worked as a marketer for herbal medicine. I amassed incredible knowledge of effective herbal medicine form local plants. I have interned with Equity bank as a Wings to Fly program alumnus and a full-time mentor under Equity Leaders Program (ELP). My current area of interest is pharmacogenomics of anti-malarials in response to P.vivax and P.falciparum, which I am enthusiastic to start on once I finish my course work.  I look toward to do my PhD in the future and join research fellowships like Future Leaders-African Independent Research Fellowship (FLAIR).

Jeremiah Waswa Wanyama


Jeremiah is a master’s student in Immunology at Pwani University under IDeAL- KEMRI. He holds a bachelor’s degree in BSc in Biochemistry from Pwani University. During his BSc degree, he did a research project addressing the health side effects of triclosan based antiseptic soaps to the immune system. He did his internship at Institute of Primate Research.

He aspires to be a senior research scientist in the area of viral immunology, especially in HIV infection in addressing the gene silencing in targeting the transmission mode of the virus.

Berrick Otieno

Supervisors

Prof. Charles Newton Dr. Symon Kariuki

I am a master’s student at Pwani University in collaboration with IDeAL. I have a background in BSc Nursing and Public Health from Pwani University and hold a certificate in Health System Management from Pwani University/IDeAL. I have done research related short courses on including systematic literature review offered through Cochrane Interactive Learning and Management of Human Resource for Health (HRH), a program offered by MoH-Kenya/USAID. I have developed strong client-facing and teamwork skills through my 1-year internship at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital and 3 years of clinical nursing at Aga Khan Hospital-Mombasa. My MSc project is ‘Association between electroencephalographic features and neuropsychiatric comorbidities of epilepsy’, I am supervised by Prof Charles Newton and Dr. Symon Kariuki. We aim to determine if electroencephalographic features can be biomarkers for psychiatric disorders. I aspire to do a Ph.D. after Masters and join neuroscience scientist.

Kashero Kaingu

Supervisors

Prof. Amina Abubakar Dr. Alun Davies

I have a background in social sciences and I am currently pursuing a Master of Science in Public health at Pwani University. I have completed my coursework and am now doing my project. My project is on HIV amongst adolescents in Kilifi and my topic is ‘’Academic achievements and experiences among adolescents living with HIV in Kilifi.’’ My main inspiration towards doing a Master’s in Public health and a project that gives emphasis to adolescents living with HIV is embedded on the view that there has been little effort on these adolescents which in turn will affect the health outcomes of the general population in the near future and therefore something needs to be done to salvage the situation. My supervisors for this particular project will be Professor Amina Abubakar and Allan Davies in whose tutelage I expect to grow competently in research.

Bernadette Kutima Ataku

Supervisors

Prof. George Warimwe

Bernadette Kutima holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Microbiology from Pwani University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Immunology. Her study focuses on cloning and expression of recombinant protective Dengue envelop proteins for immunological screening. Her research interests entail genetic investigations of organisms of importance to public and environmental health, use of bacteriophages against antibiotic-resistant bacteria in biomedical setting and the related host immune responses to the viral agents once exposed, the potential use of DNA vaccines to help the immune system develop protection from a disease and the use of nanotechnology in treatment and diagnosis of diseases as seen in various articles. Her supervisors are Dr. James Nyagwange, Prof. Suhaila Hashim and Prof. George Warimwe

Elizabeth Indeje

Supervisors

Dr. Sara Atkinson Dr. Simon Muriu

Elizabeth Indeje holds a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Pwani University. She is currently an IDeAL Masters Fellow pursuing MSc Immunology at the same university. Her research focus is on investigating the effects of nutritional status on immunity and vaccine responses in Kenyan children. Her current interest lies in understanding malnutrition, immunity in infants, and vaccine humoral responses with the desire to understand how malnourished children respond to vaccines in quest to provide mechanistic insights, which can be utilized in designing interventions targeted to alleviate malnutrition to complement vaccination in children and thus improve their health. Besides, Elizabeth has a particular interest in volunteer work and mentorship through encouraging and empowering Kenyan high school students sponsored by Equity Group Foundation.

 

Robert Mugendi Mugo


Holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research Methods from Pwani University and Bachelor’s Degree from Kenyatta University. In addition, he holds a Certificate in Leadership and management. He is currently an MSc Immunology student at Pwani University in collaboration with KWTRP, under IDeAl sponsorship. He aims to determine the kinetics and longevity of RTS,S/ASO1 induced complement-fixing antibodies, this will be essential in the development of a highly efficacious and long-lasting Malaria Vaccine.Previously worked on sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of Rotavirus strains, to find out whether there is potential for the development of vaccine escape mutants. Robert is passionate about understanding immunity to infectious diseases, specifically Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

Mercy Wanjiru

Supervisors

Dr. Sara Atkinson

I did my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at South Eastern Kenya University. I am currently doing my Master’s project at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust which is titled, “Using Mendelian Randomization to investigate the relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and tuberculosis.” Since my project cuts across three major fields in the medical field: Infectious diseases; nutrition; medical statistics, I am positive that the diverse skills and mentorship I will have gained from this project will be sufficient to steer me into a career am passionate about- medical research. My supervisors are Dr. Sarah Atkinson of Kemri-Wellcome Trust and Dr. Tom Yates of Imperial College, London.

Lewis Murugu Mukiiri


I graduated from the University of Nairobi with a BSc in Microbiology & Biotechnology (2018). Currently, I am an IDeAL MSc. Immunology student at Pwani University. I started my journey in science by volunteering at Githongo Sub-county hospital, Meru. Essentially, I acquired basic medical lab skills and participated in community outreach programmes for diabetes awareness. I later joined KEMRI (CRDR) for my industrial attachment where my Molecular and Microbiology laboratory skills were heightened. Prior to joining IDeAL, I worked as a Research Assistant with JHPIEGO in the Postpartum Family Planning (PPFP) Choices Study. I was involved in coordinating with facility clinicians to identify and recruit eligible participants into the study. What is more, I have special interests in understanding malaria and human host immune responses to Plasmodium falciparum antigens. Additionally, how such knowledge can be used to address the need for an effective malaria vaccine.

Daisy Chelangat


Daisy is pursuing a master degree in Applied Statistics at the University of Kabianga. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied statistics with computing from Maasai Mara University. She is studying time trends of diarrhoea and dehydration admissions to Kenyan hospital following the introduction of the Rotavirus Vaccine. Her interest is in understanding other underlying factors that could be affecting the trends in hospital admissions other than the introduction of the vaccine. One of her aspirations is to develop strong statistical models that would detect possible underlying factors, affecting the trend. She is supervised by Dr. Samuel Akech and Dr Lucas Malla

The Postgraduate Diploma Course, which is  offered jointly by KEMRI – Wellcome Trust Research Programme and Pwani University,  is a unique learning program whose aim is to equip recent graduates with theoretical and practical knowledge of the philosophy and practice of research so as to enhance their transition to a research career or further postgraduate training. The course covers all types of health research from basic biomedical research to social science and health system research and provides an opportunity for the students to develop a deep appreciation of the various elements of research through attachment in a highly active research environment. Every year, 15 – 25 young graduates competitively take us these positions with full scholarship on tuition and a monthly stipend.

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Maureen Wanjiru Mburu

Supervisors

Dr. George Githinji

Maureen Wanjiru Mburu, pursued Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology and Biosafety at the University of Eldoret. She is currently a Postgraduate Diploma student in Health Research Methods. Research topic; Biology of Tungiasis, Tunga penetrans genome project. I look forward to being an eminent researcher in the health sector and to use the skills obtained to make a positive impact on the health sector. I have interest in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics.

Ezra Too

Supervisors

Prof. Amina Abubakar

I pursued Nursing and Public health in my undergraduate level at Pwani University and currently pursuing a postgraduate diploma in health research methods; a course that is jointly offered by Pwani University and Kemri-Wellcome trust. My project is titled, ‘Burden and risk factors for common mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders among young people living with HIV in low and middle income countries.’ Supervised by professor Amina  Abubakar and Moses Kachama. I aspire to be at the forefront of the research field, to be part of a community that aims to make the world a better place through research.

Kelvinson Mwangi


I’m an IDeAL post-graduate diploma fellow of Health Research Method under the supervision of Dr. Sarah Atkinson and John Muriuki and based at the Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP). I’m passionate about using statistical techniques and methodologies in assessing evidence to inform better decisions. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Applied Statistics with IT from Maseno University. My work focusses on evaluating the association between Malnutrition and Malaria in African children: the effect of malnutrition on malaria-specific antibodies (MSP1 and AMA1) and whether malnutrition influences the natural immunity to malaria.

Audrey Mumbi


My name is Audrey Nyawira Mumbi. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy. I am a Post Graduate Diploma student working on a project on ‘Examining the policy and implementation of HIV prevention through private retail pharmacies in Kenya’ supervised by Dr Peter Mugo. We aim to understand the policy environment surrounding the HIV prevention policies; HIV self-test kit and Pre-exposure prophylaxis, their implementation in private retail pharmacies and strategies that are required to enhance their delivery and impact.

As a holder of a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy I have a keen interest to build a career in health system research. I aspire to pursue a master’s degree in health systems and eventually a PhD in the same and become a renowned health researcher.

Yvonne Kamau

Supervisors

Dr. Marta Maia

I am Dr. Yvonne Kamau, a registered Pharmacist and an alumnus of the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Currently, I am part of the IDeAL programme as a Post Graduate Diploma Fellow in Biosciences, undertaking a research project on mosquitocidal effect and pharmacokinetics of different ivermectin dose regimens in preparation for a randomized controlled trial. Through this research project, I intend to advance work on the current malaria control interventions and possibly contribute to research work on Malaria eradication through the guidance of distinguished faculty such as my supervisor Dr Marta Maia. My interests lie on the impact of health policies on the achievement of quality, affordable, accessible and equal health for all, in line with SDG #3.

Solomon Njenga

Supervisors

Dr. Sam Kinyanjui

I hold a BSC. Degree in Mathematics And Economics, with IT, from Maseno University. Currently, I am part of the Ideal Program as a Post Graduate Diploma fellow in Health Research Methods and undertaking a research project.Prior to becoming a PGD student, I interned at Kenya Forestry Research Institute-Central Highlands Eco-region Research Programme (KEFRI-CHERP) -Headquarters in the Biometrics and GIS department. I also did my attachment at Kenya Plant Health Quarantine Inspectorate Service (Muguga).I intend to apply my statistical knowledge to help make informed decisions backed by data and also to solve some problems in the health sector. In the long run also intend to help and play a part in the eradication of malaria among other diseases.

Moses Mwamburi

Supervisors

Dr. Marta Maia

Moses Mwamburi is a PGD student holding a Bachelor’s degree in Analytical Chemistry from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. He currently holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research Methods studentship award from KEMRI Wellcome Trust IDeAL program. He will be studying the use of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry to measure the age of malaria vectors under the supervision of Dr. Marta Maia.

His key interest is on the application of analytical chemistry techniques in vector biology studies as an evidence-based approach towards the prevention of morbidity and mortality in Africa. He is also interested in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He is keen on furthering his studies to postdoctorate levels and eventually into a high impact research career.

Mary Wanja Njoroge

Supervisors

Prof. Ifedayo Adetifa Prof. Philip Bejon Prof. George Warimwe

I pursued a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health (Public Health), Moi University. I have been an intern at the National AIDS Control Council where I gained skills in HIV literature search, data analysis and reporting. Previously, an attachee at the Bungoma County Referral Hospital where I gained practical skills in immunization activities and disease surveillance.  Currently, I am part of the IDeAL programme as a Post Graduate Diploma Fellow in Health Research Methods undertaking a project in ’’Ecological investigation of the association between confidence in science/vaccine confidence and actual vaccine coverage data whilst accounting for GDP and other relevant covariates’’. I aspire to be a global health researcher with cutting edge skills as I seek to find out what extent vaccination coverage is correlated to how populations feel about science and health (including vaccines and vaccination). My interests are Public health research, disease prevention and vaccine studies.

Githuka Alfred Mburu

Supervisors

Dr. Charles Sande

I am a young aspiring health researcher having a background at Medical Laboratory science from Kisii University. I was first attached at Thika Level 5 Hospital in my undergraduate and later duly licensed as a Laboratory Officer. I have previously worked as a Medical laboratory assistant at East & Central Africa Health link in Nairobi from January to August 2019. Am currently a Post Graduate Diploma student at Pwani University with a key research interest in improving diagnostic systems as I aspire to contribute in providing solutions to healthcare-related challenges. Am currently working on “Diagnosis of acute infections through microarray-based analysis of antibodies in lymphocyte supernatants” under the supervision of Dr. Charles Sande.

Ken Muriithi


Ken Murithi has an academic background in Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) from Pwani University. He is currently pursuing a Post Graduate Diploma in Research Methodology offered by KEMRI in conjunction with Pwani University. His present focus is to obtain a high-quality DNA from Tunga penetrans, sequence it and carry out the sequence analysis.

Lucy Wairimu Mwangi

Supervisors

Prof. Charles Newton

My name is Lucy Wairimu Mwangi a graduate from the University of Kabianga with a BSc in Environmental Health. I am a licensed public health practitioner where my roles are oriented in prevention, promotion, and protection of health. Tasked as a Community Health Assistant in Busia County, I coordinated primary health care activities, therefore, contributing tremendously towards achieving Universal Health Care.My career aspiration is to be a research scientist with a clear drive to finding solutions to the changing trends in the world. It fascinates me how information and passing knowledge can transform lives. I aspire to infuse health care concerns to the upcoming generation through the papers I will publish soon. Additionally, I would want to advance my studies to the post-doctoral level. I am a post-graduate diploma student under Prof. Charles Newton and Mr. Jonathan Abuga. My research project is Access and Utilization of Health Care Services among children with NI in Low and Middle-Income Countries.

Gideon Mbithi

Supervisors

Prof. Charles Newton Dr. Symon Kariuki

I am pursuing a PGD in Health Research Systems at IDEAL KEMRI- WELLCOME trust. I have a bachelor’s degree in Geospatial Information Science from Maseno University. I did my industrial attachment at Directorate of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS) where acquired skills on spatial analysis, data presentation and cartography. My current research project entails assessing secular trends in the incidence and outcome of head injury admitted to Kilifi County Hospital (2002-2018) under the guidance of Prof. Charles Newton and Dr. Symon Kariuki. My research interests are disease mapping, spatial modelling and using GIS to better understand public health in relation to medical geography. I am aspiring to major my studies on remote sensing technologies.

Pauline King’ori


I graduated with BSc. Biomedical Science and Technology from Egerton University. I was attached at the Central Veterinary Laboratories-Kabete during my undergraduate studies where I learned different procedures related animal health research. My experience at this institution triggered my interest to pursue a career in biomedical research. My current PGD project involves conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies focusing on vitamin D and respiratory infections. I am passionate about biomedical research and aim at improving public health by promoting good nutrition to address nutritional deficiencies. My project supervisors are Dr. Sarah Atkinson and Reagan Mogire.

Millicent Makandi

Supervisors

Dr. Benjamin Tsofa

Millicent Makandi, pursued a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Public health at Pwani University. I have been an intern at Embu Teaching and Referral Hospital where I saw the importance of evidence based practices for health care providers to offer better health care. Previously , I worked for IPSOS-synovate  in collaboration with World Bank as a research assistant where I developed interest in research and felt the need to pursue this line. Am currently doing PGD- in health research methods undertaking a project in Examining health system requirements for the inclusion of chlamydia and trichomoniasis screening in the routine antenatal care package in Kenya. I aspire to be a global health research leader and promote evidence based reproductive-health. I hope to gain new insights, come up with innovative solutions to health problems and contribute in strengthening capacities to materialize universal health coverage. My interest is in  strengthening health systems to offer quality care. My  supervisors are Dr. Simon Masha and Dr. Benjamin Tsofa.

Anita Kerubo


I am a graduate from Maseno University with a degree in Applied Statistics with IT and an alumnus of Mama Ngina High School. She is currently a PGD Fellow with IDEAL. Her current research work focuses on the reliability of using recall of onset of seizures to calculate incidence of epilepsy. She aims to make a positive contribution in the Neurological Department of Science. This studentship is the beginning of her career journey in Research and Science and aspires to be part of the solution wherever she goes by having an open mind and uniting with other people who have similar goals.

Margaret Chifwete


I hold a bachelor’s degree in BSc. Biotechnology. I am a postgraduate diploma student currently working under the supervision of Isabella Oyier and Mercy Akinyi on a project on determining the prevalence of non-falciparum malaria in Kilifi and Western Kenya. My aim is to detect P.malariae and P.ovale using sensitive molecular methods which in our case we will be using qPCR.

My interests is mainly in immunology and in the malaria vaccine development since my project will further lead to show the contribution of the non-falciparum malaria to the overall malaria disease burden the information obtained will be very useful in this case.

I aspire to grow in immunological research and pursue postgraduate training for further advancement in my career.

Peninah Wanjiku Wachira

Supervisors

Prof. Charles Newton Dr. Symon Kariuki

I pursued Bachelor of science in Environmental Health (Public Health) at Moi university. I have been a volunteer at Kilifi County Referral Hospital in the Public Health department where I gained various skills in; primary health care promotion initiatives, disease surveillance and response, immunization, public health and sanitation, licensing and regulation of entities that sell food to the public among others. I have also worked in an NGO, WOFAK (Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya) Kilifi branch. In WOFAK I was tasked with supervising community health volunteers and monitoring their activities in follow up of HIV patients for treatment adherence.  Currently, I am in for the postgraduate diploma course doing a project on “Effects of Anti- Epileptic Drugs On the Outcomes of Pregnancy”. I aspire to gain new skills in conducting systematic reviews, epidemiological analysis and writing manuscripts alongside identifying an area in research which I can venture in. I also look up to networking with other researchers and learning from them.  My interest is in considerably neglected topics of public health concern and vulnerable groups, in this case epilepsy: its treatment and effects particularly on the outcomes of pregnancy. My primary project supervisor is Prof. Charles Newton and Dr. Symon Kariuki as the co-supervisor.

Lilian Walala

Supervisors

Dr. James Tuju

I graduated from The University of Nairobi with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Biotechnology.  She is an alumnus of Moi Girl’s School Nairobi. During her time in campus, she got an opportunity to be attached at the Center for Microbiology Research in KEMRI where she was first exposed to research. She did her internship at the National Public Health Laboratories in Nairobi. She hopes to use her expertise in microbiology to improve human health across the globe. Her main interest lies in the area of immunology and molecular biology. Her aim is to be a part of the next frontier of scientists who will come up with an effective vaccine for malaria. Currently she is pursuing a post-graduate diploma at Pwani University and doing a project about a malaria vaccine under the supervision of Dr. Karamoko Niare and Dr. James Tuju at the Kemri-Wellcome Trust Kilifi.

Edwin Dzoro Mwazuma

Supervisors

Dr. Benjamin Tsofa

I did a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics at the University of Nairobi. I did my internship at the County Government of Kilifi for ten months at the Department of budget and economic planning. I am currently doing my post-graduate diploma on Health Systems Research at Kemri-Wellcome Trust, Kilifi My project is on Examining the operations and functioning of county health stakeholders’ forum in the context of devolution in Kenya. My research interest centres around health systems and health policy. I aspire to advance my career path in human health research, specializing in health services research, to identify the most effective ways to organize, manage, finance and deliver high-quality healthcare.

Every year we offer attachments to students in their 3rd or 4th years as part of their University training. This opportunity gives the students a rare chance of interacting with world class infrastructure, researchers and scientists as well as get quality supervision and career guidance.

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The school leavers’ attachment scheme offers an excellent opportunity for Kilifi’s ​very talented students to get a taste of research and learn about a wide range of careers in KWTRP. 9-12 Kilifi’s brightest students are offered a 3 months attachment to learn and experience the different types of careers associated with research.​

Applications for this open every beginning of the year after the release of the KCSE results.

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PUBReC is the result of long term collaboration between Pwani University and KEMRI – Wellcome Trust, one of the leading research centres in Kenya and the region. The two institutions share a common interest in research and capacity building. This and close geographic proximity, map out the two institutions as natural partners. Over the last 6 years, a strong partnership has developed particularly in the areas of health and biosciences research and teaching. The relationship is governed by an MoU to ensure it is mutually beneficial.

PUBReC was conceived in 2013 initially as a virtual platform for managing, consolidating and expanding the bioscience research activities with plans to eventually develop high quality research infrastructure that will form the its core. The construction and equipping of a state-of-the-art molecular lab commenced in 2016 with funding from the Wellcome Trust and Pwani University and was managed by a steering committee consisting of representatives from the University and KEMRI – Wellcome Trust. The lab is currently supporting research activities of 12 researchers including Postdocs and Masters Students.

Vision

To be a Global Leader in bioscience research.

Mission

To apply Bioscience Research for improved livelihoods.