Mr. Samwel Lifumo Symekher

Head of ARI Division
Academic & Professional Qualifications
  • PhD (c) University of Embu,
  • MPH, University of Maseno
Selected Publications
  1. Genetic diversity and evolutionary analysis of human respirovirus type 3 strains isolated in Kenya using complete hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) gene. Authors: Elusah J, Bulimo WD, Opanda SM, Symekher SL, Wamunyokoli F (2020) PLoS ONE 15(3):e0229355. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0229355
  2. Whole genome phylogenetic investigation of a West Nile virus strain isolated from a tick sampled from livestock in north eastern Kenya. Olivia Lwande, Marietjie Venter, Joel Lutomiah, George Michuki, Cecilia Rumberia, Francis Gakuya, Vincent Obanda, Caroline Tigoi, Collins Odhiambo, Fredrick Nindo, Samwel Symekher, Rosemary Sang. Parasites & Vectors 2014, 7:542 (28 November 2014)
  3. Aetiology of Acute Respiratory Infections in Children under Five Years in Nakuru, Kenya. Martin Matu, Gideon Kikuvi, Peter Wanzala, Mohamed Karama and Samwel Symekher. Journal of Microbiology & Experimentation. 1(4): 00021. http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/jmen.2014.01.00021
  4. Risk factors for acute respiratory infections in children under five years in Nakuru, Kenya. Matu M, Kikuvi G, Wanzala P, Karama M, Symekher S, The Africa Journal of Health Research, July – September 2014 ISSN 2306-1987 Volume 27, No.3 (Issue No.49)
  5. Human Bocavirus infection In Children With Acute Respiratory Infection in Nairobi, Kenya. (2013) Authors: Samwel M.L. Symekher, George Gachara, James M. Simwa, Jane Gichogo, Moses Rotich, Musa Otieno Ng’ayo and Japhet M. Magana. Open Journal of Medical Microbiology, December, 2013.
  6. Prevalence of Viral Etiologies in Children with Acute Respiratory Infections in Nairobi, Kenya. (2009) Authors; Samwel M.L. Symekher, Walter O. Ochieng, and James M. Simwa. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, April, 2009

Mrs. Lucy Kanyara

Ag. Head Laboratory Services & Chief Laboratory Technologist

Mrs Lucy Kanyara has 23 years in Laboratory work experience.

She has been engaged in Research areas as listed below.

  • HIV and TB
  • HIV and COVID 19 Clinical trials
  • Disease surveillance
Academic & Professional Qualifications
  • MA Community Care HIV&AIDs
Selected Publications
  1. Risk Factors Associated with Antiretroviral Therapy Failure and Acquiring Drug Resistance Mutations among HIV-1 Adult Patients on ART–Results from a Nationwide Cross-Sectional HIV Drug Resistance Survey in Kenya. ASLM 2014. Guoqing Zhang1, Lucy Nganga2, Joshua DeVos1, Evelyn Ngugi2,Francesca Odhiambo3, Irene Mukui4, Abraham Katana2, LucyKanyara5, Elliot Raizes1, Chunfu Yang1
  2. Zika Virus Screening in the Kenyan Olympic Team Attending the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil: Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2018, 8, 183-187. John N. Waitumbi1*, Neha Buddhdev1, George Awinda1, Lucy Kanyara2, Zephania Irura2,  Victor Ofula2, Limbaso Konongoi2, Rosemary Sang2

Prof. Rosemary C. Sang

Research Scientist

Prof Sang is a biomedical research scientist specialized in Arbovirology, with background in medical entomology and medical virology with 30 years’ experience in field and laboratory studies on emerging arbovirus disease epidemiology, ecology, emergency response and outbreak investigations

Academic & Professional Profile

Prof. Sang holds a Ph.D. in zoology, MSc in medical virology, MSc in medical entomology, and a BSc in zoology/botany. Dr Sang has served in various research capacities at the Kenya Ministry of Health (MOH), Kenya Medical Research institute (KEMRI) and, through collaboration, with the U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), leading and mentoring strong arbovirus research teams to conduct surveillance, ecological studies, and outbreak investigations, contributing to much of what is documented about distribution, ecology, and epidemiology of disease-associated arboviruses in Kenya.  She has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Sang’s capacity-building portfolio includes teaching medical virology at the Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease (ITROMID), (A KEMRI and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)) where she has served as adjunct professor at the College of Health Sciences, mentored over 28 masters/doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in arbovirology under ITROMID and the African Post Graduate Program on Insect Science (ARPPIS) based at ICIPE.

National/International Public Health Responsibilities

  • Member, National Polio Certification Committee, Kenya, 2019.
  • Member, Zoonotic Diseases TWG advising Kenya’s Zoonotic Diseases Unit, 2006-19.
  • Member, Kenya MOH Task Force for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, Preparedness, and Response, 2006-18.
  • Reviewer, WHO Biosafety Manual, 4th edition, 2018-19.
  • Member, Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN/WHO), 2002-18.
  • Appointed by WHO to international IHR 2005 roster of experts, as expert in Rift Valley fever, 2013-16.

Current projects

PI, Metagenomic characterization of mosquito arbovirome in the context of emerging viral diseases in Kenyan ecosystem, June 2020-June 2023. Goal of this National Research Fund-supported KEMRI project is to apply metagenomic approaches to explore arbovirus circulation and possible transmission in selected ecologies that could pose health threat.

Co-PI, Identification of virus transmission networks to control key arbovirus diseases in Kenya, Aug. 2017-Aug. 2021. Supports project design and supervises implementation of field/lab component from an arbovirus perspective. Goal of this DFG funded project is to determine the arbovirus circulation in vectors, reservoirs populations in selected sites as a means of identifying

Selected Publications

All published work by Prof. Sang  can be accessed on the following link; Rosemary Sang – Search Results – PubMed (nih.gov)

  1. Lutomiah J, Mulwa F, Mutisya J, Koskei E, Langat S, Nyunja A, Koka H, Konongoi S, Chepkorir E, Ofula V, Owaka S, Eyase F, Sang R. Probable contribution of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes to the circulation of chikungunya virus during an outbreak in Mombasa County, Kenya, 2017-2018. Parasit Vectors. 2021 Mar 5;14 (1):138.
  2. Marklewitz M, Tchouassi DP, Hieke C, Heyde V, Torto B, Sang R, Junglen S. Insights into the Evolutionary Origin of Mediterranean Sandfly Fever Viruses. mSphere. 2020 Sep 2;5 (5):e00598-20.
  3. Kimata Y, Borus P, Nzunza R, Ofula V, Chepkorir E, Waihenya R, Sang R. Serological Evidence of Chikungunya Virus Infection Among Suspected Measles Cases in Selected Regions of Kenya: 2008-2014. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2020 Dec;20 (12):903-909.
  4. Eyase F, Langat S, Berry IM, Mulwa F, Nyunja A, Mutisya J, Owaka S, Limbaso S, Ofula V, Koka H, Koskei E, Lutomiah J, Jarman RG, Sang R. Emergence of a novel chikungunya virus strain bearing the E1:V80A substitution, out of the Mombasa, Kenya 2017-2018 outbreak. PLoS One. 2020 Nov 6;15 (11):e0241754.
  5. Tigoi C, Sang R, Chepkorir E, Orindi B, Arum SO, Mulwa F, Mosomtai G, Limbaso S, Hassan OA, Irura Z, Ahlm C, Evander M. High risk for human exposure to Rift Valley fever virus in communities living along livestock movement routes: A cross-sectional survey in Kenya. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020 Feb 21;14 (2):e0007979.
  6. Langat SK, Eyase FL, Berry IM, Nyunja A, Bulimo W, Owaka S, Ofula V, Limbaso S, Lutomiah J, Jarman R, Distelhorst J, Sang RC. Origin and evolution of dengue virus type 2 causing outbreaks in Kenya: Evidence of circulation of two cosmopolitan genotype lineages. Virus Evol. 2020 Jun 2;6 (1): veaa026

Prof. Wallace Bulimo

Assistant Principal Research Scientist

Wallace Bulimo is a former Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Virology in the School of Medicine at the University of Nairobi and leads the respiratory pathogen surveillance program.  He has broad experiences in clinical applications, training development, biomedical research, teaching and mentorship.  He has mentored over 50 postgraduates at MScs and PhD levels, who have taken up strategic, scientific, research and administrative roles in Kenya and globally.

At the U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate –Africa (USAMRD-A), he oversaw activities of many clinical surveillance sites across Kenya to conduct surveillance for viral respiratory pathogens.  He also serves as Principal Investigator on numerous research protocols and coordinates activities on other protocols aimed at developing medical products and information to protect the health of communities. He is a Member of the Kenya National COVID-19 Taskforce and was appointed Team Leader of the sample handling and testing technical committee of this taskforce.

Internationally, he is a Board Member of the Advisory Board on Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Intervention For COVID-19, by African Scientific, Research and Innovation Council (ASRIC) of the Africa Union (AU).  For Fourteen years, he served as a member of the United States of America (USA) Department of Defense Joint Influenza Surveillance Working Group (JISWIG).

Globally, he has established several scientific partnerships with academia and government agencies in Kenya and the United States to research infectious agents in East Africa.  He conceived, established and led a vibrant program at USAMRD-A that educates, trains and guides young scientists, and more experienced colleagues, to achieve maximum scientific impact.  He is an ardent champion of Biorisk management matters and is the Deputy Chair of the Biorisk Management Association of Kenya and an International Federation of Biorisk Association approved professional.

Academic and Professional Qualifications.
Institution and Location Degree Field of Study
University of Nairobi, Kenya B.Sc. Biochemistry/Chemistry
University of Nairobi, Kenya M.Sc. Biochemistry
University of Hertfordshire, UK Ph.D. Molecular Virology
Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Berks, UK Postdoctoral Immunopathology
Professional Profile
  • Assistant Principal, Research Scientist, KEMRI, Nairobi, Kenya             May 2021-to date
  • PI/Virologist, U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate-Kenya              Jan. 2006-Sep 2020
  • Associate Professor and Researcher, Dept. of Biochemistry, UON           June 2014-May 2020
  • Research Intern, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, Jan. 2001-Jan. 2002
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Berkshire, UK, Jan. 1999-Dec. 2000
  • Doctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Berkshire, UK, Oct. 1995-Nov. 1999.
Selected Publications

Full list of publications found at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/wallace%20bulimo.dimbuson.1/bibliography/public/

  1. Baba MM, Bitew M, Fokam J, Lelo EA, Ahidjo A, Asmamaw K, Beloumou GA, Bulimo WD, Buratti E, Chenwi C, Dadi H, D’Agaro P, De Conti L, Fainguem N, Gadzama G, Maiuri P, Majanja J, Meshack W, Ndjolo A, Nkenfou C, Oderinde BS, Opanda SM, Segat L, Stuani C, Symekher SL, Takou D, Tesfaye K, Triolo G, Tuki K, Zacchigna S, Marcello A. Diagnostic performance of a colorimetric RT -LAMP for the identification of SARS-CoV-2: A multicenter prospective clinical evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa. EClinicalMedicine. 2021 Oct;40:101101. doi:10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101101. eCollection 2021 Oct. PubMed PMID: 34476394; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8401528
  2. Umuhoza T, Bulimo WD, Oyugi J, Musabyimana JP, Kinengyere AA, Mancuso JD. Prevalence of human respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza and adenoviruses in East Africa Community partner states of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda: A systematic review and meta-analysis (2007-2020). PLoS One. 2021;16(4):e0249992. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0249992. eCollection 2021. PubMed PMID: 33905425; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8078816.
  3. Umuhoza T, Bulimo WD, Oyugi J, Schnabel D, Mancuso JD. Prevalence and factors influencing the distribution of influenza viruses in Kenya: Seven-year hospital-based surveillance of influenza-like illness (2007-2013). PLoS One. 2020;15(8):e0237857. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0237857. eCollection 2020. PubMed PMID: 32822390; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7446924.Langat SK, Eyase FL, Berry IM, Nyunja A, Bulimo W, Owaka S, Ofula V, Limbaso S, Lutomiah J, Jarman R, Distelhorst J, Sang RC. Origin and evolution of dengue virus type 2 causing outbreaks in Kenya: Evidence of circulation of two cosmopolitan genotype lineages. Virus Evol. 2020 Jan;6(1):veaa026. doi: 10.1093/ve/veaa026. eCollection 2020 Jan. PubMed PMID: 32523778; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7266482.
  4. Kivata MW, Mbuchi M, Eyase F, Bulimo WD, Kyanya CK, Oundo V, Mbinda WM, Sang W, Andagalu B, Soge OO, McClelland RS, Distelhorst J. Plasmid mediated penicillin and tetracycline resistance among Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates from Kenya. BMC Infect Dis. 2020 Sep 25;20(1):703. doi: 10.1186/s12879-020-05398-5. PubMed PMID: 32977759; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7517623.
  5. Nyang’au EM, Bulimo WD, Mobegi V, Opanda S, Magiri E. Genetic analysis of HA1 domain of influenza A/H3N2 viruses isolated in Kenya during the 2007-2013 seasons reveal significant divergence from WHO-recommended vaccine strains. Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Jun;95:413-420. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.04.001. Epub 2020 Apr 7. PubMed PMID: 32276045.
  6. Elusah J, Bulimo WD, Opanda SM, Symekher SL, Wamunyokoli F. Genetic diversity and evolutionary analysis of human respirovirus type 3 strains isolated in Kenya using complete hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) gene. PLoS One. 2020;15(3):e0229355. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229355. eCollection 2020. PubMed PMID: 32155160; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7064169.
  7. Opanda S, Bulimo W, Gachara G, Ekuttan C, Amukoye E. Assessing antigenic drift and phylogeny of influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 virus in Kenya using HA1 sub-unit of the hemagglutinin gene. PLoS One. 2020;15(2):e0228029. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0228029. eCollection 2020. PubMed PMID: 32045419; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7012450

Raphael Nyongesa Lihana

Principal Research Scientist

Lihana is an experienced researcher in virology with a major in molecular analysis techniques in infectious disease surveillance, Molecular cloning and gene Sequencing. He has worked with various stakeholders in implementing infectious diseases surveillance and management systems in Kenya. He has knowledge of computer applications in research, a background in biological sciences with specialty in medical virology and has vast skills in research and academic administration.

His dream is to achieve expertise in virology research, specifically research and mentorship in viral and host genetics associated with different disease outcomes among infected individuals.

Research experience

Lihana has been involved in virology research for over 20 years. He has worked in pioneer programs in virology research in Kenya. He has been involved in notable research including: Monitoring of Antiretroviral therapy (ART) among vertically infected Kenyan children; HIV surveillance in northern frontier districts of Kenya; Team member (laboratory) in pioneering early infant diagnosis of HIV in Kenya; HIV surveillance (laboratory) in urban slums of Kenya. With up scaling of ART in resource-limited countries, he has been involved in surveillance of both transmitted and acquired HIV drug resistance in Kenya. Great skills in outbreak investigations, Next generation sequencing (NGS) and analysis; has mentored several postgraduate students in virology and an experienced national and international manuscript reviewer.

Lihana has served as a lecturer (Medical Virology), JKUAT and a consultant Virologist, Children of God Relief Institute (COGRI)

Academic & Professional Qualifications

Lihana holds a PhD, MSc and BSc from Kanazawa University, (Japan), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, (Kenya) and Egerton university (Kenya), respectively.

Selected Publications
  1. Lihana RW, Ssemwanga D, Abimiku A , Ndembi N. Update on HIV-1 Diversity in Africa: a decade in review. AIDS Reviews 2012; 14(2):83-100. PMID: 22627605.
  2. Lihana RW, Lwembe RM, Bi X, et al. Efficient monitoring of HIV-1 vertically-infected children in Kenya on first-line antiretroviral therapy. J Clin. Virol. 2011, 52(2):123-8.
  3. Lihana RW, Khamadi SA, Lubano K, et al. Genetic Characterization of HIV-1 among Patients with Suspected Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome after Initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy in Kenya. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2010; 26(7):833-838
  4. Lihana RW, Khamadi SA, Lwembe RM, et al. HIV-1 subtype and viral tropism determination for evaluating antiretroviral therapy options: An analysis of archived Kenyan blood samples. BMC Infect Dis. 2009 Dec 30;9 (1):215.
  5. Lihana RW, Khamadi SA, Lubano K, et al. HIV-1 Subtype Diversity and Drug Resistance among HIV-1-infected Kenyan Patients Initiating Antiretroviral Therapy. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2009; 25(12): 1211-1217
  6. Lihana RW, Khamadi SA, Lwembe RM, et al. The changing trend of HIV type 1 subtypes in Nairobi. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2009;25 (3):337-342.

Dr. Bhavna H. Chohan

Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Chohan has over 25 years of experience in the HIV/AIDS field in molecular virology and bioinformatics, including many years of management of HIV/STI research laboratories in Kenya. He has acquired the essential skills, education, experience and capability to lead research projects as the lead investigator. He has been the benefactor and lead PI of NIH GRIP funding grant (2009 – 2012): ‘examining early transmitted viruses in the early HIV seroconverters’; a NIH-CFAR New Investigator grant: ‘examining development of ARV resistance in early treated HIV-infected infants in Kenya’(2007 – 2009); a capacity building grant (2015-2016) funded by Swedish Research Council for ‘upgrade and training of HIV-related laboratories at KEMRI’; and a local funding grant for Health Research (2016-2018) from the Government of Kenya through KEMRI for ‘establishing cost-effective methods for testing for ARV resistance and measuring ARV levels in blood and hair samples.’

Currently, Dr. Chohan  is leading a 3-years USAID funded study (2018 – 2021) assessing the HIV drug resistance among PrEP seroconvertors nationally in Kenya. With his research experience and expertise on HIV in Kenya, he has obtained the skills required to continue mentoring junior investigators and students in the field of basic science and research studies from low-middle income countries (LMIC).

Academic/Professional Profile
  • Ph.D in Virology. 2007. University of Washington
  • MSc in Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases. 1999. London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. University of London
  • Higher National Diploma in Medical Microbiology. 1984. Kenya Medical Training Center, Nairobi
  • Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology. 1984. Kenya Medical Training Center, Nairobi
Selected Publications
  1. Chohan BH, Ronen K, Khasimwa B, Matemo, D, Osborn L, Unger JA, Drake AL, Beck IA, Frenkel LM, Kinuthia J, John-Stewart G. Food insecurity, drug resistance and non-disclosure are associated with virologic non-suppression among HIV pregnant women on antiretroviral treatment. August 2021. PLOS ONE.
  2. Reilly M, Chohan B. Pooled testing for SARS-CoV-2, options for efficiency at scale. August 2021. Bulletin of the WHO. Policy and practice article.
  3. Temu TM, Wagoner J, Masyuko S, O’Connor A, Zifodya JS, Macharia P, Wanjalla CN, Mogaka JN, Chohan B, Omodi VM, Gervassi AL, Oyugi J, Page ST, Farquhar C, Polyak SJ.Central obesity is a contributor to systemic inflammation and monocyte activation in virally suppressed adults with chronic HIV in Kenya. AIDS. 2021 Jun 3. (View).
  4. Gopolang F, Zulu-Mwamba F, Nsama D, Kruuner A, Nsofwa D, Kasvosve I, Gomo R, Motlhabane T, Chohan B, Soge O, Osterhage D, Campbell N, Noble M, Downer A, Flandin JF, Nartker A, Koehn C, Nonde LK, Shibemba A, Ndongmo CB, Steinau M, Perrone LA. Improving laboratory quality and capacity through leadership and management training: Lessons from Zambia 2016-2018. Afr J Lab Med. 2021 Apr 30;10(1):1225. (View). eCollection 2021.
  5. Monroe-Wise A, Mbogo L, Guthrie B, Bukusi D, Sambai B, Chohan B, Scott J, Cherutich P, Musyoki H, Bosire R, Dunbar M, Macharia P, Masyuko S, Wilkinson E, De Oliveira T, Ludwig-Barron N, Sinkele B, Herbeck J, Farquhar C. Peer-mediated HIV assisted partner services to identify and link to care HIV-positive and HCV-positive people who inject drugs: a cohort study protocol. BMJ Open. 2021 Apr 24;11(4):e041083. (View) PMID: 33895711.

Dr. Mary Inziani Muyeku Matilu

Clinical Research Scientist

Dr. Mary Inziani Muyeku Matilu is a clinical research scientist at the Center for Virus Research (CVR) at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). She heads the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Section, mandated with HPV research and HPV DNA testing for cervical cancer screening.

She is a medical doctor with a Master’s Degree in Pediatrics and Child Health and a second Master’s Degree in Tropical Medicine. Her interests are in clinical medicine (paediatrics), infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases research. She has taught postgraduates in these disciplines. She also has a broad background in virology, with specific training in molecular laboratory methods. Currently, she is involved in the evaluation of SARS-Cov-2 test kits, HIV genotyping, childhood malnutrition research, tuberculosis and diabetes research, proposal development, manuscript development, implementation and administration of research projects, teaching, mentorship and supervision of junior staff.

Academic /Professional Profile
  • M.B., Ch.B., (UoN, 2000), MTM (Nagasaki Univ, 2009)
  • M.Med (Pediatrics and Child Health, UoN, 2011).
Selected Publications
  1. Beatrice Olack, Nicole Santos, Mary Inziani, Vincent Moshi, Polycarp Oyoo, Grace Nalwa, Linet Christopher Ouma Otare, Dilys Walker & Phelgona A. Otieno. “Causes of preterm and low birth weight neonatal mortality in a rural community in Kenya: evidence from verbal and social autopsy”. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 21 536 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-021-04012-z
  2. Grace T PattersonDennis ManthiFinley OsunaAlfred MuiaBeatrice OlackMargaret MbuchiOmar A SaldarriagaLinet OumaMary InzianiXiaoying YuPhelgona OtienoPeter C Melby. “Environmental, Metabolic, and Inflammatory Factors Converge in the Pathogenesis of Moderate Acute Malnutrition in Children: An Observational Cohort Study”. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2021 Mar 22: tpmd200963. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.20-0963. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33755580
  3. Inziani M, Adungo F, Awando J, Kihoro R, Inoue S, Morita K, Obimbo E, Onyango F, Mwau M. “Seroprevalence of Yellow Fever, Dengue, West Nile and Chikungunya Viruses in Children in Teso South Sub County, Western Kenya”, International Journal of Infectious Diseases (2019), (View)
  4. Mary Inziani Matilu: “Dengue Fever in Kenya”. The AfSPID BULLETIN, Newsletter of the African Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases, 3rd Edition January 2015, P11-12
  5. David I Ojakaa, Jordan D Jarvis, Mary I Matilu and Sylla Thiam: “Acceptance of a malaria vaccine by caregivers of sick children in Kenya”. Malaria Journal 2014, 13:172 (View).
  6. Mary Matilu, Carey Farquhar, Theresa Odero, et al. “Screening for hypertension by Community Health Workers and Effects of SMS technology and written instructions on utilization of healthcare services”. The 13th Asia Pacific Congress of Hypertension (APCH 2017). Singapore. (Abstract and oral presentation) APCH 2017 Delegates’ Abstract. Abstract No: 5308.

Dr. Juliann Nzembi Makau

Research Scientist

Dr. Makau is currently a research scientist at CVR with a research interest in antiviral drug research and development, drug resistance and the development of diagnostic assays. As a principal investigator, Dr. Makau has received research grants for the following projects;

  1. Determination of HIV-1 drug resistance among patients failing second-line treatment in Kenya using an in-house phenotypic assay. Funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (2020-2023).
  2. Pinto beans as a functional food for influenza prevention. Funded by Takano Life Science Research Foundation (2019-2020).

She is also a co-investigator in other projects on repurposing clinically approved drugs for COVID-19 and establishing a diagnostic assay for the surveillance of prion diseases in Kenya. Dr. Makau is a visiting researcher at Nagasaki University and has ongoing research collaborations with research institutions in Japan, Indonesia, Netherlands and Italy.

Before joining CVR, she was a postdoctoral researcher and a research consultant at Nagasaki University in Japan and Nagasaki University Institute of Tropical Medicine, Kenya Station, respectively. She has published more than 10 publications in international peer-reviewed journals in the fields of computer-aided drug design & discovery, antimicrobial drug resistance, drug discovery from natural products, and the design and development of diagnostic probes. In addition, her work has been presented in both local and international scientific conferences and workshops.

Academic and Professional Qualifications

Dr. Makau holds a PhD in Medical Sciences (2017), MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2013) from Nagasaki University in Japan and a BSc in Medical Laboratory Science (2011) from Kenyatta University.

She holds certificates and professional training on the following;

  • Diploma in Research and Development of Products to Meet Public Health Needs. Nagasaki University, Japan
  • Certificate of training in high throughput screening practices in drug discovery research. Texas A&M University, Houston, Texas, USA
  • Certificate in biosafety level-3 laboratory training. NUITM-KEMRI project
  • Training in next-generation sequencing. NUITM-KEMRI project
  • Certificate of training on the Logical Framework Approach. Global Link Management. Inc and Nagasaki University
Selected Publications
  1. Juliann Nzembi Makau, Ken Watanabe, Hiroki Otaki, Satoshi Mizuta, Takeshi Ishikawa, Yuji O. Kamatari, Noriyuki Nishida. A quinolinone compound inhibiting the oligomerization of nucleoprotein of influenza A virus prevents the selection of escape mutants. Viruses. 2020; 12(3):E337. https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/12/3/337
  2. Juliann Nzembi Makau, Ayako Kitagawa, Kanami Kitamura, Tomoko Yamaguchi, Satoshi Mizuta. Design and development of an HBT-based ratiometric fluorescent probe to monitor stress-induced premature senescence. ACS Omega, 2020;5(20):11299-11307. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsomega.9b04208
  3. Makoto Sumiyoshi, Taiga Miyazaki, Juliann Nzembi Makau, Satoshi Mizuta, Yoshimasa Tanaka, Takeshi Ishikawa, Koichi Makimura, Tatsuro Hirayama, Takahiro Takazono, Tomomi Saijo, Shintaro Shimamura, Kazuko Yamamoto, Yoshifumi Imamura, Koichi Izumikawa, Katsunori Yanagihara, Shigeru Kohno, Hiroshi Mukae Novel and potent antimicrobial effects of caspofungin on drug-resistant Candida and bacteria. Scientific Reports. 2020;10(1):17745. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-74749-8
  4. Ratika Rahmasari, Heri Setiawan, Rezi Riadhi Syahdi, Ayun Arifianti, Marina Ika Irianti, Rani Sauriasari, Juliann Nzembi Makau, Muhareva Raekiansyah. SARS-CoV-2: Virology and Drug Repurposing Approaches. Pharmaceutical Sciences & Research. 2020;7 (Special Issue on COVID-19):29-38. https://scholarhub.ui.ac.id/psr/vol7/iss4/4/
  5. Satoshi Mizuta, Juliann Nzembi Makau, Ayako Kitagawa, Kanami Kitamura, Hiroki Otaki, Kodai Nishi, Ken Watanabe. Synthesis of trifluoromethyl-α,β-unsaturated lactones and pyrazolinones and discovery of influenza virus polymerase inhibitors. ChemMedChem. 2018; 13(22):2390-2399. https://chemistry-europe.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cmdc.201800511
  6. Juliann Nzembi Makau, Ken Watanabe, Takeshi Ishikawa, Satoshi Mizuta, Tsuyoshi Hamada, Nobuyuki Kobayashi, Noriyuki Nishida. Identification of small molecules inhibitors of influenza A virus using in silico and in vitro approaches. PLoS One. 2017; 12(3):e0173582. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0173582
  7. Ratika Rahmasari, Ananda Hanny Chairunissa, Marina Ika Irianti, Roshamur Cahyan Forestrania, Ayun Arifianti, Herman Suryadi, Juliann Nzembi Makau, Ibrahim Jantan, Berna Elya. Inhibitory and anti-biofilm effects of Orthoshipon aristatus against Candida albicans. Pharmaceutical Sciences & Research. 2020;7 (3):132-137. https://scholarhub.ui.ac.id/psr/vol7/iss3/2/

Dr. Konongoi Limbaso

Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Konongoi Limbaso based at the Center for Virus Research (CVR) has research interests in the epidemiology, diagnostics, surveillance and public health impacts of arboviruses and viral hemorrhagic fevers in Kenya and the region. He has participated in numerous studies and outbreak support activities in major arbo virus outbreaks in Kenya including Chikungunya (2016-date,) Rift Valley Fever (2006/07, 2018-date), Dengue (2011-date).

He is a member of the National Zoonotic Technical working group Committee, KEMRI KASH organizing committee, is the current Chairperson of the KEMRI animal care and use committee and a lecturer on Laboratory animal care and use at the Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases.

He is currently involved in Whole Genomic characterization of Rift Valley Fever Virus and co-circulating zoonotic pathogens from human samples from selected sites in Kenya to provide insights on the genetic diversity of RVF isolates collected in various regions in Kenya over different time periods and identify evidence of co circulating pathogens.

Selected Publications
  1. Chepkorir, D. P. Tchouassi, S. L. Konongoi, J. Lutomiah, C. Tigoi, Z. Irura, F. Eyase, M. Venter and R. Sang. Serological evidence of Flavivirus circulation in human populations in Northern Kenya: an assessment of disease risk 2016–2017. Virology Journal201916:65 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-019-1176-
  2. Fuxun Yu, Ferdinard Adungo, Samson Limbaso Konongoi, Shingo Inoue, Rosemary Sang, Salame Ashur, Allan ole Kwallah, Leo Uchida, Corazon C Buerano, Matilu Mwau, Yan Zha, Yingjie Nie and Kouichi Morita. Comparison of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay systems using rift valley fever virus nucleocapsid protein and inactivated virus as antigens. Virology Journal201815:178. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-018-1071-y
  3. Konongoi SL, Nyunja A, Ofula V, Owaka,S, Koka H, Koskei E, et al. (2018) Human and entomologic investigations of chikungunya outbreak in Mandera, Northeastern Kenya, 2016. PLoS ONE 13(10): e0205058. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205058
  4. Limbaso Konongoi, Victor Ofula, Albert Nyunja, Samuel Owaka, Hellen Koka, Albina Makio, Edith Koskei, Fredrick Eyase, Daniel Langat, Randal J. Schoepp, Cynthia Ann Rossi, Ian Njeru, Rodney Coldren and Rosemary Sang. Detection of dengue virus serotypes 1, 2 and 3 in selected regions of Kenya: 2011–2014. Virology Journal 2016.13:182 DOI: 10.1186/s12985-016-0641-0
  5. Odhiambo C, Venter M, Limbaso K, Swanepoel R, Sang R (2014) Genome Sequence Analysis of In Vitro and In Vivo Phenotypes of Bunyamwera and Ngari Virus Isolates from Northern Kenya. PLoS ONE 9(8): e105446. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105446
  6. Limbaso S. Konongoi, David Schnabel, Robert F. Breiman, Samuel Yingst, Muchane Muchai, Steve Lindstrom, Joseph M. Macharia, Lydia Mwasi, Muthoni Junghae, Peter M. Ithondeka, De Mattos Carlos, Mark Katz and M. Kariuki Njenga. Detection of Avian Influenza among Wild Birds in Kenya, 2006 -2009. 2011. African Journal of health sciences, vol 20 number 1-2.

Victor Ofula

Senior Research Scientist

Victor Ofula is a Senior Research Scientist working with Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). Victor works in Arboviruses/Viral Haemorrhagic Fever laboratory within the Centre for Virus Research based in Nairobi. He has a background in Biomedical Sciences from Technical University of Kenya (formally The Kenya Polytechnic), a Master’s Degree in Community Health and Development-Great Lakes University of Kisumu (GLUK) and MSc. in Laboratory Management and Epidemiology-Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). Currently, he is pursuing PhD in Molecular Epidemiology from Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST). Victor mainly works in the serology section of the ARBOVIRUS/ VHF Laboratory. Occasionally, he also supports testing in the molecular section. He has held leadership positions in the VHF laboratory including section head Serology, Bio-safety officer and Training coordinator among others. Apart from running tests in the laboratory, he is also involved in field and outbreak investigations across the country especially those that are arboviruses or VHF related. Victor also supports in the training of healthcare workers in various areas such as Biosafety, biosecurity, sample management, Quality management systems, Infection Prevention and Control among other areas

Some of the milestones in Victor’s professional life include but are not limited to detection of the first human case of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever virus in 2000 in Kenya. Identification of the cause of hemorrhagic fever outbreak in South Sudan i.e. yellow fever virus in 2003. He also supported in detection Ebola virus outbreak in South Sudan in 2004. He participated in Rift Valley Fever outbreak investigation in Kenya and Tanzania in 2006/07. Victor played a major role in establishing Arbo/VHF surveillance program in Kenya 2000 to 2004. He participated in the Chikungunya outbreak on the Kenya coast in 2004/05. He also supported the establishment of the Human Influenza Laboratory (The National Influenza Center) and surveillance program in Kenya in 2006. Victor has also been instrumental in the Ebola Virus Disease National Task Force in 2014-2016 and Dengue Virus National Task Force in 2017-2019.  Currently in the Core laboratory team for testing and training on SARS CoV-2 (COVID 19) in Kenya.

Between November 2020 and May 2021, Victor has been serving as a WHO Laboratory Consultant to Botswana to support the strengthening of laboratories involved in SARS CoV-2 testing.

Academic and Professional Profile

2017   PhD. Molecular Epidemiology, Meru University of Science and Technology, Kenya. (Ongoing)

2012   MSc. Laboratory Management and Epidemiology (FELTP), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya.

2010    Master’s in Community Health and Development (MCHD), Great Lakes University of Kisumu (GLUK), Kenya

2001   Higher National Diploma– Medical Laboratory Science (Virology and Epidemiology) The Kenya Polytechnic (Now Technical University of Kenya).

1995   Diploma Medical Laboratory Sciences- The Kenya Polytechnic (Now Technical University of Kenya).

Selected Publications
  1. Dengue Expansion in Africa—Not Recognized or Not Happening? Thomas Jaenisch, Thomas Junghanss, Bridget Wills, Oliver J. Brady, Isabella Eckerle, Andrew Farlow, Simon  I.  Hay, Philip J.  McCall, Jane P.  Messina, Victor Ofula, Amadou A.  Sall, Anavaj Sakuntabhai, Raman Velayudhan, G.R. William Wint, Herve Zeller, Harold S. Margolis,  Osman   Sankoh,   and the   Dengue in   Africa   Study   Group.   Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2014
  2. Detection of avian influenza viruses in wild waterbirds in the Rift Valley of Kenya using faecal sampling. Victor O Ofula, Alan B Franklin, J Jeffrey Root, Heather J Sullivan, Patrick Gichuki, Albina Makio, Wallace Bulimo, Bernard O Abong’o, Muchane Muchai, David Schnabel. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2013 Jun; 13(6):394-400. (Click Here). Epub 2013 Apr 26.
  3. Seroprevalence and distribution of arboviral infections among rural Kenyan adults: A cross-sectional study.  Luke  E  Mease,  Rodney  L  Coldren,  Lillian  A  Musila,  Trish Prosser,  Fredrick  Ogolla,  Victor  O  Ofula,  Randal  J  Schoepp,  Cindy  A  Rossi and Nicholas Adungo. Virology Journal20118:371 (Click Here)
  4. Clayton O.   Onyango,  Martin L.   Opoka, Thomas G.   Ksiazek,   Pierre Formenty, Abdullahi Ahmed, Peter M. Tukei, Rosemary C. Sang, Victor O. Ofula, Samson L. Konongoi, Rodney L.  Coldren, Thomas Grein, Dominique Legros, Mike Bell, Kevin M.  De Cock, William J.  Bellini, Jonathan S.  Towner, Stuart T.  Nichol, and Pierre   E.   Rollin   Laboratory Diagnosis of Ebola   Haemorrhagic   Fever during an Outbreak in Yambio, Sudan, 2004 The Journal of Infectious Diseases 2007; 196:S193- S198. http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JID/journal/issues/v196nS2/38288/brief/38288.abst ract.html – fn1#fn1.
  5. Sergon K, Njuguna C, Kalani R, Ofula V, Onyango C, Konongoi LS, Bedno S, Burke H,  Dumilla  AM,  Konde  J,Njenga  MK,  Sang  R,  Breiman  RF.  Seroprevalence of Chikungunya Virus (CHIKV) Infection on Lamu Island, Kenya, October 2004. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2008; 78(2):333-337.
  6. Genetic analysis of  H3N2  influenza  A  viruses isolated in  2006-2007  in  Nairobi, Kenya. Bulimo WD1, Garner JL, Schnabel DC, Bedno SA, Njenga MK, Ochieng WO, Amukoye E, Magana JM, Simwa JM, Ofula VO, Lifumo SM, Wangui J, Breiman RF, Martin SK

Mr. Albert Omondi Nyunja

Research Scientist

Mr. Nyunja has great interest in viral hemorrhagic fever and arboviruses research, surveillance, outbreak response and the design of public health interventions

Academic & Professional Qualifications
  • B.Sc. in Biomedical Science and Technology with Information Technology
Selected Publications
  1. Probable contribution of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes to the circulation of chikungunya virus during an outbreak in Mombasa County, Kenya, 2017–2018. Authors: J. Lutomiah, F. Mulwa, J. Mutisya, E. Koskei, S. Langat, Albert Nyunja, H. Koka, S. Konongoi, E. Chepkorir, V. Ofula, S. Owaka, F. Eyase & R. Sang. March 2021. (View)
  2. Emergence of a novel chikungunya virus strain bearing the E1:V80A substitution, out of the Mombasa, Kenya 2017-2018 outbreak. Authors: F. Eyase, S. Langat, I. Maljkovic Berry, F. Mulwa, Albert Nyunja, J. Mutisya, S. Owaka, S. Limbaso, V. Ofula, H. Koka, E. Koskei, J. Lutomiah, R. Jarman, R. Sang. November 2020. (View)
  3. Origin and evolution of dengue virus type 2 causing outbreaks in Kenya: Evidence of circulation of two cosmopolitan genotype lineages. Solomon K Langat, Fredrick Lunyagi Eyase, Irina Maljkovic Berry, Albert Nyunja, Wallace Bulimo, Samuel Owaka, Victor Ofula, Samson Limbaso, Joel Lutomiah, Richard Jarman, John Distelhorst, Rosemary C Sang. January 2020. (View)
  4. Global Outbreaks and Origins of a Chikungunya Virus Variant Carrying Mutations Which May Increase Fitness for Aedes aegypti: Revelations from the 2016 Mandera, Kenya Outbreak. Authors: I. M. Berry, F. Eyase, S. Pollett, S. L. Konongoi, M. Gordon Joyce, K. Figueroa, V. Ofula, H. Koka, E. Koskei, Albert Nyunja, J. D. Mancuso, R. G. Jarman, and R. Sang. June 2020. (view)
  5. Human and entomologic investigations of chikungunya outbreak in Mandera, Northeastern Kenya, 2016. Authors: S. Limbaso Konongoi, Albert Nyunja,V. Ofula, S. Owaka, H. Koka, E. Koskei, F. Eyase, D. Langat, J. Mancuso, J. Lutomiah, R. Sang. October 2018.(View)
  6. Recent outbreaks of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in Africa and Asia are driven by a variant carrying mutations associated with increased fitness for Aedes aegypti. Authors: I. M. Berry, F. Eyase, S. Pollett, S. L. Konongoi, K. Figueroa, V. Ofula, H. Koka, E. Koskei, Albert Nyunja, J. D. Mancuso, R. G. Jarman and R. Sang. July 2018. (View)
Dama Olungae
Research Scientist

Ms. Olungae is a Biomedical researcher with experience in basic research and developing a career trajectory towards applied research

Academic & Professional Qualifications
  • BSc Biomedical Technology
  • MSc Molecular Biology

Trainings:

  • Leadership and Management in Health
  • Introduction to Epidemiology for Global Health
  • REDCap Data Managing
  • Biorisk Management Trainer Development
  • Good Clinical Laboratory Practice
  • Shipping of Infectious Substance Trainer
Research Grants
  • Evaluating the implementation of Kenya education sector HIV&AIDS policy and its effects on school going, adolescents.
  • Diabetes Mellitus and Latent Tuberculosis among HIV infected patients attending comprehensive care clinics in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Innovations for missed opportunities in National Health Programming for Prevention, Testing and Monitoring of viral infections [HIV, HBV & HCV] in Kenya.

 

HIV-1 Drug-Resistance and its Impact on Anti-Retroviral Treatment in Newly Diagnosed Infants Attending Selected Health Facilities in Kenya.

Selected Publications
  1. “Friendly reminder: hi! It is that time again”: understanding PMTCT care text message design preferences amongst pre and post-partum women and their male partners Natabhona M. Mabachi, Melinda Brown1, Catherine Wexler, Kathy Goggin, May Maloba, Dama Olungae, Brad Gautney and Sarah Finocchario-Kessler
  2. If you text them, they will come: Using the HIV Infant Tracking System (HITSystem©) to improve early infant diagnosis quality and retention in Kenya. Finocchario-Kessler S., Gautney B., Khamadi S., Okoth V., Goggin K., Spinler J., Mwangi A., Kimanga D., Clark K., Olungae H., Preidis G. AIDS. 2014 Jul;28 Suppl 3: S313-21.
  3. Sero-Mapping of HBV, HCV, HSV2 and Syphilis across Regions in Kenya Mwangi Joseph, Solomon Mpoke, Dama Olungae, Rency Lel, Zipporah Ng’anga.Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare Vol 9, No 12 (2019).

Mr. James Oluomo Nyangao

Research Scientist

Mr. Nyangao works on Rotaviruses, Polioviruses and Electron Microscopy

Academic and Professional Qualifications

Master of Science, Virologist

Selected Publications
  • Feasibility of the Bag‑Mediated Filtration System for Environmental Surveillance of Poliovirus in Kenya
    Nicolette A. Zhou1 · Christine S. Fagnant‑Sperati1 · Evans Komen2 · Benlick Mwangi2 · Johnstone Mukubi2 · James Nyangao2 · Joanne Hassan2 · Agnes Chepkurui2 · Caroline Maina3 · Walda B. van Zyl4 · Peter N. Matsapola4 · Marianne Wolfaardt4 · Fhatuwani B. Ngwana4 · Stacey Jeffries‑Miles5 · Angela Coulliette‑Salmond6 · Silvia Peñaranda6 · Jeffry H. Shirai1 · Alexandra L. Kossik1 · Nicola K. Beck1 · Robyn Wilmouth7 · David S. Boyle7 · Cara C. Burns6 · Maureen B. Taylor4 · Peter Borus2 · John Scott Meschke

Food and Environmental Virology (2020) 12:35–47 (View)

  • Rotavirus prevalence and seasonal distribution post vaccine introduction in Nairobi County Kenya

Joshua Gikonyo,1,& Betty Mbatia,2 Patrick Okanya,1 George Obiero,1 Carlene Sang,3 and James Nyangao3

Pan Afr Med J. 2019; 33: 269.

Published online 2019 Jul 29. doi: (View)

  • Detection of potentially pathogenic enteric virusesin environmental samples from Kenya using the bag-mediated filtration system
    Walda B. van Zyl, Nicolette A. Zhou, Marianne Wolfaardt,  Peter N. Matsapola, Fhatuwani B. Ngwana, Erin M. Symonds, Christine S. Fagnant-Sperati, Jeffry H. Shirai, Alexandra L. Kossik, Nicola K. Beck, Evans Komen, Benlick Mwangi, James Nyangao, David S. Boyle, Peter Borus, Maureen B. Taylor and J. Scott Meschke

Water Supply (2019) 19 (6): 1668–1676.

  • Post-vaccine rotavirus genotype distribution in Nairobi County, Kenya

Joshua Ndungâ u Gikonyoa,â, Betty Mbatia, Patrick W. Okanyaa, George F.O. Obieroa,Carlene Sangc, Duncan Steeled, James Nyangao Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, The Technical University of Kenya (TU-K), PO Box 52428-00200, Nairobi, Kenya School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, United States International University (USIU) â Africa, PO Box 14634-00800, Nairobi, Kenyac Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), PO Box 43640-00100, Nairobi, Kenya Enteric and Diarrhoeal Diseases, Global Health Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation PO Box 23350, Seattle, WA98102, USA

International Journal of Infectious Diseases 100 (2020) 434–440

  • Genomic characterization of uncommon human G3P [6] rotavirus strains that have emerged in Kenya after rotavirus vaccine introduction, and pre-vaccine human G8P [4] rotavirus strains

Author links open overlay panel Ernest Apondi Wanderaa Satoshi Komotob

ShahMohammadaTomihikoIdebMartinBundicJamesNyangaodCyrusKathiikoaErickOdoyoaAminaGalataaGabrielMiring’uaSaoriFukudabRionaHatazawabTakayukiMuratabKokiTaniguchibYoshioIchinosea

Infection, Genetics and Evolution  Volume 68, March 2019, Pages 231-248

 

  • Molecular Epidemiology of Rotavirus Gastroenteritis in Central Kenya Before Vaccine Introduction, 2009–2014

Ernest A. Wandera,1 Shah Mohammad,1Satoshi Komoto,2 Yoshimasa Maeno,2 James Nyangao,3 Tomihiko Ide,2 Cyrus Kathiiko,1 Erick Odoyo,1 Takao Tsuji,4 Koki Taniguchi,2 and Yoshio Ichinose1

1 Institute of Tropical Medicine, Center for Microbiology Research, KEMRI, KEMRI-Nagasaki University, Nairobi, Kenya

2 Department of Virology and Parasitology, School of Medicine, Fujita Health University, Toyoake, Japan

3 Centre for Virus Research, KEMRI, Nairobi, Kenya

4 Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, Fujita Health University, Toyoake, Japan

Ms. Edith Chepkirui Koskei

Research Scientist

Edith Koskei is a Research Scientist at the Viral Haemorrhagic Fever Laboratory, Center for Virus Research (CVR). She has a wide range of experience doing Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers and Arbovirus Surveillance work. Her main focus is on mosquitoes, ticks, sand-flies, cullicoides and biting midges, where she does analysis of vector and human samples from surveillance and suspect outbreak sites locally and regionally for arboviruses and Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers. Her work involves the application of cell culture, Molecular and serological techniques. She is also involved in responding to various outbreaks including Dengue, Chikungunya, Rift Valley Fever, Ebola etc.

Additionally, she is the Quality Assurance/Quality Control in charge at Viral Haemorrhagic Fever laboratory where she is responsible for Good Laboratory Practices and Lab Safety to ensure compliance with ISO 2015: 9001 standards.

She is also involved in COVID-19 pandemic response through sample collection, lab testing and IQA and EQA proficiency testing of the samples.

Academic /Professional Profile
  • Bsc. Medical Microbiology (JKUAT)
  • Msc. Medical Virology (JKUAT-KEMRI Graduate School) (Ongoing)
Selected Publications
  1. Probable contribution of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes to the circulation of chikungunya virus during an outbreak in Mombasa County, Kenya, 2017–2018. Joel Lutomiah, Francis Mulwa, James Mutisya, Edith Koskei, Solomon Langat, Albert Nyunja, Hellen Koka, Samson Konongoi,Edith Chepkorir, Victor Ofula,Samuel Owaka, Fredrick Eyase & Rosemary Sang Parasites Vectors 14, 138 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-021-04632-6
  2. Emergence of a novel chikungunya virus strain bearing the E1:V80A substitution, out of the Mombasa, Kenya 2017-2018 outbreak Fredrick Eyase, Solomon Langat, Irina Maljkovic Berry, Francis Mulwa, Albert Nyunja, James Mutisya, Samuel Owaka, Samson Limbaso, Victor Ofula, Hellen Koka, EdithKoskei, Joel Lutomiah, Richard G. Jarman, RosemarySang PLOSONE https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241754 November6, 2020
  3. Sand Fly—Associated Phlebovirus with Evidence of Neutralizing Antibodies in Humans, Kenya: David P. Tchouassi, Marco Marklewitz, Edith Chepkorir, Florian Zirkel, Sheila B. Agha, Caroline C. Tigoi, Edith Koskei, Christian Drosten, Christian Borgemeister, Baldwin Torto, Sandra Junglen, Rosemary Sang. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2019;25(4):681-90.doi: https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2504.180750
  4. Global Outbreaks and Origins of a Chikungunya Virus Variant Carrying Mutations Which May Increase Fitness for Aedes aegypti: Revelations from the 2016 Mandera, Kenya Outbreak: Irina Maljkovic Berry, Fredrick Eyase, Simon Pollett, Samson Limbaso Konongoi, Michael Gordon Joyce, Katherine Figueroa, Victor Ofula, Helen Koka, Edith Koskei, Albert Nyunja, James D. Mancuso, Richard G. Jarman and Rosemary Sang (May 2019) Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019 May; 100(5): 1249–1257. Published online 2019 Mar 11. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.18-0980 
  5. Human and entomologic investigations of chikungunya outbreak in Mandera, Northeastern Kenya, 2016 Samson Limbaso Konongoi, Albert Nyunja, Victor Ofula, Samuel Owaka, Hellen Koka, Edith Koskei, Fredrick Eyase, Daniel Langat, James Mancuso, Joel Lutomiah, Rosemary Sang PLoS One. 2018 Oct 11;13(10) doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205058
  6. Recent outbreaks of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in Africa and Asia are driven by a variant carrying mutations associated with increased fitness for Aedes aegypti Irina Maljkovic Berry, Fredrick Eyase, Simon Pollett, Samson Limbaso Konongoi, Katherine Figueroa, Victor Ofula, Helen Koka, Edith Koskei, Albert Nyunja, James D. Mancuso, Richard G. Jarman and Rosemary Sang doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/373316
  7. Effects of Irrigation and Rainfall on the Population Dynamics of Rift Valley Fever and Other Arbovirus Mosquito Vectors in the Epidemic-Prone Tana River County, Kenya. R. Sang, J. Lutomiah, M. Said, A. Makio, H. Koka, Koskei, A. Nyunja, S. Owaka, D. Matoke-Muhia, S. Bukachi, J. Lindahl, D. Grace, B. Bett. Journal of Medical entomology December 2016. J Med Entomol. 2017 Mar 1;54(2):460-470. https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjw206
  8. Detection of dengue virus serotypes 1, 2 and 3 in selected regions of Kenya: 2011-2014: Konongoi L, Ofula V, Nyunja A, Owaka S, Koka H, Makio A, Koskei E, Eyase F, Langat D, Schoepp RJ, Rossi CA, Njeru I, Coldren R, Sang R. Virol J. 2016;13:11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-016-0641-0
  9. Dengue Outbreak in Mombasa City, Kenya, 2013-2014: Entomologic Investigations. Joel Lutomiah, Roberto Barrera, Albina Makio, James Mutisya, Hellen Koka, Samuel Owaka, Edith Koskei, Albert Nyunja, Fredrick Eyase, Rodney Coldren and Rosemary Sang, PLOS NTD.10.1371/journal.pntd.0004981.September 2016 PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016 Oct https://org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0004981
  10. Validation of two methods for the detection, identification and quantification of arboviruses in resource-limited settings L. Musila, A. Nyunja, A. Makio, E. Koskei, S. Khamadi, R. Sang DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2012.05.540

Mr. Samuel Arach Owaka

Research Scientist

Mr Samuel Arach Owaka is a Research Scientist at The Centre for Virus Research (CVR), Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) laboratory. The laboratory focuses on arbovirus surveillance and outbreak response in Kenya.

Research experience and interests include Medical virology, sample inventories and sample data management, Geographical Information Systems and map development.

Academic / Professional Profile
  • Bsc in Medical Microbiology
Selected Publications
  1. Probable contribution of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes to the circulation of chikungunya virus during an outbreak in Mombasa County, Kenya, 2017–2018
  2. Joel Lutomiah, Francis Mulwa, James Mutisya, Edith Koskei, Solomon Langat, Albert Nyunja, Hellen Koka, Samson Konongoi, Edith Chepkorir, Victor Ofula, Samuel Owaka, Fredrick Eyase & Rosemary Sang
  3. The emergence of a novel chikungunya virus strain bearing the E1:V80A substitution, out of the Mombasa, Kenya 2017-2018 outbreak
  4. Fredrick Eyase, Solomon Langat,Irina Maljkovic Berry,Francis Mulwa,Albert Nyunja,James Mutisya,Samuel Owaka,Samson Limbaso,Victor Ofula,Hellen Koka,Edith Koskei,Joel Lutomiah,Richard G. Jarman, Rosemary Sang

Mrs. Sophia Kongoti Musenjeri

Research Scientist

Mrs. Musenjeri is a Research Scientist based at the Centre of Research Virus Research, KEMRI. She has over seven years of work experience in diagnostics (carrying out Early Infant Diagnosis program/viral load testing) at the Kenya Laboratory for Molecular Biology, KEMRI.

Mrs. Musenjeri’s research interests revolve around virology especially, HPV and biosafety as well as biosecurity.

Academic /Professional Profile
  • Bsc. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology)
  • MSc. Epidemiology (Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology)
Selected Publications
  • Factors Affecting Adherence to Treatment of HIV in Exposed Infants in Mumias Region, Western Kenya (View)

Mr. Francis Mulwa

Research Scientist

Francis Mulwa is a research scientist at CVR, working on arbovirus surveillance in Kenya. The work involves, outbreak response, Vector sampling, Insectary vector competence experimental studies, cell culture, molecular characterization of isolated pathogens. Research experience and interests include: Medical entomology, vector competence studies, vector genetics human health research.

Academic & Professional Qualifications
  • Bsc in Biogical science
  • Msc Medical Parasitology and Entomology-ongoing
Selected Publications
  1. Vector competence of Aedes bromeliae and Aedes vitattus mosquito populations from Kenya for chikungunya virus. Francis Mulwa ,Joel Lutomiah,Edith Chepkorir,Samwel Okello,Fredrick Eyase,Caroline Tigoi,Michael Kahato,Rosemary Sang
  2. Probable contribution of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes to the circulation of chikungunya virus during an outbreak in Mombasa County, Kenya, 2017–2018. Joel Lutomiah, Francis Mulwa, James Mutisya, Edith Koskei, Solomon Langat, Albert Nyunja, Hellen Koka, Samson Konongoi, Edith Chepkorir, Victor Ofula, Samuel Owaka, Fredrick Eyase & Rosemary Sang
  3. Emergence of a novel chikungunya virus strain bearing the E1:V80A substitution, out of the Mombasa, Kenya 2017-2018 outbreak. Fredrick Eyase ,Solomon Langat, Irina Maljkovic Berry, Francis Mulwa, Albert Nyunja, James Mutisya, Samuel Owaka, Samson Limbaso, Victor Ofula, Hellen Koka, Edith Koskei, Joel Lutomiah, Richard G. Jarman,Rosemary Sang
  4. Evaluating the vector competence of Aedes simpsoni sl from Kenyan coast for Ngari and Bunyamwera viruses. James Mutisya ,Michael Kahato, Francis Mulwa, Solomon Langat, Edith Chepkorir, Samuel Arum, David Tchouassi, Rosemary Sang, Joel Lutomiah
  5. Ticks and Tick-Borne Viruses From Livestock Hosts in Arid and Semiarid Regions of the Eastern and Northeastern Parts of Kenya. Joel Lutomiah, Lillian Musila, Albina Makio, Caroline Ochieng, Hellen Koka, Edith Chepkorir, James Mutisya, Francis Mulwa, Samoel Khamadi, Barry R. Miller, Joshua Bast, David Schnabel, Eyako K. Wurapa, Rosemary Sang
  6. High risk for human exposure to Rift Valley fever virus in communities living along livestock movement routes: A cross-sectional survey in Kenya. Caroline Tigoi ,Rosemary Sang, Edith Chepkorir, Benedict Orindi, Samuel Okello Arum, Francis Mulwa, Gladys Mosomtai, Samson Limbaso, Osama A. Hassan, Zephania Irura, Clas Ahlm, Magnus Evande
  7. Vector competence of populations of Aedes aegypti from three distinct cities in Kenya for chikungunya virus. Sheila B. Agha , Edith Chepkorir, Francis Mulwa, Caroline Tigoi, Samwel Arum, Milehna M. Guarido,Peris Ambala, Betty Chelangat, Joel Lutomiah,David P. Tchouassi, Michael J. Turell, Rosemary Sang

Ms. Hellen Koka

Senior Research Scientist

Koka is a Research Scientist at KEMRI Centre for Virus Research (CVR). Her research interests include the surveillance of vector-borne diseases transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes and others insect vectors.

Koka has experience in the research of infectious diseases such as Rift Valley Fever Virus, Dengue and Chikungunya in vectors and clinical samples and also vector competence. Other projects have involved investigation of bacterial and parasitic agents in tick vectors such as Ricketssia and Coxiella burnetii.

Her current works includes COVID-19 surveillance.

Academic & Professional Qualifications
  • PhD student, Medical Parasitology and Entomology
  • MSc in Medical Parasitology and Entomology
  • BSc Biology
Selected Publications
  1. Lutomiah Joel, Mulwa Francis, Mutisya James, Koskei Edith, Langat Solomon, Nyunja, Albert, Koka, Hellen, Konongoi, Samson, Chepkorir, Edith, Ofula, Victor, Owaka, Samuel, Eyase, Fredrick, Sang, Rosemary.Probable contribution of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes to the circulation of chikungunya virus during an outbreak in Mombasa County, Kenya, 2017–2018. Parasites Vectors 14, 138 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-021-04632
  2. Eyase Fredrick, Langat Solomon, Berry Irina Maljkovic, Mulwa Francis, Nyunja Albert, Mutisya James, Owaka Samuel, Limbaso Samson, Ofula Victor, Koka Hellen, Koskei Edith, Lutomiah Joel, Jarman Richard G, Sang, Rosemary (2020) Emergence of a novel chikungunya virus strain bearing the E1:V80A substitution, out of the Mombasa, Kenya 2017-2018 outbreak. PLOS ONE 15(11): https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241754
  3. Irina Maljkovic Berry, Fredrick Eyase, Simon Pollett, Samson Limbaso Konongoi, M. Gordon Joyce, Katherine Figueroa, Victor Ofula, Helen Koka, Edith Koskei, Albert Nyunja, James D. Mancuso, Richard G. Jarman and Rosemary Sang (2019). Global outbreaks and origins of a Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) variant carrying mutations which may increase fitness for Aedes aegypti: Revelations from the 2016 Mandera, Kenya outbreak. AJTMH
  4. Irina MaljkovicBerry, FredrickEyase, SimonPollett, Samson LimbasoKonongoi, KatherineFigueroa, VictorOfula, Helen Koka, Edith Koskei, Albert Nyunja, James D. Mancuso, Richard G. Jarman, Rosemary (2018). Recent outbreaks of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in Africa and Asia are driven by a variant carrying mutations associated with increased fitness for Aedes aegypti. bioRxiv 373316  doi:https://doi.org/10.1101/373316
  5. Hellen Koka, Rosemary Sang, Helen Lydia Kutima, Lillian Musila; Coxiella burnetii detected in Tick Samples From Pastoral Communities in Kenya. BioMed Research International 2018 doi.org/10.1155/2018/8158102.
  6. Hellen Koka, Rosemary Sang, Helen Lydia Kutima, Lillian Musila; The Detection of Spotted Fever Group Rickettsia DNA in Tick Samples From Pastoral Communities in Kenya. J Med Entomol 2017 tjw238. doi:10.1093/jme/tjw238.

Majanja Janet M

Research Scientist

Janet Majanja is a research scientist at the ARI laboratory dealing with respiratory viruses. She has experience in surveillance, identification and characterization of respiratory viruses using serological and molecular methods. She has played key roles in management of the laboratory, Quality assurance/ Quality control and capacity building

Academic & Professional Qualifications
  • PhD, Ongoing
  • MSc, Molecular Medicine
  • BSc, Biochemistry
Selected Publications
  1. Diagnostic performance of a colorimetric RT -LAMP for the identification of SARS-CoV-2: A multicenter prospective clinical evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa. Marycelin Mandu Baba, Molalegne Bitew, Joseph Fokam, Eric Agola Lelo, Ahmed Ahidjo, Kominist Asmamaw, Grace Angong Beloumou, Wallace Dimbuson Bulimo, Emanuele Buratti, Collins Chenwi, Hailu Dadi, Pierlanfranco D’Agaro, Laura De Conti, Nadine Fainguem, Galadima Gadzama, Paolo Maiuri, Janet Majanja, Wadegu Meshack, Alexis Ndjolo, Celine Nkenfou, Bamidele Soji Oderinde, Silvanos Mukunzi Opanda, Ludovica Segat, Cristiana Stuani, Samwel L. Symekher, Desire Takou, Kassahun Tesfaye, Gianluca Triolo, Keyru Tuki, Serena Zacchigna, Alessandro Marcello, EClinicalMedicine.40 (2021) 101101https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101101
  2. Multidisciplinary approach towards training of the next generation of forensic DNA analysts in  Africa; a Kenyan perspective. Eva Aluvaala Nambatia, Muturi Njoka, Fred Eyase, Janet Majanja, Naomi Njuguna, Sophie M. Gitonga, Nicholas Mwikwabe, Eric Lelo, Milka Mwangi, Allan Kingoro Francis Kimani, Kizito Lubano, Wallace Bulimo. Forensic Sci Int: Synergy. 2020: 2: 123-125.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsisyn.2020.03.003
  3. Multidisciplinary approach towards training of the next generation of forensic DNA analysts in  Africa; a Kenyan perspective. Eva Aluvaala Nambatia, Muturi Njoka, Fred Eyase, Janet Majanja, Naomi Njuguna, Sophie M. Gitonga, Nicholas Mwikwabe, Eric Lelo, Milka Mwangi, Allan Kingoro Francis Kimani, Kizito Lubano, Wallace Bulimo. Forensic Sci Int: Synergy. 2020: 2: 123-125.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsisyn.2020.03.003
  4. Molecular Surveillance of Adamantane Resistance among Human Influenza A Viruses Isolated in Four Epidemic Seasons in Kenya. Meshack Wadegu, Fred Wamunyokoli, George Osanjo, Silvanos Opanda, Janet Majanja, Rodney Coldren and Wallace Bulimo. Afr. J. Pharmacol. Ther. 2016. 5(3): 181-192  http://journals.uonbi.ac.ke/ajpt
  5. Impact of Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 Virus on Circulation Dynamics of Seasonal Influenza Strains in Kenya. Janet Majanja, Rose N. Njoroge, Rachel Achilla, Eyako K. Wurapa, Meshack Wadegu, Silvanos Mukunzi, Josephat Mwangi, James Njiri, George Gachara, and Wallace Bulimo. J. Trop. Med. Hyg 2013. 88(5) 940–945. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.12-0147
  6. Molecular Characterization and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Hemagglutinin 1 Protein of Human Influenza A Virus Subtype H1N1Circulating in Kenya during 2007–2008. Wallace D. Bulimo, Rachel A. Achilla, Janet Majanja, Silvanos Mukunzi, Meshack Wadegu, Finnley Osuna, Josephat Mwangi, James Njiri, Julia Wangui, Janet Nyambura, Beryl Obura, Ken Mitei, Duke Omariba, Shirley Segecha, Martha Nderitu, Alfred Odindo, Charles Adega, Jeremiah Kiponda, Ruth Mupa, Frida Munyazi, George Kissinger, Mohammed Mwakuzimu, Diana Kamola, Elias Muhidin, Daniel Kamau, Steve Kairithia, Margaret Koech, Alice Sang, Lynette Ongéta, David C. Schnabel. J Infect Dis. 2012:206 (Suppl 1) S46-S52. DOI: 1093/infdis/jis586
  7. Molecular Characterization and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Hemagglutinin 1 Protein of Human Influenza A Virus Subtype H1N1Circulating in Kenya during 2007–2008. Wallace D. Bulimo, Rachel A. Achilla, Janet Majanja, Silvanos Mukunzi, Meshack Wadegu, Finnley Osuna, Josephat Mwangi, James Njiri, Julia Wangui, Janet Nyambura, Beryl Obura, Ken Mitei, Duke Omariba, Shirley Segecha, Martha Nderitu, Alfred Odindo, Charles Adega, Jeremiah Kiponda, Ruth Mupa, Frida Munyazi, George Kissinger, Mohammed Mwakuzimu, Diana Kamola, Elias Muhidin, Daniel Kamau, Steve Kairithia, Margaret Koech, Alice Sang, Lynette Ongéta, David C. Schnabel. J Infect Dis. 2012:206 (Suppl 1) S46-S52. DOI: 1093/infdis/jis586

Ms Pamela Njugu

Research Scientist

Ms Pamela Njugu is a Research Scientist with experience in drug resistance including (Antibiotic Resistance) of enteric  pathoges in environmental settings including Klebsiella Species and Escherichia Coli ,Detection, Identification of infectious diseases in food handlers programme,with a background of teaching experience at the University level and various experiences at different settings in social work including Management of youth teams and organized public events that brought public awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and infections (hereinafter “STI”) in communities. Attendance of scientific local and global virtual trainings in which certificates are awarded and networking with Scientists from different Regions.

Her interests include the detection and identification of Emerging/Opportunistic infectious diseases and molecular epidemiology/surveillance of Rotavirus/ infectious diseases and dissemination of knowledge through scientific settings/projects, trainings involved in past and current modules.

Academic & Professional Qualifications
  • Masters of Science in Microbiology
  • Bachelor of Science (Applied Biology)
Selected Publications

PM Njugu, S Kariuki, V Matiru. Antibiotic Susceptibility Patterns and Detection of Genes Responsible for Resistance of Klebsiella Species and Escherichia Coli Isolated from Environmental Sources around Nairobi, Kenya (Sent for Publication Review ) Conference Proceeding

Project work/manuscript/PI

PM Njugu, J Muchiri Isolation and Partial Characterization of Enterobacteria from Domestic Water Supply in Meru. (To be sent for Publication Review)

Mr. Seth Ouma Okeyo

Research Data Scientist/Bioinformatician

Mr. Okeyo is currently the lead data person for COVID-19 research, which is ongoing within the Institute, cleaning the data, keying in the results, creating the test certificates, sharing the relevant persons and finally disseminating to the  Ministry of Health.

He has over 10 Years’ experience in Research Data Management and analysis, Management and administration of different data management Information systems including; DHIS2, OpenClinica, Redcap, OpenMRS, STATA, and  SPSS. He is also trained in software development and programming in different languages including; Python, PhP, Java, C#, and Database Management Systems including PostgreSQL and MySQL.

Academic & Professional Profile

Seth holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer information systems from Kenya Methodist University, Diploma in Computer Studies from The Technical University of Kenya and he is currently pursuing Masters of Science in Information Technology, Business Intelligence and Data Science major at Strathmore University.

Selected Publications
  1. Innovative Approaches to Clinical Data Management in Resource Limited Settings Using Open-Source Technologies: Raymond Omollo, Michael Ochieng, Brian Mutinda, Truphosa Omollo, Rhoda Owiti, Seth Okeyo, Monique Wasunna, Tansy Edwards. Published: September 11, 2014 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003134
  2. Piloting Dhis2 System in Visceral Leishmaniasis Surveillance. Seth Okeyo, Raymond Omollo, Robert Kimutai, Michael Ochieng, Thaddaeus Egondi. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited, November 09 2016 https://gh.bmj.com/content/2/Suppl_2/A64

Mrs. Betty Chelangat

Laboratory Technologist

Mrs. Betty Chelangat is a Laboratory Technologist at Centre for Virus Research (CVR), Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Laboratory (VHF). Her work encompasses field collection of samples, entomological identification of vectors, processing and screening of samples for Arboviruses

Academic /Professional Profile
  • Bsc. Technology in Applied Biology
Selected Publications
  • Agha, S.B., Chepkorir, E., Mulwa, F., Tigoi, C., Arum, S., Guarido, M.M., Ambala, P., Chelangat, B., Lutomiah, J., Tchouassi, D.P. and Turell, M.J., 2017. Vector competence of populations of Aedes aegypti from three distinct cities in Kenya for chikungunya virus. PLoS neglected tropical diseases11(8), p.e0005860
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