2011/2012 Yearbook Education

Kenyan Researchers

Prof Shaukat A. Abdulrazak

He is the Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST). The council is the focal point on science, technology and innovation (ST&I) in Kenya whose mandate is to advice the Government on all matters relating to ST&I and research. Prof Abdulrazak is a member of the National Economic Social Council (NESC), a standing committee comprising of eminent persons with diverse experience, knowledge and skills and are mandated to provide expert advise on economic and social matters to the President and Cabinet. He is the chairman of African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS) Board and chaired the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute Board between 2005 and 2007

. He sits in the boards of Kenya Agriculture Research Institute, Kenya Institute of Research and Development, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Numerical Machine Complex, Radiation Protection Board, Commissioner for the Commission for Higher Education and Inter-University Council of East Africa. Prof Abdulrazak is also the National Liaison Officer of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Kenya and governor of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in Italy and Chairman of Programme Management Committee of African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA). He has taught at Egerton University and is a motivational speaker and included as a subject of biographical record in the 2010 edition of Marquis Who is Who in the world.

Prof Abdulrazak is a fellow of Japan  Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS), the Society of Biologists UK (FSB) and African Scientific Institute (FASI). He is also a member of Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) , member Kenya National Academy of Science (MKNAS) and the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Alumni, USA. He has published more than 100 papers in international journals, scientific conference and symposia proceedings and national newspapers and magazines. He is also an Editorial Board member of six International refereed journals.

Prof Ratemo Waya Michieka

A member of staff of the University of Nairobi, he specialises in agriculture (weed science) and environmental sciences. Prof Michieka obtained his BSc, MA, and PhD degrees in weed science and environment from Rutgers University, USA. He went for a postdoctoral training from International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) prior to his appointment to the University of Nairobi as a lecturer in 1980. He later became the Founding Vice- Chancellor of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, where he served for 13 years. Prof Michieka was later appointed the Director-General of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), where he articulated the dangers of environmental pollution and natural resources degradation.

He was responsible for the production of Kenya’s first report on the State of our Environment. He has done extensive research in weed science, with special emphasis on appropriate management systems. His studies in the testing of herbicides assisted in the recommendations of various weed control methods to farmers in East Africa and beyond. Prof Michieka is a strong proponent of using safe pest control management systems to avoid environmental pollution.

He is a member of several national and international organisations and has received many awards locally and internationally. Prof Michieka has published widely in local and international journals, has written two books, one on the taxonomy of the East African weeds which is translated in Kiswahili and the other is his autobiography. He is a strong advocate of Kenya’s environmental conservation. As a scholar, Prof Michieka has made some impact to young scientists on the promotion of science and technology locally and in East Africa. He is a distinguished scholar and recipient of many awards for his exemplary services to society. Prof Michieka is a Fellow and Honorary Secretary of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences.

Prof Richard Kiprono Mibei

He is the Moi University Vice-Chancellor and a renowned authority on fungal systematic, fungal taxonomy and biodiversity conservation. He has discovered more than 120 species of fungi. Prof Mibei has more than 50 publications and conference papers to his credit. He has supervised numerous masters of science and PhD students. He is currently supervising two PhD students. He has received several fellowships, including DAAD senior research fellow; Darwin Fellow and UNESCO Fellowship. He is a member of several professional organisations, which include the British Mycological Society (BMS); Committee on Biodiversity and Conservation; and International Association for Plant Taxonomy.

He is a World Innovation Foundation fellow. Prof Mibei taught at the University of Nairobi from 1986 to 2004, where he rose to chair the Department of Botany and later head the Chiromo Campus. He later moved to Maseno University as the deputy Vice-Chancellor (administration and finance). He became Moi University VC in 2006. He obtained his BA in biology from Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, N.C in the US, MSc in biology from Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C, MSc in plant pathology and a doctorate in agricultural education and extension from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater. He obtained a PhD in mycology from the University of Nairobi. Prof Mibei was born on December 12, 1951, at Nyambugo, Sigor North Location, Bomet District. He is married with two children.

Prof Olive M. Mugenda

The Vice-Chancellor of Kenyatta University (KU) has had an illustrious career at the university, where she has been head of department, dean of faculty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and now the first woman Vice-Chancellor of a public university in the East Africa region. Prof Mugenda has, over the years, built an international reputation as a university teacher and researcher. She obtained a Bachelor of Education from the University of Nairobi and later masters and PhD degrees in Family Studies and Consumer Economics from Iowa State University. She has supervised numerous Masters and PhD theses and won several research grants and served as technical adviser and resource person to numerous workshops in and outside Africa.

Among the numerous researches she has carried out, perhaps the current one on Improving the Performance of Girls in Science and Mathematics in Secondary Schools serves as a model project that has been nominated for a Commonwealth Education award. Prof Mugenda has published numerous scholarly papers and books and she has received several scholarly awards. She serves on the boards of a number of local, continental and global organisations, including Nation Media Group and the Association of African Universities. Internationally, she is the vice-president of the Association of Universities.

Prof Calestous Juma

He is an internationally recognised authority in the application of science and technology to sustainable development worldwide. He is professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology and Globalisation Project at Harvard Kennedy School. Prof Juma directs the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and serves as faculty chair of innovation for economic development executive programme.  He is a former Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and founding director of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi.

Prof Juma was the Chancellor of the University of Guyana and has been elected to several scientific academies, including the Royal Society of London, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and the African Academy of Sciences. He has won several international awards for his work on sustainable development. He holds a doctorate in science and technology policy studies and has written widely on science, technology, and environment. Prof Juma serves on the boards of several international bodies and is editor of the International Journal of Technology and Globalisation and International Journal of Biotechnology. His latest book, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, was published by Oxford University Press in 2011. He teaches graduate courses on “Innovation, Development and Globalisation” and “Technology and Sustainability” and an undergraduate seminar on “Biotechnology, Sustainability and Public Policy”. He is currently working on a book on resistance to new technologies.

Prof Fredrick Ngawo Onyango

Born in 1943 in Migori County, the former Maseno University Vice Chancellor is hailed as an academic giant and a maverick administrator, who had a firm belief in the role of technology in life. This zeal saw him introduce Information Technology as a compulsory unit in Maseno University. Prof Onyango attended the University of Uppsala in Sweden for his Bachelor of Science and later a Masters in Science (Physics) at the same institution. In 1974, he earned his PhD (Solid State Physics) from the University of London in the UK. He also held numerous certifications in university management. In his professional life, he has lectured in the University of Nairobi as well as the University of Dar es Salaam.

Prof Onyango who also served as the editor-in-chief at the Kenya National Academy of Sciences was the first Kenyan scientist to be elected an Associate of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) by the centre’s Scientific Council. He also published many scientific research papers, in particular those in the field of new and renewable sources of energy.

Prof Mabel Imbuga

She is the Vice Chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and a founder member of African Women in Science and Engineering. Prof Imbuga attained her PhD, masters (both in biochemistry) and bachelors in science degrees from the University of Nairobi. She also holds an Executive MBA (Strategic Management) degree from Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI) and a post-doctoral Fellowship with International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE). She has more than 30 years ofworking experience in education. She has extensive knowledge and demonstrable experience in managing academic programmes, student’s affairs, academic support services, staff recruitment, appraisals, student exchange programmes and overall office administration. S

he is a member of various organisations, which include Global Consortium of Higher Education and Research for Agriculture, International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists, Biochemical Society of Kenya, Natural Products Research network for Eastern and Central Africa, African Women in Science and Engineering,, Female Education in Mathematics and Science in Africa, Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and the Microbiology Society of Kenya. She also sits on the board of the National Gender Consultation Committee.

Prof Leah Marangu

She bears the distinction of being the first woman in East Africa to be named a full professor, while Wangari Maathai is renowned as Kenya’s first female professor. Prof Marangu is also the first Kenyan woman to serve at the helm of a university, following her appointment in 1996 as the Vice-Chancellor of Africa Nazarene University (ANU), a position she holds to date. She has laid a strong foundation for a lasting legacy of provision of quality higher education to Kenyans, and especially Kenyan women. Through links with her alma mater, Prof Marangu has enabled several of her female students at Kenyatta University to pursue higher degrees at Iowa State University.

She has received several awards in recognition of her efforts to improve the quality of education in Kenya. In 2001, she received the Iowa State University Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest alumni award, in honour of her pace setting achievements in education. Prof Marangu received her MSc degree in Family Environment and PhD in Home Economics in 1975 from Iowa State University. She went on to teach in several universities in the United States as a visiting professor and then returned to Kenya in 1977. She taught Home Economics at Kenyatta University (KU), rising to become the head of the Department of Home Economics in 1988, the year she was appointed a full professor. The following year, she won a Fulbright Scholarship which saw her return to the US as a visiting international professor until 1995.

Prof Norah Olembo

She is the executive director of African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum (ABSF). She holds a post-doctoral degree in molecular biology from Courthould Institute (University of London), a post-graduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Nairobi (UoN), masters degree in zoology from UoN, Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, zoology and botany from the same university. She also holds an advanced level certificate in chemistry, biology and physics from Mount School in New York. Prof Olembo received professional certificate from World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) training in insect growth, development and behaviour, insect endocrinology from International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Kenya, and Recombinant DNA techniques from Courthould Institute in the UK.

Before her appointment at ABSF, Prof Olembo served as an Associate professor of biochemistry at the UoN. She also served as the managing director of Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), the director of the Kenya Industrial Property Office (KIPO) in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and chaired the Department of Biochemistry at the UoN. Prior to that, Professor Norah Olembo served as a consultant for Kenya Non-Governmental Organisations Committee for the 1995 United Nations End of Decade Women Conference. She has also been a senior lecturer at the UoN. Prof Olembo has undertaken many assignments and published in scientific journals and proceedings. She is also the chairperson, member and trustee in many public service organisations and societies in Kenya and other African countries.

Prof Waceke Wanjohi

She is the Dean and Professor of Plant Nematology at School of Agriculture and Enterprise Development at Kenyatta University. She is a university don with immense knowledge in plant nematology and extensive experience in research, teaching, networking and graduate training. For the more than two decades Prof Waceke has taught nematology in universities, developed academic programmes and labs, and published internationally, she has also established and led projects like the Nematology Initiative of East and Southern Africa (NIESA). NIESA is improving crop yields in smallholder farming systems in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe by effectively using environmental friendly strategies to control the worms. In 2011, she was the only speaker from Africa at the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin, Germany, held every November 9. World class researchers present their “ideas that could dramatically transform life worldwide” to an exclusive audience from science, business, politics, culture and society.

Prof Wanjohi spoke on the benefits of her approach, that allows less pesticide use and misuse, reduces food risks and environmental damages, and increases the food harvest and ensures food security. Further on the research front, Prof Wanjohi has described a new nematode species, zeldia spannata that gives an indication of how healthy the soil environment is. She has developed two training manuals, edited the Journal of Tropical Microbiology and Biotechnology and is a member of the governing council of the Kenya National Academy of Science, a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow (USA) and an elected fellow of the Society of Biology (UK). In her support for women in agriculture, she was been appointed an African Women in Agriculture and Research Development (AWARD) for two years in 2011.

Prof Jesse Machuka

He heads the Level II Biosafety Plant Transformation Laboratory at Kenyatta University which trains graduate students from African countries in crop biotechnology, with focus on: Alleviating drought stress in maize and sweet potato, funded by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA); Witchweed Striga (in partnership with Neelima Sinha at University of California, Davis); and Maize streak virus disease (in partnership with Linda Hanley-Bowdoin at North Carolina State University). From May 2009, he has been working to enhance lysine content in maize (in partnership with Joachim Messing at Rutgers University). Prof Machuka has worked at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Dr Margaret Karembu

She is a senior environmental management specialist with considerable experience in technology transfer and specifically agricultural biotechnology applications in Africa. She is the director of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) Africenter involved in knowledge sharing on crop biotechnology and facilitating development of policies for the transfer of agri-biotechnologies from (and among) industrial and developing countries. This includes strengthening South-South and public-private sector cooperation. Dr Karembu has wide experience in participatory training and technology diffusion research on small-scale agriculture and gender dimensions of agri-biotechnologies. One such project is the evaluation and transfer of tissue culture banana technology in East Africa where more than 5,000 farmers have benefited. In December, 2000, this project won First Research Medal in the Global Development Network (GDN) awards for ‘Science and Technology for Development’ sponsored by the Government of Japan and the World Bank.

A science-communications educator, Dr Karembu has a PhD in Environmental Science Education from Kenyatta University, Kenya, where she taught for more than 10 years prior to joining ISAAA. She also coordinates the Africa-based Biotechnology Information Centres (BICs) whose East and Central Africa offices are in Kenya, Egypt for the Arab-speaking countries and Burkina Faso/Mali for Francophone Africa. Dr Karembu chairs the Kenya chapter of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, a collaborative initiative between ISAAA and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation that aims to strengthen inter-institutional collaboration and linkages among key agri-biotech players in Africa. She and Dr Wambui Kiai have authored Understanding Environmental Communication and made contributions to several international journal papers, book chapters, and policy briefs on agricultural biotechnology.

Dr Joseph Kamau

He is a pioneer cassava breeder in Kenya whose premier programme in the country was in 2007. The project involved the development of virus resistant, fast growing, high-yielding varieties that farmers liked for their cooking qualities. Dr Kamau has developed early maturing cassava varieties with acceptable agronomic and end-user preferences for Eastern (Machakos, Makueni, Mwingi and Kitui Counties), Central (Kiambu, Muranga, Nyeri and Kirinyaga Counties), Western and the Coast. In addition to early maturity, the varieties have resistance to cassava mosaic disease and high dry matter which makes it good for food and industrial use.

In collaboration with other scientists, he released three early maturing cassava hybrid varieties ( KME 2, KME 3, KME 4) and four orange fresh sweetpotato clones (KSP0154, KSP0072, KSP0047, KSP 0084) in 2010. Earlier, Dr Kamau and his team had released and recommended to farmers 10 cassava varieties for production in the semi-arid and coffee areas. The varieties are 990011, 990012, 990013, 990014, 990056, 990067, 990072, 990127, 990130 and 990181. Dr Kamau and his team plan to initiate seed multiplication of the new cassava varieties they have released to ensure that farmers have enough planting material.

He holds a PhD degree in plant breeding from South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal, a masters (science) degree in plant breeding from the University of Wales and a bachelors degree in science from the University of Nairobi. The programme at KwaZulu-Natal Africa’s Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) aims at mitigating unprecedented brain drain that has resulted in a declining number of scientists available for crop breeding across Africa. He is widely published in the field of cassava and has handled numerous professional assignments.