Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, Kenya, 2003-2008; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, 2012-2013
BSc Geomatic Engineering; MSc Demography and Health
Kemya Medical Research Institute
Kenya Medical Research Institute
Favourite thing to do in my job: Read what others are doing, and working on taking the next big leap into the unknown!
Study of human social interactions to understand how infections spread.
My interest is in the spreading of communicable infections, particularly respiratory such as pneumonia, and how best we can prevent and control the spread in the human population. Since 2009, my research group and I have been working in a rural coastal community in Kilifi. We give paper diaries to participants and ober 24 hours, they write who they meet, their age, and where they met. From this, we extract data on how many people on average one can meet on a normal day. This data is then used to calculate which age groups (children, adults, parents, etc) have a higher chance of meeting other individuals, and then spreading an infection in case one is circulating in the community. This will make it possible to then investigate how best to introduce control measures against the spread of infections, such as closing schools during flu or measles epidemics, or asking adults to stay out of work and transport systems for certain periods of time.
My Typical Day
Wake up early, prepare for field studies, monitor progress.. and eat in between.
When going to the field to collect data from participants, my day starts as early as 6am. I have to meet my team of research assistants to make sure they have all necessary tools (diaries, pens, fuel for motorbikes, etc). Once they leave for the field, I go through data collected the previous day to ensure that data collected is free of errors. Once in a while, I get phone calls from staff ond research participants who need some clarification on the research procedures. In between, I read scientific materials and books to keep up to date with what other teams in the world are doing, as well as expand my knowledge. I also assist my research team in planning for other studies, attend scientific meetings at work, and think and write new ideas for research as they come to my head.
What I'd do with the money
Buy reference books for my local school and have an open science day with them.
The closest school to where my parents live in called Majaoni Secondary School. I have visited the school before to give motivation and science talks, and also mentor the students through science congress presentation. With the money, I would use a third of it to purchase a few books for the students – a dictionary plus biology, chemistry and physics reference books. I would then use the rest of the money to organize for a science talk day. I would invite a few of my colleagues, visit the school and talk to the students about the importance of science – not only from a health research perspective, but also to enable them understand and attach the necessary importance to life science subjects.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Amicable. Thoughtful. Reliable.
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes. I was humming my favorite tune in class as the class teacher was helping us prepare for our national exams. I was punished for that.
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Prawn in coconut sauce curry
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Cycled offroad 20 kilometres for a charity cause
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Become telepathic. Travel the world for leisure. Own my dream car (Range Rover).
Tell us a joke.
Did you hear the joke about the egg? It cracked laughing.