Limuru Girls High School (1999-2002), Kenyatta University (2004-2008) and Open University (2010-currently)
BSc in Biotechnology
International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) Kenya and Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme.
PhD student in molecular biology and parasitology
KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme.
Favourite thing to do in my job: Exploring, reading and discovering and growing cells and parasites.
Looking at two malaria parasite genes
I work on the most lethal malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum which causes most of the disease and death in humans, especially children. I study two gene families in the parasites that might be important for growth and survival of the parasites. The genes code for proteins that are displayed on red cell that the parasite infects. . These proteins are seen by the human immune system and therefore make the infected red cell a target for destruction by our immunity. My specific area is whether or not these proteins from the two gene families are important for children who are developing immunity to malaria. I use molecular tools like DNA analysis by sequencing, cloning and transfection. Here is what DNA looks like immobilised in a gel matrix under UV light and . I enjoy culturing malaria parasites in human blood cells and watching them grow from one stage to the next under a microscope. I also enjoy analysing gene sequences for example drawing trees (phylogenetics) to show how sequences are related .
My Typical Day
Working in the lab doing experiments or on the desk analysing data, writing or preparing presentations.
Morning wake up at about 6.30am, some mild exercise like skips or yoga, shower and get ready for the day. Breakfast for me and my cat at 7.30am. Get to work at about 8.30am. Read journal papers till 10am. Check emails and social media till 11am. Enter into lab, change culture media if I have growing parasites, do molecular work, DNA or RNA extraction/ PCR/ cloning/ sequencing, etc. 11-1pm, and 2pm-5pm. go to desk for analysis or reading for about an hour. Go jogging or aerobics at 6pm-7pm. come back to lab or desk for late evening work. Go home at 9-10pm. Feed me and the cat. Wind down with a good book or film. Some days are more hectic and the day starts from 5am and ends at 3am! Some very easy especially Fridays when i like to leave work at 5pm, go running and have a good night out.
What I'd do with the money
School visit to our lab.
We have an ongoing school engagement program and i would support a group of high school students to come and have a day in our labs to see a typical day in a research lab and maybe have a chat over lunch with some of the scientist.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Energetic, enthusiastic and great fun.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Biology and math
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes. I “borrowed” batteries from the physics lab to power my radio (i love music).
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
One of those Nat geo film makers in the wild with animals.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Elani and Just a band from Kenya, Diamond from Tanzania, and Michael Jackson, U2, Madonna, Coldplay,
What's your favourite food?
I love cake. chocolate cheese cake.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Paragliding and jet skiing
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To get selected for space mission, be a billionaire, eat without gaining weight.
Tell us a joke.
What do you call a deer with one eye? No-eye-deer (pronounced no idea)