PAUSTI Scholar Emerges Best at the 8th KASH Conference

Noah Machuki, a PAUSTI Scholar pursuing MSc. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, has bagged a recognition as the best oral presenter in Malaria and Vector control during the 8th Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Annual Scientific Health (KASH) Conference, 2018. The recognition is awarded to young scientists who demonstrate mastery of knowledge in their respective fields as well as ability to communicate science.

The award affirms PAUSTI’s commitment to produce competitive graduates who could provide sustainable solutions to Africa’s development challenges. The 2018 edition of the KASH annual conference was held on February 14-16, 2018 in Nairobi.

Noah (left), receives the award certificate from Dr. Kevin M. De Cock, Director, CDC Kenya (centre), and Dr. Yeri Kombe, Director KEMRI.

Noah has research interests in molecular parasitology, with a bias to antimalarial drug development. His studies are informed by the fact that the current antimalarial drugs are rapidly losing efficacy thus the need to develop new and rational drugs.

In his quest to validate the malaria parasite enzymes as potential drug targets (with guidance from his Principal Investigators; Prof Gabriel Magoma and Dr. Daniel Kiboi), he has established a research collaboration with the PlasmoGEM team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK. The partnership allows him to utilize PlasmoGEM gene modification resources at the Institute for targeted manipulation of the rodent malaria parasite genome, Plasmodium berghei.

The research based at the Innovation Centre for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (iCMoB), a sub-taskforce under the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project and KEMRI; marks the first ever collaboration between Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and PAUSTI/JKUAT.

Noah displays the award certificate at the conference shortly after award

Besides the use of PlasmoGEM resources, Noah and his principal investigators have interest in introducing the use of CRISPR/Cas9 system in their gene modification studies.

Through the research funded by the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project through iCMoB, and PAUSTI, Noah hopes to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly Goal 3 (Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages); by reducing the burden of Malaria in Africa.