Scholar in bid to solve Plant Bacteria problems

AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project is a Joint Initiative involving JKUAT, PAUSTI and JICA.  In line with one of the project’s goals, to develop human resources for industry development in the area of Science, Technology and Innovation, the project undertakes long term training for JKUAT staff in Japanese universities, through the JICA long term PhD fellowships. The project was a response to the recognition that scientific and technological knowledge was crucial to socio-economic transformation of African economies.

Mr. Martin Mburu, a Research Fellow in AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project, had a chance to talk with Mr. Geoffrey Sing’ombe, a beneficiary of JICA long term training in Japan in the field of Plant Pathology, on his experiences in Japan and the progress towards his PhD work in Okayama University.

Mr. Mburu: What motivated you to study a PhD?

Mr. Sing’ombe: The reason for studying PhD was to enhance my capacity to solve challenges of food security especially plant diseases.

Why did you decide to apply for PHD program in Japan?

I chose to study in Japan because I believed that they have cutting edge technology especially in plant disease and biotechnology that will position me better in identification, diagnosis and management of plant diseases.

How do you find studying in Okayama University? How is it different from studying in Kenya? (In terms of school environment, teaching method, etc.)

Studying in Japan has enhanced my research skills as I have learnt new techniques as research here is intense. It has also given me an opportunity to interact with top notch scientists in the field of genetic engineering and plant pathology. Besides, the study here is by doing rather than the mostly theoretical in our Kenyan system.

What is your research on? How is the progress?

My research is identification of compounds that can control plant bacteria. Plant bacteria such as bacteria wilt greatly affect tomato production hence the reason for my study. We believe that our compounds can be potential bactericides that will control the disease. I can say that the progress of my research is fine so far.

What is your goal after completing your PHD program? 

After completion of my study, I intend to use the skills so far learnt in tackling plant pathogens and develop more products that can control the diseases.

Mr. Sing’ombe updates the Chief Advisor, Prof. Tsunoda, on his studies progress