Candidate CV questions (extra)
Makueni Boys School, Kenyatta University, University of Helsinki, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, KU Leuven, Antwerp University, Lund University
MSc. Molecular Biology
US Army Medical Research Unit, International centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Flanders Institute of Biotechnology, Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, Lund University
Lund University, Sweden and KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya.
Favourite thing to do in my job: Goofing around with virus genetic code, using computer programs to pick up patterns that I could use to make a coherent story that could impact public health policy
I am a scientist, currently in my second year of PhD (Systems Virology).
I am in my late twenties and still very curious with how life works, hence my persistence in scientific research. I am into everything: swimming, cycling, racquet sports, running and anything else that takes me outdoors. I love reading, art (I paint, though very seldom) and I spend a lot of time visiting museums and art galleries around the world. I love plants and maintaining a monochrome look (black and white or all black). I cannot dance. I hated how “Game of Thrones” ended, having watched it since I was a teen, Meh!
I obtained my MSc degree in Molecular Biology in Belgium with a thesis focused on cancer research at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN). Here, I investigated the molecular and cellular effects of radiation on cancer cells obtained from breast, prostate and brain tumors. I have since traded that for HIV-1 research.
Growing up, I witnessed the devastation that ensued from the HIV-1 epidemic in Kenya and during my MSc studies, I decided to contribute to HIV-1 research in Africa. My current study utilises HIV genomic sequence data to provide insights into circulating HIV-1 variants, to determine who infects who with and also to determine trends in transmitted drug resistance in well-established at-risk groups cohorts in Kenya.
I wake up to a nice jog or dip in the ocean followed by a cup of coffee, reading news or a book chapter. I am not a morning person so I get to work fairly late. Depending on projects, I am either in the lab extracting virus RNA and converting it to DNA (which is more stable and can be stored for longer compared to RNA) or making computer models to make sense of the sequence data obtained. I am currently writing down my findings so as to communicate them to the wider society. I do take a couple coffee breaks during the day to catch up with other scientists and their projects, attend scientific seminars and journal club presentations.
What I'd do with the money
Engage the community from which samples for my study are obtained
I work with blood plasma from HIV-1 infected individuals and I almost never get to spent time with the patients from which these samples are obtained. With the prize money, I would like to engage these participants more, taking them through the process of what happens to their donated blood sample and why it is important for them to contribute to the scientific research process.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious and easy-going
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
I volunteered to teach English and Biology in a secondary school for disadvantaged girls in Nakuru
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Oh, but many times! Once, for kicking the biggest boy in the entire school! I was the smallest in my class :)
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
Probably a poet! I loved literature, especially poetry. I also read a lot!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Honestly, not sure! I listen to electronic music (EDM). Am I weird?
What's your favourite food?
Chapati ndengu (pojo), anytime. Yummy!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I once kissed a giraffe! I also ran 8 KM in snowy weather, all in a t-shirt!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I feel short! I wish I were taller!
Tell us a joke.