Owino Barrack Omondi

Wellcome Trust fellowship student

I obtained an undergraduate degree in (BSc) Biochemistry at University of Kabianga, Kericho, Kenya in 2015. After that, I spent one year as a teacher of Biology and Chemistry before joining the International centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), through the Consortium for National Health Research (CNHR), as a research intern. While at ICIPE, I was working on a project ‘Risk determinants of Leishmania occurrence in Kenya’ under the supervision of Dr. Damaris Matoke-Muhia and mentorship of Dr. Daniel Masiga.

My contributions to this project involved molecular vector species and blood meal source identifications as well as parasite genotyping. Other skills acquired during this internship included; science communication, leadership, organizational, project management, grant application and peer learning.

My research work during the 30 months Wellcome Trust Fellowship will be on ‘Epidemiological factors associated with cutaneous leishmaniasis transmission in Gilgil, Nakuru county, Kenya”, with a primary focus on examining sand fly species from endemic villages in Gilgil with potential in transmitting cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) parasites, parasite genotyping and evaluating exposures to sand fly bites and the associated risk factors. I am supervised by Dr. Damaris Matoke-Muhia of ICIPE (Kenya) and Dr. Alvaro Acosta-Serrano of LSTM (UK) with mentorship from Dr. Daniel Masiga of ICIPE.

For my master’s dissertation, I will be working on a project titled “Sand fly diversity, host preference and infection rates of cutaneous leishmaniasis vectors in Gilgil, Nakuru County, Kenya”