Group Head / PI, University of Oxford
I trained as a veterinary surgeon at the University of Nairobi, Kenya and completed a PhD in the epidemiology of childhood malaria in 2010. I later joined the Jenner Institute where, with support from Wellcome and other funders, I initiated a One Health vaccine programme in which vaccines against Rift Valley Fever and other zoonotic disease indications are co-developed for deployment in humans and the respective animal hosts of infection. Using this approach I have developed a novel chimpanzee adenovirus vectored Rift Valley Fever vaccine that is highly efficacious in multiple target livestock species. The vaccine is just about to enter human phase I clinical trials in the UK and East Africa, and will be evaluated in parallel livestock field trials in Kenya. I also co-lead a similar One Health vaccine project for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) aimed at developing a MERS vaccine for deployment in camels and humans.
More recently I have begun an arbovirus epidemiology programme at the Wellcome Programme in Kenya. My focus is on estimating long term transmission trends and case burden of flaviviruses (e.g. Dengue), alphaviruses (e.g. Chikungunya, Onyong'nyong') and bunyaviruses (e.g. Rift Valley Fever) in coastal Kenya, where recurrent outbreaks of these diseases are known to occur. These studies will inform target product profiles for candidate vaccines against these arboviral threats and underpin the design of clinical trials for vaccine efficacy estimation.