School of pure and applied sciences

Lecturer, Department of Life Sciences. Specialization area isGenetics and Biotechnology.Research Interests: Molecular and population genetics and Biotechnology.Has 6 years’ experience working in higher education.

Degrees Awarded:

  • Bsc. in Biological Sciences degree from the University of Eastern Africa Baraton
  • Kenyatta University - MSc. in Biotechnology
  • PhD in Cell, Molecular and Population Genetics from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

Current Professional/Scientific Interests, Memberships, and Activities:

Research Interests:

Dr. Hunja is currently working on the following:

  1. The potential use of Moringa Olifera in water purification where the antimicrobial and coagulant properties of the plant will be investigated.
  2. The association of pneumonia and malnutrition in Kitui County. 
  3. Capacity of health facilities in Kitui County to cope with the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases especially during epidemics. This study involves mapping of the existing health facilities and reporting on the human and infrastructural capacity of these health facilities.
  4. The role of microRNAs (MiRNAs) in breast cancer progression and their potential use as diagnostics.
  5. The use of chemical markers such as neurotransmitters to study stress in domestic animals.

Grants:
Completed Research Projects:

  1. Culleton R, Hunja CW. (2014). The protective effect of a Toll like receptor 2 (TLR2) agonist against malaria parasite development in the liver. The Goho Life Sciences Research Grant administered by the Malaria Unit University of Nagasaki, Japan) - JPY 5,400,000
  2. Hunja CW, Culleton R, Aman R, Kaneko A (2014). Towards malaria elimination in the Lake Victoria islands.” Supplementary research grant (SRG) from CNHR. Amount: $35,000
  3. Hunja CW, Culleton R, Aman R, Kaneko A (2012). Towards malaria elimination in the Lake Victoria islands. The research career development grant (RCDG) administered by the Consortium of National Health Research (CNHR), Kenya. Amount: $50,000.

Ongoing:

  1. Kitheka UK, Muluvi GM, Hunja CW, Kimatu J, Mutiso F, Mutati K, Ndufa J (2017). Development of Moringa olifera for improved health, nutrition and household water purification. The National Research Fund (NRF), Kenya. SEKU – Ksh. 15 Million
    Makokha F, Gaginya S, Omuse G, Hunja CW, Jeza V, Wachira D, Menya D, Nassir A (2017). Genomic Approaches for Understanding Breast Cancer Progression in Kenyan Patients. The National Research Fund (NRF), Kenya. Mount Kenya University (MKU) – Ksh. 11 Million
  2. Hunja CW, Makokha F (2015): Investigating the health system’s capacity of Kitui County in Kenya to detect and control infectious diseases of poverty. Joint AFRO/TDR small grants Scheme for implementation research in infectious diseases of poverty. SEKU, Kitui - $15,000

Academic Supervision:

PhD Supervision (Ongoing):

September 2015 – To Date: Gabriel Otieno Ngonga – PhD. Public Health, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science & Technology – HIV of drug resistance among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Malindi Sub-County, Kenya – (Received sponsorship from NACOSTI, Kenya).

MSc. Supervision:

Completed
September 2013 - To date: Felix Mulenge - MSc. Molecular Biology & Bioinformatics, JKUAT – Analysis of microsatellites in P. falciparum to understand their migratory patterns in the Lake Victoria islands, Kenya.

Ongoing:

  1. January, 2017 – To date: Allan Oloo Odhiambo – MSc. Epidemiology, South Eastern Kenya University – Epidemiological assessment of Pneumonia and Malnourishment in children in Kitui County.
  2. January 2019 – To date: Damaris Mativo – MSc. Animal Science, South Eastern Kenya University - Effect of transportation stress on welfare of indigenous chicken in Machakos County.
  3. January 2019 – To date: Timothy Wambua – MSc. Biotechnology, South Eastern Kenya University – Investigating the anti-bacterial properties of Moringa Olifera.

Research, Scholarly, Professional and Scientific Activities

  1. Medard E, Hunja C, Yuka A, Yohei H, Abkallo H, Weiguang Z, David J, Brendon C, Culleton R (2018). The Toll-Like Receptor 2 agonist PEG-Pam2Cys as an immunochemoprophylactic and immunochemotherapeutic against the liver and transmission stages of malaria parasites. International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance: IJPDDR_2018_63_R1
  2. Waitumbi J, Kifude C, Hunja CW, Ogutu B (2018). Females of HbAS Genotype Have Reduced Concentration of the Malaria Protective Deoxyhemoglobin S than Males. Plos One 13 (9), e0203455
  3. Kitawi RC, Hunja CW, Aman R, Ogutu BR, Muigai AW, Kokwaro GO, Ochieng W (2017). Partial HIV C2V3 envelope sequence analysis reveals association of coreceptor tropism, envelope glycosylation and viral genotypic variability among Kenyan patients on HAART. Journal of Virology, 4(1):29.
  4. Mulenge FM, Hunja CW, Magiri E, Culleton R, Kaneko A, Aman RA (2016). Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Plasmodium falciparum in Lake Victoria Islands, A Region of Intense Transmission. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 16-0383.
  5. Toshihiro Mita, Richard Culleton, Nobuyuki Takahashi, Masatoshi Nakamura, Takahiro Tsukahara, Carol W. Hunja , Zin Zayar Win, Aung S. Marma, Lek Dysoley, Mathieu Ndounga, Mawuli Dzodzomenyo, Willis S. Akhwale, Jun Kobayashi, Haruki Uemura, Akira Kaneko, Francis Hombhanje, Marcelo U. Ferreira, Hiroyuki Endo, Jun Ohashi (2016). Baseline polymorphisms of artemisinin-resistant marker, Pfkelch13-propeller, in geographically widespread Plasmodium falciparum parasite populations: genotyping of archive blood samples. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 60:3340 –3347 doi:10.1128/AAC.02370-15
  6. Ngonga OG, Hunja C, Oman S, Lwembe RM (2016). Predisposing factors for HIV infection among injecting drug users in Malindi Sub-County, Kenya. International Journal of Health Sciences and Research 6(1): 417-423
  7. Hunja CW, Unger H, Ferreira PE, Lumsden R, Morris S, Aman R, Alexander C, Mita T, Culleton R (2013). Travellers as Sentinels: Assaying the worldwide distribution of polymorphisms associated with ACT resistance in Plasmodium falciparum using malaria cases imported into Scotland. Intern. Journ.Parasitol http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020751913001811
  8. John N. Waitumbi, Samuel B. Anyona, Carol W. Hunja, Carolyne M. Kifude, Mark E. Polhemus, Douglas S. Walsh, Chris F. Ockenhouse, D. Gray Heppner, Jr, Amanda Leach, Marc Lievens, W. Ripley Ballou, Joe D. Cohen, Colin J. Sutherland (2009). Impact of RTS, S/AS02A and RTS, S/AS01B on Genotypes of P. falciparum in Adults Participating in a Malaria Vaccine Clinical Trial. Plos one 4(11):1 – 8

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