Seku Carol HunjaAg. Director Research, Innovation & Technology

Dr. Hunja is a lecturer in the department of Life Sciences, School of Pure & Applied Sciences. She holds a Bsc. in Biological Sciences degree from the University of Eastern Africa Baraton where she graduated with honors (Magna Cum Laude). She then joined Kenyatta University for a MSc. in Biotechnology and later on pursued a PhD in Cell, Molecular and Population Genetics from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

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. Transforming the traditional cassava production systems into a sustainable food security strategy and value-added industrial products for rural development in the South Eastern Region of Kenya.
  3. Facility for epidemiological profiles of snakebites, antivenom efficacy and their socio-economic impact in three dry regions in Kenya.
  4. Public perception of Genetically Modified (GM) crops in Kenya.
  5. The role of microRNAs (MiRNAs) in breast cancer progression and their potential use as diagnostics.
  6. 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.
  4. 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

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
  2. 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
  3. Kiptoo M, Ng’ang’a ZW, Wali A, Kimatu JN, Hunja CW, Musyoka S, Kisangau P, Cheloti S, Mulwa J (2020). Epidemiological profile of snake bites. Antivenom efficacy and its social-economic impact in the South Eastern Kenya region of Kenya. The National Research Fund (NRF), Kenya – Ksh. 19,987,200
  4. Kimatu JN, Ng’ang’a ZW, Hunja CW, Mwania J, Kasivu G (2020). Transforming the traditional cassava production systems into sustainable food security strategy and value addition industrial products for rural development in the South Eastern region of Kenya. The National Research Fund (NRF), Kenya – Ksh. 19,588,200

Academic Supervision:
PhD Supervision (Ongoing):
Samwel Mugambi - In vivo and in vitro chemotherapeutic effects of Zinc and Selenium from plant extracts of Prunas africana on prostate cancer. University of Embu.
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 2019 – To date: Damaris Mativo – MSc. Animal Science, South Eastern Kenya University - Effect of transportation stress on welfare of indigenous chicken in Machakos County.
  2. January 2019 – To date: Timothy Wambua – MSc. Biotechnology, South Eastern Kenya University – Investigating the anti-bacterial properties of Moringa Olifera.
  3. May 2021 – To date: Sarah Kwamboka – MSc. in Molecular Biology, Masinde Muliro University of Technology - Genetic characterization of Moringa oleifera provenances collected in the Kenyan Coastal region

Publications:

  1. Muli EM, Makokha FW, Lusichi DM, Hunja CW (2020). E-Surveillance for Investigating Capacity of Health Systems to Detect and Control Infectious Diseases of Poverty: A Case of Kitui South Sub-County. IST-Africa 2020 Conference Proceedings Miriam Cunningham and Paul Cunningham (Eds) IST-Africa Institute and IIMC, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-905824-64-9
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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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