Research Partners

image Name Website Link Associate Project
Prof Andrew Makanya

1. Prof. John Maina, University of Johannesburg, SA.
2. Prof. Valentin Djonov, University of Berne, Switzerland.
3. Prof. Gorazard Stokin, Anna University, Czech Republic.
4. Dr. Lolo Mokae, University of Johannesburg, SA.

Toxicological analysis

UoN Structure of the Olfactory Mucosa in the Rufous Sengi Overview

Dr. Boniface M. Kavoi

Sengis (order Macroscelidea) belong to the superorder Afrotheria, a group of placental mammals whose
ancestral lineage can be traced to ~11 MYA and which share similar evolutionary origin with elephants,
hyraxes, dugongs, sea cows, aardvarks, golden moles and tenrecs. Sengis create and maintain a
complex olfaction-dependent trail system that enables them to escape predators and to exhibit social
monogamy. In the literature, it is evident that earlier authors paid little attention in understanding how
evolutionary dynamics affect olfactory system architecture and how this influences neural mechanisms
and behavior in Afrotheria. In this study therefore, the gross morphometric features of the olfactory
brain were examined in order to understand how dietary, ecological and evolutionary factors shape the
anatomical design of the nose-to-brain olfactory pathway in this species.

NRFK Antiulcerogenic effects of selected African nightshades genotypes on the rat stomach Overview

Dr. Pauline M. Mureithi

Gastric ulceration is a common cause of morbidity and mortality. Conventional drugs used to manage
this condition include prostaglandin analogues, proton pump inhibitors and antacids. The widespread
use of medicinal plants in managing ailments has been linked to their ease of accessibility and the
common belief that they are less toxic than allopathic drugs. Solanum nigrum, whose common name is
African night shade, is commonly used as a vegetable and in the treatment for various ailments including
gastric ulcers. However, scientific evidence for use of the genotypes grown and utilized in Kenya in ulcer
management is lacking. This study, therefore, aims at analyzing, through morphologic and morphometric
means, the antiulcerogenic potential of three Solanum nigrum genotypes (S. scabrum, S. sarrachoides
and S. villosum) grown in Kenya in preventing gastric ulcers.

NRFK Analysis of the efficacy and safety of inhaled leaf extracts of Lippia Javanica

Dr. Harriet A. Obela

Analysis of the efficacy and safety of inhaled leaf extracts of Lippia Javanica

Aromatic plants are among the widely used herbal plants. They represent ~10% of the plant kingdom.
Commonly used aromatic plants include wild tea, rosemary, sage, oregano, basil, peppermint and garlic.
These are also used as aroma and flavor-enhancing additives and preservatives. Lippia species are some
of the aromatic plants with the potential to become commercial because of their medicinal properties,
which include management of respiratory conditions including cold, cough, and bronchitis. In Kenya,
rural communities drink decoction of the boiled leaves to treat diseases like malaria and sniff the leaves
after rubbing them between the hands to clear stuffy nose. Lippia japanica has been show to induce
pathologies in the liver, kidneys and the hemopoietic system. However, the impact of this plant on
nervous and reproductive structures has not been elucidated. This project aims to analyze the structural
and functional changes caused by aqueous leaf extracts of Lippia javanica on olfactory and testicular
tissues in adult rabbits.

IDRC From hatch to market. Solar powering women backyard poultry (WBYP) farmers in Kenya and Rwanda as clean energy entrepreneurs in a post Covid World

Dr. Catherine Kaingu

From hatch to market. Solar powering women backyard poultry (WBYP) farmers
in Kenya and Rwanda as clean energy entrepreneurs in a post covid world.

Overview: Women backyard poultry (WBYP) keepers in Kenya and Rwanda face a
triple burden: 1) The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent loss of life, economic
devastation, and social disruption; 2) Gender inequities, burdens associated with paid
and unpaid work, and deeply rooted and restrictive social norms that limit women’s
choices and access to opportunities; and 3) The climate crisis which worsens existing
vulnerabilities and injustices. In Machakos district of Kenya, WBYP keepers consumed
their stock during the pandemic to survive. The remaining birds were decimated by
Newcastle disease due to vaccine inaccessibility. In Rwanda, many WBYP keepers sold
their animals at throwaway prices just to make ends meet. Our project will demonstrate

the importance of women-led innovations in supporting and sustaining a scalable clean
energy WBYP economy. We will generate evidence that empowers women as
entrepreneurs by supporting WBYP farmers to establish solar-powered poultry
hatcheries and livestock
vaccine centers, and to create a women-driven sustainable hatch-to-market distribution
network and business model for WBYP. Through building on a production system that
requires limited time, does not compete for human food resources, and is
environmentally friendly, we will support gender-responsive social, economic and
marketing practices that improve women’s lives while promoting economic growth.

University of Ghana University of Ghana

Boniface M. Kavoi

Gross and histological study of nasal and brain olfactory structures in the grasscutter

The grasscutter is an important source of livelihood particularly in West Africa where there has been, of
late, increased capture and domestication of this animal for meat. This animal is also captured from the
wild, put in cages and bred for research purposes. An understanding of the biology of this species,
particularly with regard to sensory cues, is important for its successful domestication, breeding and
health management. Data are lacking on structure-function aspects of the olfactory system. In this
study therefore, the macro- and microstructure of the grasscutter nasal and brain olfactory components
are examined, both qualitatively and quantitatively.