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Professor Laila Abubakar has an academic and professional background in biochemistry and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry. Her research interests include molecular basis of vector-parasite interactions and bio-prospecting in marine and fresh water environments.

Prof. Abubakar is an active researcher, and has won several research grants and awards. This led to her being accorded the University of Nairobi Deans’ award for scholarship and research in 2011/2012.  Between 1998-2002 while at the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), she was involved in unraveling the mystery of why only tsetse flies and not other blood sucking insects transmit African Trypanosomiasis. She isolated and characterized a lectizyme (a protein with lectin and protease activity) that was involved in the establishment of trypanosome infections in tsetse midguts. As a result, she was awarded 1st prize at the XII Molecular Parasitology Conference held at Woodshole Oceanographic Institute, USA and 1st Prize ICIPE Governing Council Research Award in 2002.

In 2003-2007, Prof. Abubakar and her colleagues competitively won the Sida/ SAREC Lake Victoria Research (VicRes) Initiative grant to design systems and evaluate the potential of wetlands-based aquaculture to generate wealth in the Lake Victoria basin. The findings of this study were later adopted by the Kenya Government under the Economic Stimulus Programme. More recently, Prof. Abubakar has developed a special interest in assessing the potential of microalgae for feedstock and bio-fuel in Kenya and subsequently won the 2nd Prize for research dissemination of the theme “Energy, Water and Climate Change” during the 4th National Council of Science & Technology National Conference.

She has maintained an active academic and professional link with several universities and organizations in the region. She has successfully supervised and examined over 20 postgraduate students and published several papers in refereed journals. Special appointments include acting as External Examiner, member of the implementation team for Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa Network, Co Chair of Africa Nutritional Sciences Research Consortium on Ph.D Training, member of the National Steering Committee on Fisheries Policy & Legal Framework Review by the Ministry of Fisheries, member of Innovation Fund Committee for Agriculture and Agri-business under the Agricultural Sector Coordination Unit (ASCU), among others.

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