Nelson Torto, Executive Director

 

Torto is the Executive Director of THE AAS. Under his leadership, the goals of the AAS are to promote partnerships, mobilise the African scientific community, lead science advocacy efforts and ensure research findings are incorporated into policymaking so that science remains at the forefront of the African agenda and is adequately supported to transform people’s lives. 

At the core of his agenda is empathy; the stakeholder has to be part of finding the solution to their challenges. Prior to joining The AAS, Torto was the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation. He has had an illustrious academic and research career and has graduated 19 PhD students during his tenure at the University of Botswana and Rhodes University. He is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, Inaugural Fellow of the Botswana Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK). He is a recipient of the Young Separation Science Award by the American Chemical Society.


Thomas Kariuki, Director of Programmes

Tom Kariuki is the Director of Programmes at The African Academy of Sciences (The AAS) where he leads the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA Platform), which was launched in 2015 by the AAS and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency (now known as the African Union Development Agency).

An internationally recognised immunologist, Kariuki leads the Academy's programmatic activities to accelerate world-class research, foster innovation, and promote scientific leadership on the continent. He oversees the funding of research, development and commercialisation of novel, high-impact STI solutions for the continent, and is cultivating strategic partnerships with academic institutions, governments and industry globally to transform Africa’s future through science-led, knowledge-based economies.Prior to his appointment at The AAS, Kariuki served as Director of the Institute of Primate Research/National Museums of Kenya, a biomedical and conservation biology facility. He has published widely on vaccines and diagnostics development for infectious diseases including schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), malaria and co-infections, and on policy related to biomedical research and funding. He is recipient of several international grants and awards.


Isayvani Naicker, Director of Strategy and Partnerships

PRIOR TO JOINING AAS SHE WORKED AS A CHIEF DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL RESOURCES AT THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY SOUTH AFRICA.

Her current role at the AAS is to nurture strategic partnerships, increase and diversify the number of partners and strengthen engagement with stakeholders in line with the AAS Strategic Plan 2018-2022.   

She previously worked as a Research Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa focusing on environment and sustainable development. She was involved in various policy-making processes in the science, environment and mining fields in post-apartheid South Africa. She was also a Research Associate at the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) at the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Governance at the University of Witwatersrand. She is a member of various international research, science and policy networks. She holds a PhD in Geography (Cambridge) focused on Science Policy, and Master of Science Degrees in Geology (UCT) and Philosophy of Social Sciences (LSE). 


Kevin Marsh, Senior Advisor

Kevin Marsh, AAS Senior Advisor

Marsh is a malariologist who has spent 30 years in Africa conducting research.

He was director of the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, for 25 years until 2014 when he joined the AAS as its senior advisor.

He is a professor of tropical medicine at the University of Oxford and chairs the WHO Malaria Policy Advisor Committee. He is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was awarded the Prince Mahidol prize for medicine in 2010 and the Al Sumait prize for African development in 2015.

Hannah Ngugi, Head of Finance and Grants

NGUGI, HAS OVER 14 YEARS’ EXPERIENCE IN FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION. SHE WAS THE FINANCE OFFICER FOR THE ALLIANCE FOR A GREEN REVOLUTION IN AFRICA (AGRA).

Her role at The AAS is to develop and maintain timely and accurate financial statements and reports, implement and ensure compliance with internal financial and accounting policies and procedures, budget and forecast preparation. Ngugi has a degree in business administration (IBA, Finance) from the United States International University and is a certified public accountant.

 

 


Juliette Mutheu, Head of Communications and PR

Mutheu is The African Academy of Sciences Head of Communications and PR.

She leads the development of an engaging and compelling AAS brand in Africa through developing and implementing a Pan-African communication and marketing strategy that will leverage on the unique strengths of The AAS to achieve Africa’s ambitious targets for research and innovation growth. Previously, she worked as a communication, media and advocacy specialist at PATH providing strategic communication leadership and technical assistance to the Kenyan Ministry of Health, the Management Sciences for Health (MSH) leading deliberate communication initiatives and training to strengthen internal and external communications capacity and at the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) as the Science Communication and Policy specialist involved in designing and implementing a communication and policy dialogue program. Juliette holds a Master’s in Science Communication from Imperial College London and an Honours and bachelor’s in biomedical sciences from Monash University Australia. She has a background in osteoarthritis and malaria research and is a creative at heart passionate about development and science communication in Africa.


Rosemary Akinyi, Head of HR and Operations

Akinyi is an accomplished HR professional with over 15 years of experience in both the INGOs and Corporate sector. She has been responsible for implementing human resource management strategies that enable organizations to recruit, train and retain a high performing and motivated workforce.

Prior to joining The AAS Rosemary has served in various capacities as Human Resources Manager WWF-Kenya, Regional HR Advisor –(Horn East and Central Africa) Oxfam- GB, HR Specialist World Vision International among others. In these capacities, Rosemary was responsible for developing and implementing on-boarding, training and development, performance management, employee retention, benefits management and employee relations policies. She holds an MSc Organizational Development, Bachelors in Commerce (HR) and Higher Diploma in Human Resource Management. She is a Prosci certified change management practitioner and licensed human resources practitioner from the Institute of Human Resource Management in Nairobi Kenya.


Christine Kuto, Legal and Compliance Officer

Kuto is responsible for leading and directing the management of all legal issues involving AAS and has overall responsibility for ensuring that the Academy’s legal risks and compliance requirements are assessed and mitigated appropriately.

Prior to joining The AAS, Christine was General Counsel at Daystar University. She has over 7 years’ experience in the Company Secretarial role and her passion is mainly in corporate governance specifically risk, policies and processes. Other previous experience has been at WFP, Across- South Sudan, Tearfund, St. Paul's University and FOCUS. She holds a Degree in Science (BSc) and a Degree in Law (LLB), is a Certified Secretary and is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries(ICPSK).


Janet Kariuki, Executive Assistant

Kariuki is the Executive Assistant to the AAS’ Executive Director.

A graduate of United States International University, she is responsible for providing efficient and effective administrative support to the Director and The AAS in general. She is currently undertaking her Master’s degree in Human Resource Management. Kariuki serves as the primary contact for the Executive Directors offices and provides technical and logistical support for multiple projects, meetings, conferences, and workshops.

 

 


Elizabeth Marincola, Senior Advisor for Research Communications and Advocacy

Marincola is an international leader in science advocacy, open science, research funding, publishing, communications, education and public engagement. She was CEO of the large open access publisher PLOS, after serving on the PLOS board for a decade.

For The AAS, she founded The AAS Open Research, an innovative, immediate, transparent, peer-reviewed publishing platform. Marincola was President of the Society for Science & the Public, Publisher of Science News magazine, and Executive Director of the American Society for Cell Biology and the Coalition for Life Sciences for 14 years. She served on the first oversight board for PubMed Central, was a member of the founding board of eLife and served as its Chair, has served on numerous US and EU advisory commissions on open science, and is currently on the board of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Humanitarian Health.


Michael Kilpatrick, Senior Advisor

KILPATRICK QUALIFIED IN LONDON WITH A PHD IN NEUROPHYSIOLOGY AND THEN ENTERED THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY AS A RESEARCH SCIENTIST.

This was followed by a career as a management consultant in the life sciences sector. He has extensive experience in successfully delivering complex projects in Sub Saharan Africa.  Following two years as the Operations Director for the Medical Research Council in the Gambia, he relocated to London to be the MRC Operations Director for their units in UK and Africa. Kilpatrick was seconded to the African Academy of Sciences in 2015 to be the senior advisor to the Good Financial Grant Practice Programme.

 


Alphonsus Neba, Programme Manager, DELTAS Africa

A native of Cameroon, Neba is programme manager responsible for the implementation of the Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training, and Science (DELTAS Africa).

Before joining The AAS, Neba was Assistant Director for Research Commercialisation and Technology Transfer, and Acting Assistant Director for Research Funding and Grants Management at the University of Botswana. He holds a PhD in Biotechnology and an MSc in Environmental Biotechnology from South Africa’s Rhodes University; a Master’s in Information Sciences from the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), and a BSc Hons in Microbiology from the University of Lagos. Neba has more than 10 years’ experience in research management, research ethics, grants and contracts administration, research commercialisation, technology transfer and intellectual property management.


Jennnifer Mabuka, Programme Manager, Human Heredity and Health (H3Africa)

Mabuka is Programme Manager for the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) programme of the AAS. She is responsible for the development and management of the H3Africa portfolio of activities and investments.

Prior to joining The AAS, Mabuka spent 16 years doing HIV-1 basic science research. Her research broadly focused on understanding host innate and immune factors that modulate HIV-1 transmission and pathogenesis. She investigated host immune responses in mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 with a focus on breast milk transmission and explored antibody evolution in natural HIV-1 infection with the goal of informing antibody-based vaccine design. Mabuka has published four publications as first author and has contributed to 24 others, each with over 300 citations. She is currently a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle and a 2018 Aspen New Voices Fellow.

 


Allen Mukhwana, Research Systems Manager

Mukhwana joined the AAS as Research Systems Manager in November 2017. She is working with a broad range of partners including researchers, funders, research management professionals and institutions to develop a programme to professionalise research and innovation management in Africa and provide leadership for the transformation of research systems and management.

Prior to joining The AAS, Mukhwana was Centre Manager for the Makerere University/UVRI Infection and Immunity Research Training Programme (MUII-PLUS). She joined MUII-PLUS from the Infectious Diseases Institute, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, where she was Senior Research Administrator and Head of Capacity Building for more than six years. There, she established the research support functions and structures and articulated the governance framework. She is passionate about management of research ecosystems in Africa, from governance and compliance, portfolio tracking, through to dissemination and reporting.


Lillian Mutengu, Community and Public Engagement Manager

Mutengu is responsible for strategic planning and execution of the engagement support programme for grant holders receiving funding through AAS’s programmes.

Mutengu has over 20 years’ community and public engagement and communication experience in biomedical research and sexual reproductive health. Her focus has primarily been on HIV/AIDS, Ebola and adolescent health, establishing programmes and leading teams to identify and execute innovative strategies that support a better understanding of communities and cohorts, and testing candidate vaccines and medical devices in clinical trials. Mutengu has also contributed to policy advocacy, through the development of national and global guidelines including the Good Participatory Practice Guidelines for Biomedical HIV Prevention Research, Guidelines for Conducting Adolescent HIV Sexual & Reproductive Health Research in Kenya, and the Presidential Initiative on AIDS Strategy for Communication to Youth in Uganda (PIASCY).


Judy Omumbo, Programme Manager, Affiliates and Post-doctoral Fellowships

Omumbo joined The AAS in May 2018 as a Programme Manager for the Affiliates and Post-doctoral programmes.

She has over 20 years of experience in epidemiology focusing on research to support malaria control programs, where she focused on developing effective partnerships between researchers and vector-borne disease control programs; emphasizing the use of national data, research, and health information systems for monitoring and evaluation (M&E). She has played a major role in building the capacity of national control programs through curriculum development; providing training of trainers and supporting programs to develop tools to collate, analyze, and display their own data. Judy has worked in the capacity of a consultant and published research in climate, vector-borne diseases, and health, as the head of a policy and practice unit of an international malaria research program, and as director of Public Health M&E for the MEASURE Evaluation PIMA Project. She holds a PhD in Epidemiology and a Master’s in Public Health.


Moses Alobo, Programme Manager, Grand Challenges Africa

Alobo has over 15 years’ experience managing research grants both from the recipient’s and funder’s side.

His last posting was as a key interface between the African research centres and GSK’s Africa NCD Open Lab. He has worked for GSK, Hoffman La Roche and Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. He studied medicine at the University of Nairobi (Kenya) and later Public Health at the University of Birmingham (UK). He has been awarded the Archbishop Desmond Tutu African Leadership fellowship in 2014, the EU Contact Point Network for Young African Scientists Fellowship in 2007 and the British Chevening Scholarship in 2005.