BecA-ILRI Hub welcomes new staff

The BecA-ILRI Hub is delighted to welcome five new team members. sita.jpgDr. Sita Ghimire joins the BecA-ILRI Hub as Senior Scientist for the Swedish funded “Climate-smart Brachiaria grasses for improving livestock production in East Africa” program.

Born and raised in a farming family from the western hills of Nepal, Dr Ghimire holds a B.Sc. in Agricultural Sciences from the Tribhuvan University, Nepal; a M.Sc. in Applied Plant Sciences from the University of London, United Kingdom; and a Ph.D. in Mycology from the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

As a plant pathologist at the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Dr. Ghimire was responsible for conducting need based agricultural research to generate technologies for subsistence and semi-commercial farmers of western Nepal, implementing outreach research activities and training farmers and extension officials on contemporary crop protection technologies. Over the past six years, his research has focused on the exploration and use of plant associated beneficial microbes (endophytic fungi and bacteria) to enhance productivity, drought tolerance, disease resistance and other fitness characteristics in staple food crops and bioenergy crops.

monday.jpgDr Monday Ahonsi joined the BecA-ILRI Hub on 1 June 2013 as the Program Coordinator for the Swedish funded “Climate-smart Brachiaria grasses for improving livestock production in East Africa” program. As program coordinator, he will oversee and coordinate the implementation of the program and play a key role in resource mobilization to expand the Bracharia grasses program. Dr Ahonsi will also contribute to the development and implementation of other crop research programs and capacity building activities in the area of crop research.

Prior to joining the BecA-ILRI Hub, Dr Ahonsi worked as a postdoctoral Plant Pathologist in Switzerland, Japan, and the United States.  He holds an MSc and PhD in Crop Protection from Ahmadu Bello University Nigeria, BSc (Hons) in Botany from the University of Benin.  He is completing an MSc in Seed Technology and Business from Iowa State University.

Dr Ahonsi was a research fellow at the Africa Rice-African Development Bank and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, where he worked as Consultant Research Scientist. He has lectured in Plant Pathology and Bacteriology of Agriculture at the University of Abeokuta, Nigeria.

leah.jpgLeah Kago has joined the BecA-ILRI Hub as a Research Technician in the Swedish funded ‘Climate-smart Brachiaria grasses for improving livestock production in East Africa’ project. She will be providing technical support in endophytes molecular work, tissue culture, genotyping, diagnostics and data analysis in collaboration with the plant pathologist.

  Leah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry/Biochemistry from the University of Nairobi and a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. She has previously worked in the floriculture industry at Dudutech and Finlays Horticulture as a microbiologist and has hands-on experience in molecular work, protein engineering and their characterization.

robert.jpgRobert Ngeno joins BecA-ILRI Hub as Analytical Chemist for the mycotoxins and nutrition laboratory platform. He holds an MSc in Analytical Chemistry and BSc in Chemistry (major) and Botany, both from Egerton University, Kenya. His areas of focus are in chemistry of soils, plant nutrition and environmental contamination. He has over five years’ experience working full time in service and research-based analytical chemistry laboratories.

Prior to joining the BecA-ILRI Hub, Ngeno worked with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service as analytical chemist, at the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya as a research officer/chemist and at the Egerton University as a teaching assistant.

Ngeno possesses good knowledge in the principles and operations of various analytical instruments analytical method development and data analysis. He is also knowledgeable on aspects of food safety management systems and brings with him much expertise in aspects related to analysis of mycotoxins, nutritional elements and pesticide residues in environmental matrices, food and feeds.

warwick.jpgWarwick Turner will be working at BecA-ILRI Hub as an Analytical Chemist for the next six months supporting the BecA-CSIRO aflatoxin project on field trial analysis.

Turner graduated from Melbourne University (Australia) with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chemistry) in 1987.  Since then he has worked as an Analytical Chemist in both public and private organizations.  He has spent the majority of his career testing food grade samples looking for residues of pesticides, antibiotics and natural toxins.



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