Assistant Research Officer at KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP)

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  • Company: KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP)
  • Location: Kenya
  • State: Kilifi
  • Job type: Full-Time
  • Job category: Data Science / Research Jobs in Kenya
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Job Description
The KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) is based within the KEMRI Centre for Geographic Medical Research – (Coast). Our core activities are funded by the Wellcome Trust. We conduct integrated epidemiological, social, laboratory and clinical research in parallel, with results feeding into local and international health policy. Our research platforms include state-of-the-art laboratories, a demographic surveillance system covering a quarter of a million residents, partnership with Kilifi County Hospital in health care and hospital surveillance, a clinical trials facility, a vibrant community engagement programme and a dedicated training facility. The KWTRP leadership includes the Executive Director Philip Bejon, the KEMRI Centre Director Benjamin Tsofa, the Ag. Nairobi Programme director Mike English and the Chief Operating Officer Catherine Kenyatta. Our Vision to establish long term sustainable capacity for research in human health that improves global health. Our Mission to deliver high quality research relevant to global health and to build local capacity for undertaking research. Aims of the programme •To conduct research to the highest international scientific and ethical standards on the major causes of morbidity and mortality in the region in order to provide the evidence base to improve health. •To train an internationally competitive cadre of Kenyan and African research leaders to ensure the long term development of health research in Africa

Neonatal sepsis is a leading cause of neonatal deaths in limited resource countries and Gram-negative bacteria especially Enterobacterales are leading causes.  Klebsiella  is a leading cause of neonatal sepsis with high rates of resistance and a diversity of sequence types.  Klebsiella  infection in neonates is often hospital-acquired (including in the maternity department) and resistance in  Klebsiella  is of grave concern and given the limited options for treatment. Maternal immunisation has been identified as an option for preventing neonatal infection and reducing resistance in bacterial infections. Currently there is no licensed vaccine against  K. pneumoniae  and efforts to develop one are underway. Maternal immunity, through transplacental IgG transfer, may provide protection to the foetus, newborn and infant in the first few months of life.

The project will be divided into two segments: the first part seeks to determine the genetic diversity of K and O antigen, sequence types, resistance determinant genes and virulence genes. The outcome of the data will be used to determine phylogenetic relatedness between clinical strains and with environmental strains and the changes in the species causing infections in neonates and infants in hospital. The second part of the study will determine corelates of protection in mothers, the efficiency of transplacental transfer of antibodies to neonates and the waning of maternal immunity in children up to 6 months.

The post holder will primarily be involved in this study but will also collaborate and contribute to other studies within the PI’s group.

REPORTS TO:  Principal Investigator

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY:  Responsible for allocated hardware and software and purchase of reagents for laboratory analysis

  • Perform molecular analysis including nucleic acid extraction, assist the sequencing team with the sequencing
  • Collaborate with other scientists (internal and external) to conduct bioinformatic analysis on the raw reads of Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Perform immunological assays such as ELISA to determine corelates of protection in plasma samples from mothers, cord blood, neonates and young children
  • Undertake necessary laboratory training, risk assessments in order to perform lab analysis
  • Undertake statistical analysis of the data with appropriate support and appropriately document these analyses
  • Develop written reports on the analyses conducted and their interpretation
  • Assist in developing manuscripts for publication in peer reviewed journals
  • And any other duties that may be assigned from time to time.


  • A Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences i.e. biology, microbiology, molecular biology, biotechnology
  • At-least 1 Year Relevant Experience.


  • Method validation and troubleshooting are key, he/she will recognize and investigate problems in a logical manner and provide effective solutions.
  • Excellent communication (oral and written) and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrate high levels of integrity and confidentiality
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, presentation and communication skills
  • Basic analytical, problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Team working and ability to work in diverse teams
  • Flexibility, adaptability, multi-tasking and attention to detail.
Method of Application
Submit your CV and Application on Company Website : Click Here Closing Date : 25 July. 2022
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