Membership

Sandra Matinyi, MSc - Chairperson, Steering Committee, SynBio Africa.

Sandra Matinyi is an Immunology and Microbiology scientist and a Project Planning and Management professional. She is very passionate about synthetic Biology and Biosecurity and related innovations. Sandra currently works as the Chairperson, Executive committee of SynBio Africa. She has directed working teams at Synbio Africa on various projects including; ‘The biosensor development project’ for the Biomaker Challenge, a University of Cambridge initiative in October 2018, ‘The phage project’, an ongoing project aimed at utilization of bacteriophages to develop therapeutic agents etc. Sandra also works as a Quality Assurance Specialist with AGHPF, where she is in charge of the Biorisk Management component of the projects. She is an International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA) certified professional - Biosafety and Biosecurity and a certified National Biosafety and Biosecurity trainer for Uganda where she has conducted numerous trainings on Biosafety and Biosecurity for various groups of people. At AGHPF, she offers technical assistance in the establishment of policy related to Biosafety and Biosecurity in Uganda through the Ministry of Health. She has participated in various stakeholders engagements; both international and local, aimed at the establishment of legal frameworks for Biosafety and Biosecurity for use across African Union member states, a project championed by The Africa CDC.

Dr. Stephen Obol Opiyo, PhD - Executive Committee Member

Stephen Obol Opiyo is a Bioinformatics Research Scientist at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, USA; an Affiliated Scientist at International Livestock Research Institute (BecA), Nairobi, Kenya; a Lead Data Scientist at Muni Labs, Arua, Uganda; a Visiting Scientist at The University of Sacred Heart, Gulu, Uganda; and a Technical Advisor Lead (DRUM, Uganda project) in Data Management and Analytics, Oxford Policy Management, Oxford, UK . ​

Ian Peter Busuulwa, Executive committee Member

Ian Peter Busuulwa is a graduate of biotechnology from Makerere University who has amassed a wealth of experience in science communication, science policy advocacy, grassroots mobilization, and digital content management. He has recently gained a keen interest in synthetic biology-related policy owing to his public policy fellowship with Ginkgo Bioworks and is currently working with SynBio Africa on our policy advocacy and communication efforts. Ian also works with Science Stories Africa (SSA) - a platform seeking to improve public appreciation of science through storytelling, as a Project Administrator and Digital Communications Officer. He has actively been part of efforts for genetic engineering regulation in Uganda since his undergraduate days participating in several stakeholder engagements and the review process of Uganda’s Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill 2018 since its initial passing in 2017. He is currently pursuing an MSc in Biotechnology at KIIT University – India.

Harry Akligoh, M.Phil-Executive committee Member

Harry is an early-career researcher and a trained biomedical scientist with degrees in B.Sc. Medical Laboratory Science and MPhil. Molecular Medicine from University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) respectively. He co-founded the Hive Biolab together with a team of researchers in the Open Bioeconomy Lab group at the University of Cambridge and Ghana to conduct research and create educational capacity for Ghanaian university students and researchers. Harry’s current research focus is on developing a multiplex PCR diagnostic assay for detecting four selected sexually transmitted infections in a single tube reaction using locally produced off-patent enzymes. His other experiences cut across Open Science and Open-Source Hardware for biology, entrepreneurship and innovation. Harry through his work is growing and catalyzing the use of biotechnology and other emerging technologies like synthetic biology to scale social change in Ghana and beyond.

George Peter Magoola - Vice Chairperson, Steering Committee

George Peter Magoola is a Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer (BMLS), works with MBN Clinical laboratories as a Regional manager for MBN clinical laboratories West Nile Region-Uganda, he enjoys a powerful career at Management level. At MBN Clinical Laboratories, he has exhibited good leadership skills and creativity expanding the Laboratory visibility in the region thus bringing the wealth of management experience to draw on in Synbio-Africa.
George worked in the Molecular laboratory departed at MBN Lab for 3 years, he brings this experience and knowledge attained in molecular to Synbio Africa.

Hilary Edema, MSc -SynBio Africa Member

Hilary Edema holds a master of science degree in Life Sciences with a specialization in bioinformatics from Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and became a member of SynBio Africa and Makerere University iGEM team in January 2020.

Mpumwiire Monica, SynBio Africa - Member

Mpumwiire Monica is a fresh graduate from Makerere University. Sheholds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical laboratory technology.
In March 2018, she became a member of SynBio Africa and participated in a Biomaker challenge project to develop a biosensor that candetect Brucella in milk, a challenge organized and sponsored by OpenPlant Fund at Carmbridge University, London.
On the team, she served as a mobilizer mainly for financial aid and to get more young people to know more about synthetic biology.

Baluku Erikan, SynBio Africa - Head, Ambassador Program

Baluku Erikan is a member of SynBio Africa and participated in iGEM 2018. He works in the laboratory and research sector of SynBio Africa in suggesting possible research ideas to carry out in the field of Synthetic biology to embrace research in Africa. He is responsible for running the Machinery, servicing, and Maintenance of equipment in SynBio Africa.
He has worked on projects including plastic biodegradation in Uganda using PETase and Using Crispr Cas13 technique in designing low cost diagnostic visualized by lateral flow readout.

Nardos Amdework, SynBio Africa Ambassador, Ethiopia, Horn of Africa Region.

Nardos is a Cornell alliance for science cohort engaged in biotechnology advocacy through scientific communication and global outreach. She believes the missing link between science and society is communication. She has coordinated program dialogue processes with stakeholders and government bodies, as well as successfully organized a communication and outreach taskforce training programs in Ethiopia. she’s thrilled to be part of a community of change makers.

Dennis Baffour-Awuah, SynBio Africa Ambassador, Ghana, West Africa Region.

Dennis Baffour-Awuah is a science communicator and a 2018 fellow of the Cornell Alliance for Science Global Fellowship Program. He holds a Bsc. in Agricultural Biotechnology from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. He has years of experience in broadcast journalism to his good. He is the country-coordinator for the Fun and Education Global Network, Ghana and also edits for the Love for Science blog. Currently, he is pursuing an Mphil program in Nuclear Agriculture at the University of Ghana. He majors in Plant Biotechnology and Mutation Breeding.

Richard Machoka, SynBio Africa Ambassador, Kenya, East Africa Region.

Machoka Richard is a Biomedical scientist who graduated from the University of Eastern Africa Baraton where he was part of the OURS AFRICA team that won the 4th Nairobi Innovation Week Idea Stage Category. The team was applying Synthetic Biology in developing an early breast cancer diagnostic tool. In 2019, was the team leader of UEAB_Kenya the first Kenyan team to register for iGEM. The team was integrating paratransgenesis and Synthetic Biology to stop malaria transmission. In 2021, he is also the team leader for AfriSol_Kenya iGEM team working on drinking water biosensor. He is passionate about Synthetic Biology and its application in addressing challenges in Africa, particularly Kenya.

Raphael Kwasi Ayim, SynBio Africa Ambassador, Ghana, West Africa Region..

Raphael Kwasi Ayim is a young astute graduate from the University for Development Studies, Ghana. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology, He is an individual who is passionate about synthetic biology and want to champion its activities in Ghana, West Africa and beyond. He has a dream of using synthetic biology as a tool to greatly reduce global warming.

Ivy Chimulwa, SynBio Africa - Member

Ivy Chimulwa is a young budding scientist who has just completed her Bachelor of Biomedical Laboratory Technology from Makerere University, Uganda. She has in-depth knowledge of Phage biology and wishes to pursue a Masters in either Microbiology, Molecular Biology or Biotechnology with a specialization in virology. She is a great reader and very social with a knack for organising and coordinating events. She is currently volunteering as a Lab technologist for the Infectious Diseases Institute, an NGO operating in Uganda and serves as the Assistant secretary for SynBio Africa.

Hussein Akballo, PhD, SynBio Africa - Member

Hussein Abkallo is a research fellow at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya. His main task involves the establishment of the cutting edge CRISPR/Cas9 technology for editing ASF virus genome, as well as the development of a reverse genetics (synthetic biology) system for generating synthetic ASF viral genomes, with a view to developing live attenuated vaccines (LAVs) against ASF virus. Hussein is a Biomedical Scientist who holds a PhD & MSc in Medical Sciences (Infections Research) from the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Japan and BSc Biomedical Sciences from Maseno University, Kenya.

Nzungize Lambert, PhD, SynBio Africa - Member

Nzungize Lambert is a scientist in life science trained to work in infectious diseases using synthetic biology approaches. He holds a Master’s degree in Microorganism and Biochemical Pharmacy and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Southwest University, China. He is research focused on mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Lambert uses molecular biology techniques, biochemistry, and bioinformatics tools for multi-drug resistant bacteria, toward respiratory and lung diseases.

Collins Oduor Owino, MSc, SynBio Africa - Member

Collins is a virologist interested in understanding how viruses interact with/usurp human host factors/processes and how we can “tap” this information to develop antiviral therapies and vaccines. He is currently pursuing his doctoral studies at the National University of Singapore, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Yong Ling Loo School of Medicine. Collins holds a joint Master of Science degree in Infection Biology, Vaccinology and Drug Development from the University of Basel-Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, and the National University of Singapore as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Medical Biotechnology from Maseno University, Kenya.

Stephen Mukuze, BSc, SynBio Africa Ambassador, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa Region.

Stephen Mukuze is a Volunteer Research Fellow at the National Biotechnology Authority (NBA) of Zimbabwe where he is researching bioplastic production methods using synthetic biology techniques. He was introduced to synthetic biology in 2017 when he was part of a team called OURSAFRICA that was developing a breast cancer biosensor. Here he served as the lead cell-free system engineer. The team went on to win the 4th Nairobi Innovation Week (NIW) idea stage category prize.

Fordjour Eric, SynBio Africa Ambassador, Ghana, West Africa Region.

Eric has an MSc degree in Microbiology from Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China, where he is further pursuing a PhD degree in Fermentation Engineering. Eric has been studying and engineering the metabolism of industrial microorganisms for synthesis of biopharmaceuticals. His research focus on developing and applying synthetic biology tools to generate efficient cell factories for sustainable production of chemicals.