AESA Management Team is headed by Thomas Kariuki, Ph.D. Its role is to oversee and implement AESA’s programmes and operations.

Thomas Kariuki, PhD, Director, Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA)

Dr. Thomas Kariuki is director of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, an initiative launched in 2015 by the African Academy of Sciences and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agency.
AESA was established as an agenda setting and funding platform to address Africa’s health and development challenges. An internationally recognized leader in immunology, Dr. Kariuki leads AESA’s efforts to accelerate world-class research, foster innovation, and promote scientific leadership on the continent. He oversees a number of diverse programmes focused on funding the research, development, and commercialisation of novel, high-impact solutions and is cultivating strategic partnerships with academic institutions, governments and industry globally to build the momentum needed to transform Africa’s future through science-led, knowledge-based economies.
These include coalitions of scientific leaders and civil society within countries, regions and continent-wide that will work collaboratively to set the science and technology agenda for Africa. Prior to his appointment at AESA, Dr. Kariuki served as director of the Institute of Primate Research / National Museums of Kenya, a biomedical and conservation biology organisation.
Dr. Kariuki’s research interests have spanned the immunology of neglected infectious diseases and he has been deeply involved in global efforts to develop vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics for poverty-related diseases. He has published widely on aspects of vaccines and diagnostics development for schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), malaria and co-infections and on policy issues related to biomedical research and funding. Dr. Kariuki has received research support from the European Foundations, NIH, South-South collaborations and regional funding organizations.
He is a recipient of various international awards including Fellowship of the African Academy of Sciences, Senior Fellowship of the European Foundations Initiative for Neglected Tropical Diseases and presidential honor of the Order of Grand Warrior of Kenya for scientific leadership and public service. He has also served as president and board member of a number of Africa-wide professional networks, including the Federation of African Immunological Societies (FAIS), for which he is the immediate past president. Dr. Kariuki is a graduate of the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and the University of York, UK, where he undertook his Ph.D. studies in immunology under the mentorship of Professor Alan Wilson. 

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Michael Kilpatrick, Senior Advisor, Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP)

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 (MRC) in the Gambia, he relocated to London to be the MRC operations director for its 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 (GFGP).

Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura, Strategy and Policy Manager

Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura has over fifteen years of experience in international development, strategy and governance.

She has held appointments with AGRA, the World Bank, UNREDD, UNDP-GEF, International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) and Makerere University.

She provides policy and strategic leadership for AESA’s scientific agenda for Africa. Namubiru-Mwaura holds a PhD in Public Policy from Indiana University in the US.

Her honours include the Elinor OstromJohan Skytte Fellowship, the International Foundation for Science Award for Field Research, the Compton Foundation Peace & Security Fellowship and the Australian Sponsored Training Scholarship.

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

Jenniffer Mabuka joined AAS in November 2016 as the H3Africa Programme Manager. She is responsible for the development and management of the H3Africa portfolio of activities and investments, under the leadership of the AESA Director.

Jenn has over 16 years of HIV-1 basic science research. Her research broadly focused on understanding host innate and immune factors that modulate HIV-1 transmission and pathogenesis. Specifically, she investigated host immune responses in mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 with a particular focus on breast milk transmission and explored antibody evolution in natural HIV-1 infection with the goal of informing antibody-based vaccine design.

She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle and completed a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship at Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) (Formerly KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV), South Africa. Prior to joining us, she was a research associate with the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and a visiting research collaborator at AHRI.

Alphonsus Neba, DELTAS Africa Programme Manager

A native of Cameroon, Alphonsus is the programme manager responsible for the implementation of the Wellcome Trust-supported Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training, and Science (DELTAS Africa), in which AESA is a partner.

Before joining the DELTAS Africa programme, Alphonsus 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 Ph.D. in Biotechnology and an MSc in Environmental Biotechnology from South Africa’s Rhodes University; a Master’s degree in Information Sciences from the University of Ibadan, and a BSc Hons degree in Microbiology from the University of Lagos, both institutions in Nigeria.

Alphonsus has more than 10 years’ experience in research management, research ethics, grants and contracts administration, research commercialisation, technology transfer and intellectual property management. He is a member of the Southern African Research and Innovation Managers Association (SARIMA) and previously served as a Steering Committee member of the Southern African Innovation Support Programme (SAIS), a programme, funded by the Ministry of Foreign affairs of Finland and designed to promote innovation in four Southern Africa countries, including Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia,