Researcher Spotlight – James Nyarobi

Published: 27 March 2018

This week Robyn Womack has put James under the spotlight. James is studying emerging infectious diseases in northern Tanzania.

This week, Robyn Womack has put James Nyarobi under the spotlight. James is a PhD student studying emerging infectious diseases in northern Tanzania, under the supervision of Professor Sarah Cleaveland and Professor Jo Sharp.

Researcher Spotlight – James NyarobiTell us a bit about your background, James!

My background is in animal and life sciences, with an MSc in Life Sciences from the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), and a BSc in Animal Science from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA).  I also have five years experience working for the livestock and environment sectors in Tanzania, dealing with issues related to livestock development.

What is your PhD research on?

I have keen interest in understanding zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases, and my PhD project focuses on Epidemiology of Rift Valley Fever in northern Tanzania.  This study seeks to understand where and how Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) circulates, and to identify potential risk factors for infections in livestock and humans in northern Tanzania during inter- epidemic periods.  To answer these questions, the study investigates prevalence of RVFV infections in livestock, human and mosquito vectors in the inter-epidemic periods.

What have you found the most interesting part of your research so far?

Going out to the field, collecting samples and interacting with farmers in villages in northern Tanzania was a fun learning experience. It is interesting to see preliminary results of my study showing some evidence for RVFV circulation in livestock in northern Tanzania in the inter-epidemic period.

What do you like best about working in IBAHCM?

The support I get from my supervisors, assessors and other staff and students at the University, access to state of the art facilities in the laboratory where I am testing my samples, and the support and collaborations in the lab. All these have made a positive contribution to my study and stay at the University of Glasgow!

Have there been any challenges during your project?

The challenging bit was trying to get enough time to learn the necessary skills for good research and data analysis using recommended packages, at the same time as starting field sample collection for the study. Another challenge was the hard winter in Glasgow last month! Thank God all well.

What are your plans for the future post-PhD?

After PhD, I would like to work in Tanzania with research institutions working on zoonoses and/or emerging infectious diseases.

First published: 27 March 2018