Phd Candidates

ANDIMA, MOSES

ANDIMA, MOSES

Student Short Biography:

Dr. Andima Moses (PhD) is a natural products Chemist. His research focuses on the isolation and characterization of natural products towards treatment of cancer and other non-communicable diseases. He employs the use of nanoparticle drug delivery systems in an effort to enhance therapeutic efficacy of natural products. To better understand the interaction of natural products with molecular targets in cancer disease process, he employs in silico molecular docking and molecular simulation approaches. Currently, he is working as a lecturer at the department of chemistry in Busitema University in Uganda. In an effort to ensure sustainable utilization of natural resources, he recently received a small research grant from Busitema University to explore endophytic organisms to synthesize natural products to treat neglected tropical diseases. He is a co-principal investigator of a government of Uganda funded project awarded to Busitema University natural products and drug research group that is aimed at rational development of a herbal product(s) for management of COVID-19. While at the University of Nairobi, He mentored two undergraduate students through supervision of their research projects. He has also supervised several undergraduate research projects in Busitema University. He is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (621221), Natural Products Research Network for Eastern and Central Africa (NAPRECA).

Project Summary

Thesis / Project  Title: Natural Product-Loaded Nanoparticles For Cancer Therapy: Formulation, Characterization, In Silico And Cellular Studies

Thesis / Project  Abstract:

Cancer is a debilitating disease affecting people of all walks of life. Conventional treatments for cancer exist, but they present serious side effects to patients thus highlighting the need for alternative therapies or reengineering of existing therapies. In this study, the anticancer potential of natural products from four plant species was investigated. The use of nanoparticle drug delivery systems to enhance anticancer activity of β-sitosterol as a model natural product was also investigated. Twenty five compounds were isolated from four plant species. In vitro studies demonstrated that some of the compounds exhibited good antitumor activity against a panel of cancer cells (IC50 2.4-47.6 μM). In silico docking studies against molecular targets in the p53 pathway demonstrated that some of the compounds inhibit cancer cell proliferation by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In order to access the effect of encapsulation of natural products into nanoparticles, β-sitosterol was selected as a model natural product and encapsulated using PLGA and PEG-PLA into nanoparticles. The nanoparticles were small in size, monodisperse and negatively charged (average particle sizes of 215.0±29.7 nm, ζ of -13.8±1.61 mV and PDI < 0.2), with acceptable encapsulation efficiency (>50%) and exhibited slow and controlled release profile. The nanoparticles were easily internalized by two human breast cancer cells; MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 and inhibited cell proliferation by up to 80% at 6.64-53.08 μg/mL of β-sitosterol in nanoparticles compared to the control groups. This study demonstrates the potential of nanoparticle drug delivery systems to enhance therapeutic efficacy of natural products

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BUYINZA, DANIEL

Daniel Buyinza

Project Summary

Thesis / Project  Title:Antiplasmodial And Anticancer Principles From Millettia Dura, Millettia Leucantha And Millettia Lasiantha Species

OMUOMBO, CHRISTINE ATIENO

OMUOMBO, CHRISTINE ATIENO

Student Short Biography:

Christine Omuombo is a geoscientist, consultant and an academic coach based at the University of Nairobi. She has more than 12 years of experience in water, climate, environment, and population dynamics in an effort to understand the climate and human impact on the environment in the past and present landscapes. She began her academic career in Kenya as a Geology major at the University of Nairobi and later obtained a Joint European MSc in Water and Coastal Management from three European universities through an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship. Her PhD work focused on understanding long term changes using lake sediment records and the application of biogeochemistry to assess changes through time. This work has been done in collaboration with Sorbonne Université (UPMC) for laboratory support with a scholarship from the French Institute for Research (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)) and the French government.

Project Summary

Thesis / Project  Title :Biogeochemical proxies of Environmental and Climate Change on Mount Kenya

Thesis / Project  Abstract:

Three crater lakes from Mount Kenya (Nkunga, Sacred and Rutundu) were studied to infer Late Holocene climate and environmental changes. These crater lakes are small closed lake basins with well-defined catchments that are sensitive to seasonal, interannual and long-term fluctuations. Consequently, they are promising archives for high-resolution reconstruction of climate and environmental change in Kenya. The aim of this study was to elucidate the Late Holocene history of climate and environmental changes on Mount Kenya using multi-proxy palaeo-indicators in soil and lake sediments. The multi-proxy analysis that was carried out on the Mount Kenya soils and lake sediments comprised traditional sedimentological (XRD, XRF and Xlf) and relatively novel organic geochemical analyses (%C, %N, δ13C, δ15N, n-alkanes and GDGT). The occurrence and timing of different events were established by AMS 14C dating of the cores. The results cover the last 4770 cal yr. BP to present. At the millennial scale, a wet early Holocene followed by a drier mid to late Holocene is observed. During the Late Holocene two key dry spells at ca. 4200 and 2800 cal yr. BP occur in the shallow lake phases at lakes Rutundu and Sacred. There is also evidence of a wet early little Ice Age (at Lakes Nkunga and Sacred) followed by drier conditions during the late phase of the Little Ice Age (Lake Nkunga). The multiproxy approach has enabled the identification of local catchment-scale effects on the individual lakes in addition to the observed regional climate effects.

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