Florence Muringi Wambugu
Chief Executive Officer
A Harvest Biotech Foundation Int'l (AHBFI)
Current Position/Involvements: Florence Muringi Wambugu is an agricultural plant pathologist with specialization in virology and genetic engineering for viral diseases crop protection. She is the Chief Executive Officer of A Harvest Biotech Foundation International (AHBFI) - Currently holds membership positions in the Private Sector Committee (PSC) of CGIAR, DuPont Biotech Advisory Panel-USA, Board of Trustees IPGRI and Vice-chair of the African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum (ABSF). In June 2003, Dr. Wambugu was appointed to the Science Board of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, a new initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The initiative will identify critical scientific challenges in global health and increase research on diseases that cause millions of deaths in the developing world. Nobel Laureate, Dr. Harold Varmus, President of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and former Director of the National Institutes of Health, will chair a board of pre-eminent scientists who will guide and direct the initiative.
A strong believer in the power of biotechnology to boost food production, she has participated in many international forums in support of biotechnology for developing countries and Africa. She has authored or co-authored about 60 papers in local and international journals and publications, and is the author and publisher of the book "Modifying Africa" - How biotechnology can benefit the poor and the hungry: A case study from Kenya, Year 2001. The book's web site, www.modifyingafrica.com, won an international award, "2002-2003 Golden Web Award". She was awarded "Woman of the Year Award" by the American Biographical Institute.
Previous Position: 1991-1994: A Post-doctoral fellow at a Plant Science Biotech Company in USA which involved developing sweetpotato crops resistant to virus diseases by use of gene-technology. The project produced transgenic virus resistant sweetpotato currently being tested on-station in Kenya and trained several African scientists in gene-technology that are now involved with bio-transformation of more sweetpotato genotypes, for widespread impact in the region. Between 1978-1991 she was a senior research officer (Pathologist) and coordinator of Plant Biotechnology Research at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Nairobi, Kenya.
Education: Post-Doctoral Research Associate - Biotechnology, Plant Science Biotech Company, USA, 1992-94; Ph.D. Virology, Biotechnology University of Bath, England 1991; M.Sc. Pathology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA, 1984; sc. Botany, University of Nairobi, 1978.
Service and Honors: First place medal winner in Global Development Network Awards under science and technology category - ISAAA facilitated KARI - project: "Biotechnology to Benefit Small-scale Banana Growers in Kenya, Year 2000. Recipient of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture's (IITA), Nigeria, Africa) Award, in 1981 for KARI, for successful establishment of a tissue culture laboratory in support of root and tuber crops germplasm improvement; KARI's 1989 Crop Science award for excellent performance in scientific conferences; International Potato Center's (CIP) 1989 Regional Research award/grant ($10,000), for outstanding advancements in sweetpotato research; Pyrethrum Marketing Board of Kenya 1990 farmers support award for successful establishment of a rapid micro-propagation laboratory for pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum) in 1986/7. Recognized by Virology Division of Horticultural Research International in England and KARI in 1991, as exemplary Ph.D. candidate for outstanding dissertation contributions on sweetpotato virus disease research work done in Kenya, Monsanto Company Outstanding Performance Award for 1992 and 1993.