KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) – Assistant Research Officer.

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Reference Number: ARO-08072022
Employment Type: Full time
Category: Clinical Research
Job Grade: 6.01
Country: Kenya
Location: Kilifi


Neonatal sepsis is a leading cause of neonatal deaths in limited resource countries and Gram-negative bacteria especially Enterobacterales are leading causes. Klebsiella is a leading cause of neonatal sepsis with high rates of resistance and a diversity of sequence types. Klebsiella infection in neonates is often hospital-acquired (including in the maternity department) and resistance in Klebsiella is of grave concern and given the limited options for treatment. Maternal immunisation has been identified as an option for preventing neonatal infection and reducing resistance in bacterial infections. Currently there is no licensed vaccine against K. pneumoniae and efforts to develop one are underway. Maternal immunity, through transplacental IgG transfer, may provide protection to the foetus, newborn and infant in the first few months of life.

The project will be divided into two segments: the first part seeks to determine the genetic diversity of K and O antigen, sequence types, resistance determinant genes and virulence genes. The outcome of the data will be used to determine phylogenetic relatedness between clinical strains and with environmental strains and the changes in the species causing infections in neonates and infants in hospital. The second part of the study will determine corelates of protection in mothers, the efficiency of transplacental transfer of antibodies to neonates and the waning of maternal immunity in children up to 6 months.

The post holder will primarily be involved in this study but will also collaborate and contribute to other studies within the PI’s group.



  • Principal Investigator


  • Responsible for allocated hardware and software and purchase of reagents for laboratory analysis


  • Perform molecular analysis including nucleic acid extraction, assist the sequencing team with the sequencing
  • Collaborate with other scientists (internal and external) to conduct bioinformatic analysis on the raw reads of Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Perform immunological assays such as ELISA to determine corelates of protection in plasma samples from mothers, cord blood, neonates and young children
  • Undertake necessary laboratory training, risk assessments in order to perform lab analysis
  • Undertake statistical analysis of the data with appropriate support and appropriately document these analyses
  • Develop written reports on the analyses conducted and their interpretation
  • Assist in developing manuscripts for publication in peer reviewed journals
  • And any other duties that may be assigned from time to time.


  • A Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences i.e. biology, microbiology, molecular biology, biotechnology 
  • At-least 1 Year Relevant Experience.


  • Method validation and troubleshooting are key, he/she will recognize and investigate problems in a logical manner and provide effective solutions.
  • Excellent communication (oral and written) and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrate high levels of integrity and confidentiality
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, presentation and communication skills
  • Basic analytical, problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Team working and ability to work in diverse teams
  • Flexibility, adaptability, multi-tasking and attention to detail.


To apply for this post you must be a registered user. Log into your account then go to Vacancies, view the post and click on the button: “Apply for this job”.

All applicants are required to state their current/last salary.

Candidates must supply an email and telephone contact that will be used when offering interviews.  Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Shortlisted candidates shall be required to produce ORIGINALS of their National Identity Card, academic and professional certificates, original transcripts and testimonials, detailed curriculum vitae and valid clearance certificate (certificate of good conduct) during the interviews.

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The application closing date is 25 July, 2022.

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) is an equal opportunity employer. Direct or indirect canvassing will lead to automatic disqualification.  KWTRP does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, processing, training or any other fees).




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