Research Assistant, Kenny Endowed Fellowship Recipient, and UW Fellow for Academic Excellence

PhD in Pathobiology program

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was raised by my maternal grandparents in a very large family in Northern Uganda. My maternal grandfather was legally married to six wives-my grandmother being the sixth. I am the first and only one among the vast numbers of uncles, aunties, and grandchildren to reach college. I received my B.S in Biomedical Lab Technology and M.S in Molecular Biology from Makerere University, Kampala-Uganda. My undergraduate work centered on assessing humoral immune response to candidate malaria vaccines in naturally exposed population in Uganda. This nurtured in me a special interest in parasite-host interaction as well as translational research up to this day. 

Why did you decide to attend the UW for graduate school?

Throughout my time as a student, I have been involved in research on infectious disease of global health importance and envisaged being an independent investigator.  The pathobiology program in the department of global health provided the perfect opportunity to connect with established investigators/mentors who are conducting cutting-edge research in various aspects of infectious diseases of global health importance using state of the art lab facilities. A collaboration on an NIH R21 study between UW and my home institution was an additional motivation. I hope to pursue translational research avenues aimed at developing relevant solutions to pressing global health problems, and also, offer hope for aspiring Ugandan biomedical researchers.

What are your research interests?

Generally, I am interested in the basic biology of parasites of public health importance and in understanding host-pathogen interactions. Specifically, I am interested in translational research, embodied in identification of host-pathogen molecules that can serve as targets for vaccines and therapeutics.

What are you enjoying most about your graduate program?

The one-on-one mentorship provided by senior scientists during my lab rotation and the accessibility of any of the faculties I would want to meet. Despite the drastic and immense change that accompanied moving from Uganda to the Unites States, I enjoy the 24/7 support offered by course mates and faculties in and outside classes-it’s a great family. 

Did your award influence your decision to attend UW?

Yes! You cannot believe that even with the scholarship at hand, I still had to obtain additional support to meet travel costs. That’s how important the award meant to me. In addition to the award, I am a recipient of the Kenny Endowed Fellowship and the UW Fellowship for Academic Excellence.