Dr. Eddy Okoth Odari (Kenya)
Especially in times of the corona pandemic, in which social and economic life is massively affected in many places, the importance of holistic medical and health science research comes into focus. For our Kenyan alumnus Dr. Eddy Okoth Odari, however, healthcare has always been at the center of research and teaching: As Bachelor’s degree, he studied medical microbiology at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi. His outstanding academic achievements and his manifold church and social commitment helped him to receive a KAAD scholarship in virology at JKUAT (2008-2010), which included a six-month stay at the Max von Pettenkofer Institute for Hygiene and Medical Microbiology at the LMU Munich. As an outstanding In-Country-Scholar and active member of the Kenyan KAAD family, he then applied for doctoral studies and returned to the same institute in Munich in 2011. His research in the field of virology was mainly concerned with the development of simple test methods for HIV – a very important project for implementation in Africa.
Many KAAD seminars, three Annual Conventions and a dissertation later he returned to Kenya as Dr. Eddy Odari, where he has since then more than enough to do as a virologist: He teaches as Senior Lecturer at the JKUAT in Nairobi, is the founder of the Ogallo Osako Memorial Foundation and is in close exchange with the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering in Indiana, USA, and the Chiba University School of Engineering in Japan as Visiting Scholar and Scientist. To this day, he is loyal to KAAD and firmly affiliated to the partner structures of the KASEA network (KAAD Association of Scholars from East Africa). He was chairman of KASEA Kenya for one term of office and is now a member of the KAAD partner committee in Nairobi. Here, Dr. Odari plays an important role in the selection of scholarship applicants and the mentoring of KAAD scholarship holders.
His academic focus in research and teaching is on bio-medical research, the implementation of the research results in vulnerable social classes and the study of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), especially in the context of migration. He successfully publishes in various journals and organizes conferences, such as the Africa Biotechnology and Biomedical Conference, which has now been held three times in Nairobi.
In addition to his academic work, he is committed to the education of physically impaired people and the empowerment of remote rural communities in Kenya through his Ogallo-Osako Memorial Foundation.
Dr. Eddy Okoth Odari thus reflects in many ways the central concerns of KAAD: Academic excellence combined with social and church commitment and responsibility. As a sought-after virologist, he enriches not only his home country Kenya, but also KAAD and its network with his creative ideas and his broad, worldwide academic network.