New Leadership Takes Charge at the Ethics Review Committee

Dr. Patrick Mburugu (2nd right) hands over the ISERC documents to Dr. Amos Mbugua (2nd left). Looking on are Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Jackson Kwanza (left), Registrar, Dr. Patrick Mbindyo (right) and incoming Secretary, Dr. Josephine Karanja

Dr. Amos Mbugua is the new Chairperson of the Institutional Scientific Ethics Review Committee (ISERC) at JKUAT, succeeding Dr. Patrick Mburugu. Dr. Mbugua’s tenure is for three years.

The committee’s primary mandate is to assess the scientific and ethical merits of research proposals while ensuring the rights, safety, and integrity of research participants. Research proposals that meet the required scientific and ethical standards are granted approval in accordance with NACOSTI regulations.

In accepting his new role, Dr. Mbugua expressed his commitment to building upon the foundation laid by his predecessor and enhancing research ethics compliance within the institution.

“As a committee, we will prioritize quality and excellence, strive for rapid proposal approval turnaround times, and conduct comprehensive reviews of research proposals,” said Dr. Mbugua.

Dr. Amos Mbugua

He also said the committee will benchmark and engage with other scientific ethic review committees in the country to enhance the visibility of the committee and improve its operational efficiency.

Welcoming the new committee leadership, Prof. Jackson Kwanza, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research Production and Extension (RPE), encouraged the committee to expand its scope to include the approval of research proposals from fields such as engineering and information technology.

Currently, the committee domiciled in the Directorate of Research and Innovation, is accredited by the National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NACOSTI) to review research protocols involving human and animal subjects in biological and social sciences.

Prof. Kwanza further urged the committee to enhance sensitization efforts to JKUAT researchers on the functions and mandate of the ISERC especially at departmental levels.

“I am aware a significant number of our postgraduate students and researchers are submitting their proposals to other ISERC, while as JKUAT, we can facilitate research proposal approvals through this committee,” said Prof. Kwanza.

Dr. Josephine Karanja

Dr. Mburugu encouraged the new team to ensure the full functionality and utilization of the newly developed online submission platform to enhance efficiency and reduce the review process’s turnaround time.

The multidisciplinary committee, with Dr. Josephine Karanja as its new secretary, comprises members from academic, religious, and legal fields. Additionally, a community representative is part of ISERC to address community’s needs.

Dr. Mbugua, Chairperson of the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, specializes in research related to malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including the development and evaluation of molecular diagnostics, disease surveillance tools, molecular pathogenesis, health innovations, and program management. His research interests extend to the molecular genetics of Non-Communicable Diseases and bioinstrumentation.

Dr. Karanja, a lecturer in the Department of Horticulture and Food Security, focuses her research on plant and soil sciences, agricultural entomology, wildlife management, and natural sciences.

Present during the handover meeting were Registrar, RPE, Dr. Patrick Mbindyo and Director, Research and Innovation, Dr. Shem Kuyah among other RPE staff.

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