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The Centre for Biotechnology Research and Development (CBRD) is one of the research centers of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). The Centre is located within the KEMRI Headquarters complex in Nairobi.

The Centre for Biotechnology Research and Development (CBRD) is one of the research centers of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). The Centre is located within the KEMRI Headquarters complex in Nairobi.


To improve human health and quality of life through
research, capacity building innovation and service delivery


To be a leading Centre of excellence in research for human health


  1. To apply modern science and biotechnology to discover, develop and improve tools and strategies for diagnosis, prevention and control of major human diseases in Kenya and the region
  2. In addition, the Centre co-ordinates and advises on issues related to basic biomedical and biotechnological research, pre-clinical studies, quality control and bio-safety. The Centre also provides specialized laboratory services and expertise to the scientific community and the general public. It also mentors, trains and supervises both undergraduate and post-graduate students from local colleges and universities.
  3. To improve our basic understanding of the biology of disease causing agents of public health importance in Kenya and the region, including their responses to intervention (e.g. drugs or vaccines), host responses and diseases processes (e.g. immunity, pathogenesis, patho-physiology, host-pathogen interactions), and disease epidemiology.


  1. Analysis of CD4/CD8 T-cells in HIV/AIDS as a service to the scientific community and to the general public,
  2. Training in flow cytometry technology,
  3. Training of university undergraduate and polytechnic students on industrial attachment,
  4. Research training for university post-graduate students,
  5. Supply vertebrate animals (mice, hamsters, guinea pigs) for research or teaching purposes to interested researchers or institutions.

Ongoing Projects

  • Current research in the Centre focuses on HIV/AIDS, malaria, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, and lymphatic filariasis. Research expertise includes molecular parasitology, molecular entomology, cellular immunology, biotechnology, biochemistry, and malacology.Broadly speaking, research in CBRD aims to develop and improve diagnostic assays, to understand immune responses and disease processes, to characterize pathogens and their responses to chemotherapeutic interventions, to understand vector biology and ecology, develop strategies for pathogen and vector control, and to exploit biodiversity for the discovery of new drugs against diseases.


  • Stem Cell Research which seeks to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic tools for cancer and diabetes with the goal of reducing the economic burden of medical care, thus making it more accessible
  • Lymphatic filariasis research involving epidemiological surveys on Lymphatic filariasis in Coastal Kenya to determine the impact of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in this Lymphatic filariasis endemic area and development of a new Point of Care (POC) diagnostic kit for Lymphatic filariasis for use in the resource limited settings.
  • Malaria Research involving malaria prevalence studies and surveillance for antimalarial and insecticide efficacy and resistance in Kenya so as to inform policies on malaria control and treatment through provision of quality data to ensure that only quality and effective antimalarials and insecticides are in use. Additional research is in the development of new malaria diagnostic tools and of novel antimalarial and insecticidal compounds.
  • Leishmaniasis Research includes disease surveillance and epidemiological studies with the goal of identifying new foci of leishmaniasis transmission and thus control to reduce disease transmission, evaluation of anti-leishmania activity of a novel compound in the mouse model and in vitro and anti-leishmaniasis vaccine studies.
Luna Kamau

Dr. Luna Kamau

Centre Director

Dr. Luna Kamau, is a Molecular Entomology and Ecology Researcher with over 21 years’ experience in research and training in vector biology and control. She has held numerous research grants in the field of molecular and population genetic studies of disease vectors, vector ecology and behaviour, insecticide resistance, development and testing of new tools for vector identification, analysis and control. She is widely published and has played a key role in supervised and mentored students and upcoming scientists in the field. Dr. Kamau also serves as the Deputy Director, Centre for Biotechnology Research and Development at KEMRI. Dr. Kamau holds a PhD in Molecular Entomology, a Master’s degree in Immunology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and is a member of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences (KNAS) and a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).

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