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Peggoty MUTAI: a Kenyan researcher against worms

Posted by Administrator on April 11, 2012

We met Peggoty Mutai in Paris in March of 2012. She was one of 15 scientists whose research projects were selected by the “L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science” programme, earning them an International Fellowship. A PhD student in Chemistry, Peggoty Mutai plans to find new treatments for parasitic worms.

How did you become a scientist?

I grew up in Kenya, in a small town called Kericho. It was exciting running around. I was interested in nature. When I went to school, I was excited by science experiments. So I wanted to do something about chemistry. A high percentage of children in Kenya suffer from worms. Growing up, we were never tested. We grew up with them. Children cannot achieve their full potential this way. There are dewormings nowadays : all children from a school are given medicine against worms. This results in less abstention from school. But what happens when it stops working, when worms develop resistance ? In Kenya, many people are using traditional medicine with plants.

What is your research on?

We study the effect of these plants. To test them, we have been using so far an inefficient system, analyzing sheep feces. The focus of my work is on taking proteins (*) from worms and putting them in… yeast! Everything is done in the lab now. When we get good compounds, we can test them on the sheep. It is more efficient.

Are you collaborating with other scientists?

You cannot be good at everything, science is about a team collaborating towards a common goal.
Do you have a message for the women of Africa? I am a woman in science. Science has a lot to offer to women, opportunities. All women practice science at some point in their life, e.g. cooking is a science! Science is challenging -nothing is easy in life- but it is interesting. Women should not fear it or run away from it.

How long until you and your colleagues find a cure for worms?

It could take three or thirty years. That’s why it’s called research!

Source: http://education.starafrica.com/en/detail-news/view/peggoty-mutai-a-kenyan-researcher-again-227188.html

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One Response to “Peggoty MUTAI: a Kenyan researcher against worms”

  1. The best way of eliminating worms is good hygiene

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