Amos Lucky Mhone, graduate fellow at ILRI, Kenya

14 Mar 2022

What is your name and current occupation?

My name is Amos Lucky Mhone, and I am currently a graduate Fellow at the International livestock research Institute, in Nairobi, Kenya.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the use of bacteriophages as a one health tool for reduction of multi-drug resistant non-typhoidal salmonella in poultry in Kenya. In this project, I am specifically involved in testing the stability of Salmonella Enteritidis specific bacteriophages in different pH and thermal conditions and designing and evaluation of phage delivery systems in poultry. My aim is to design the delivery of bacteriophages in poultry with minimal interference with the host immunity. Part of this work was presented during the 2021 Oxford Phage Conference and is pending publication and I am one of the authors for the review on the use and challenges of the use of bacteriophages in Africa.

How did you become interested in veterinary vaccinology?

I was raised in Rumphi district, in Malawi, where 60% of the population rely on livestock for their livelihood. While in this community, I witnessed the rampant of livestock diseases like East Coast fever, African swine fever and Newcastle diseases, and their economic impact due to large number of animal deaths. Since that time, I developed an interest to find solutions to such problems. While at the African Union Centre for Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases (AU-CTTBD) in Lilongwe Malawi when I was a student intern, I assisted in studies to improve the current Infection and treatment method vaccine for East Coast Fever Disease. I carried a small study on evaluation of the sex ratio of Rhipicephalus appendiculatus ticks used for vaccine production in relation to the tick infection assessments, this deepened my interest in veterinary vaccinology.    

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

Through my academic and research area, I have gained a lot of knowledge and skills in different aspects of veterinary vaccinology. I hold a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM, Hons) from the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Lilongwe, Malawi, and currently finishing an MSc in Medical Microbiology at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Nairobi, Kenya. I have managed to create a network in both academic and research around my areas of expertise that will help me achieve my career goals.

What benefits do you hope to get from being a member of the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network?

I am hoping to increase my networking to gain access to potential collaborators in the field of vaccinology across the fields of veterinary and human vaccinology, to gain opportunities to grants, training through workshops and scientific meetings. And finally, I want to be part of the international community of researchers in developing and improving vaccines for livestock diseases, thereby improving animal health and world economy

What do you hope to do next?

I intend to pursue a PhD in immunology and vaccinology, to have a deep understanding immune response, antigen discovery, antigen-host interaction, and latest vaccine development technologies such as the messenger RNA vaccine technology. Upon completion of my PhD, apart from developing my career, I plan to establish a platform to mentor other Malawian upcoming researchers in the field of veterinary vaccinology. I am currently looking for a PhD training opportunity to achieve this.