Researchers' Database

Researchers from across the University of Cambridge and its affiliated institutes are engaging with the initiatives of the Cambridge-Africa Programme by carrying out collaborative research with African colleagues, and/or supporting African fellows.

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Dr Annettee Nakimuli, Makerere University and MUII PhD Fellow, and her Cambridge co-supervisor Professor Ashley Moffett, Department of Pathology.




In order to encourage new collaborations with African researchers and to support African PhD students and post-doctoral fellows, we have built (and are continuously expanding) a database of current and potential Cambridge collaborators and their expertise. The Cambridge researchers listed are either already engaging with, or have indicated their interest in being matched to Africans who have similar research interests. Cambridge researchers who would like to get involved do not need to have a pre-prepared project available, or existing African links, in order to be included in the database. If you would like your details to be included, please complete the (short and painless) registration form.

Note to African researchers searching for a Cambridge collaborator: Please be aware that any enquiries about potential collaboration with a Cambridge researcher should to be directed to one of the Cambridge-Africa team or in the first instance. They will then put you in touch with the Cambridge researcher if there is an appropriate match in the research interests. Thanks for your cooperation.


Dr Isabel Palacios (Developmental Biology and Cell Biology) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
University Senior Research Fellow, and Fellow at St John’s College, Department of Zoology

Research Interests:

Our research group focuses on understanding the genetic, cell biology and biophysics basis of cell polarity and cell fate in a multicellular organism. Experimental biophysicists and biologists are welcome to join us. 

We use Drosophila melanogaster as a model system to understand how cells adopt their fate in both the female and male germline, and how the oocyte is polarised. These are basic cellular processes that are conserved in the development of all organisms. More specifically, the lab has two main lines of research:
1. Cytoplasmic flows and cellular asymmetries in the oocyte
2. Regulation of cell fate and tissue architecture in ovaries and testis


Current African links: I am associated with Kampala Internationa University KIU in Uganda, since an ex-postdoc of mine (Dr. Marta Vicente Crespo) is working there, and we have set up a Drosophila research lab. We organise workshops yearly for graduates, and lecturers.


Dr David Parker (Spinal Cord Neuronal Networks) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Lecutrer, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Research Interests:

My work investigates spinal cord neuronal networks using lower vertebrates as model systems. The aim is to understand how different classes of nerve cell interact to generate rhythmic locomotor outputs. I also examine how spinal cord injury introduces changes in locomotor networks and sensory inputs below lesion sites to influence recovery.

(1) Hoffman N & Parker D (2010) Lesioning alters functional properties in isolated spinal cord hemisegmental networks. Neuroscience 168: 732-43.

(2) Parker D (2010) Neuronal network analyses: premises, promises and uncertainties. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 365: 2315-28.

(3) Cooke RM & Parker D (2009) Locomotor recovery after spinal cord lesions in the lamprey is associated with functional and ultrastructural changes below lesion sites. J Neurotrauma 26: 597-612.

Dr Rosalind Parkes-Ratanshi (HIV, STIs, Global health in Africa) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Lecturer, Institute of Public Health

Research Interests:

Clinical operational research on sustaining HIV services. Including innovations such as mHealth, point of care tests. STI research including gonorrhoea resistance. STI point of care testing including syphilils. Cryptococcal and fungal diseases in Africa

Clinical Evaluation of 2 Point-of-Care Lateral Flow Tests for the Diagnosis of Syphilis. Sex Transm Dis. 2016 DOI: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000498

Sustainable HIV treatment in Africa through viral-load-informed differentiated care Nature 2015; 7580(528):S20-28

Strengthening the “Viral Failure Pathway” JAIDS 2015 DOI: 10.1097/QAI. 0000000000000820

Prof Julian Parkhill (Genomics Of Bacterial Pathogens) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Marks and Spencer Professor, Department of Veterinary Medicine…

Research Interests:

Genomics of human and animal bacterial pathogens; Population genomics; Genotype/phenotype associations; High-throughput phenotype analysis.


PMID: 30459193
PMID: 27846606
PMID: 28720578

Prof Gabriel Paternain (Hamiltonian Dynamics & Symplectic Geometry) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Professor of Mathematics, Dept of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics (DPMMS)

Research Interests:

Hamiltonian Dynamics and Symplectic Geometry

(1) Cieliebak K et al. Symplectic Topology of Ma

Dr Sara Pensa (Breast cancer early detection & women’s health) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Senior Research Associate, Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge

Research Interests:

My research interests lie on the identification and characterization of the mechanisms important in the early stages of cancer development and how these differ in different cancer subtypes and with different risk mutations. I am equally interested in the epidemiology of breast cancer and the influence of different risk factors on cancer prevalence in different populations. With the aim of developing strategies for the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer, I currently use genetic models to recapitulate breast cancer initiation and analyse the changes occurring in the tissue prior to the establishment of tumours to identify these early mechanisms.

Bach, K., Pensa, S., Zarocsinceva, M. et al. Time-resolved single-cell analysis of Brca1 associated mammary tumourigenesis reveals aberrant differentiation of luminal progenitors. Nat Commun 12, 1502 (2021).

Bach, K., Pensa, S., Grzelak, M. et al. Differentiation dynamics of mammary epithelial cells revealed by single-cell RNA sequencing. Nat Commun 8, 2128 (2017).

Lazarus, K.A., Hadi, F., Zambon, E. et al. BCL11A interacts with SOX2 to control the expression of epigenetic regulators in lung squamous carcinoma. Nat Commun 9, 3327 (2018).

Dr Branwyn Poleykett (Medical Anthropology - Gender, Sex Work, HIV) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
CRASSH, Social Anthropology

Research Interests:

I am a medical anthropologist specialising in the history and anthropology of science, public health and medical research in sub-Saharan Africa.

Poleykett and Mangesho (submitted, under consideration) “Labour politics and Africanisation at a Tanzanian scientific research institute 1949-1966”

Poleykett (submitted, under consideration) “Data, Desire and Recognition in Dakar: Learning to recognise a prostitute”

Poleykett (forthcoming, 2014) Molecular and Municipal Politics: Research and Regulation in Dakar, in Geissler, W. (Ed.) Changing States of Science: Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives on Government, Citizenship and Medical Research in Contemporary Africa

Prof Jaideep Prabhu (International business, marketing, strategy and innovation.) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Professor of Marketing, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge…

Research Interests:

International business marketing, strategy and innovation. Specific interests include: cross-national issues concerning the antecedents and consequences of radical innovation in high-technology contexts such as banking, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; the role of firm culture in driving innovation in firms across nations; how multinational firms organise their innovation activities worldwide; the forces that drive R&D location decisions and the factors that influence the performance implications of these decisions; the internationalisation of firms from emerging markets; and innovation in emerging markets.

Visit the 'Jugaad Innovation' website:

Possible project topics
Frugal innovation, inclusive innovation

Current African links
Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa

George, G., McGahan, A.M. and Prabhu, J. (2012) "Innovation for inclusive growth: towards a theoretical framework and a research agenda." Journal of Management Studies, 49(4): 661-683 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01048.x)

Radjou, N. and Prabhu, J. (2012) "Mobilizing for growth in emerging markets: to reach the "next billion" consumers, multinational companies will need to move beyond value chain localization and create new networks of local partners." MIT Sloan Management Review, 53(3): 81-88

Radjou, N., Prabhu, J. and Ahuja, S. (2012) Jugaad innovation: think frugal, be flexible, generate breakthrough growth. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.