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Director of Science, Ifakara Health Institute

Dr. Fredros Okumu is a Public Health Researcher and current Director of Science at Ifakara Health Institute, in Tanzania. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Nelson Mandela Africa Institute of Science & Technology and an Associate Professor at University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. His research focuses on the biology and control of infectious diseases; working on basic sciences through policy translation.

Fredros originally trained as a Public Health Officer at Moi University College of Health Sciences in Kenya (2001–2005). He holds a Master degree in Applied Parasitology from University of Nairobi, Kenya (2008), and another Master degree in Geo-Information Science, Earth Observation & Environmental Modeling from Lund University,Sweden (2011). He earned a PhD in Infectious Tropical Diseases from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 2012, and an MBA-International Health Management from University of Basel, Switzerlan (through Swiss Tropical & Public Health Institute), in 2019

Fredros was awarded the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (ASTMH) Young Investigator Award in 2009, a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship in Public Health & Tropical Medicine (2014-2019), a Howard Hughes-Gates International Scholarship (2017-2022), and an ASPEN New Voices Fellowship (2019-2020). He was named among Top 100 Global Thinkers by US-Based Foreign Policy Magazine in 2016, and Top 30 African Innovators by Quartz Africa in 2018. Most recently in March, 2020, he was named among the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders.

He was a co-chair of the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda consultative group on Tools for Elimination (2016-2018) and co-Chaired the WHO Vector Control Working Group on New Tools for Malaria Vector Control (2016-2019). Between 2017 and 2018, he provided research support for the Africa Union High-Level Panel on Emerging Technologies, and was a member of the working group that defined the pathway for testing of gene-drives for malaria control in Africa. Fredros is Associate Editor of the Journals, Parasites & Vectors, and a member of Editorial Boards of Malaria Journal and Scientific African. He was inducted in June 2016 as a Young Affiliate of the African Academy of Sciences.

In 2018, Fredros was appointed to the 12-member Malaria Strategic Advisory Panel of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He also works an assessor for the WHO prequalification program for vector control products since 2017. He is currently a Honorary Research Fellow at University of Glasgow and was until 2018 a Visiting Professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil.

He has more than 90 publications in international peer-reviewed journals, and maintains an active research group with scientists, staff and collaborators in more than ten countries. He is also passionate about improving ecosystems for young researchers in Africa.

He tweets here, blogs here, and has his scientific publications archived here & here.


  • –present
    Research Scientist and Head of Environmental Health and Ecological Sciences at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, Ifakara Health Institute