Njunge is an alumnus of Kenyatta University where he studied Biochemistry (BSc, 2004) and Biotechnology (MSc, 2008). His MSc investigated whether malaria transmission reduction following the introduction of bednets affected the genetic diversity of the 19 kDa C terminal portion of the merozoite surface protein 1, a vaccine candidate antigen, present in the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, at the KEMRI-CDC programme in Kisumu, Kenya. He subsequently completed a PhD in Biochemistry in 2013 from Rhodes University in South Africa where he characterized several heat shock proteins (molecular chaperones) in P. falciparum. At the end of 2013, he undertook a post-doctoral position with the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya to spearhead liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry based investigations mainly focusing on biomarker investigations in biological specimens. His initial work focused on identifying protein biomarkers that distinguish acute bacterial meningitis from cerebral malaria. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8524-9133
At the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Programme, we have an UltiMate™ 3000 Rapid Separation HPLC system coupled to a Q Exactive Mass Spectrometer. He has adopted this system for Proteomics- the large-scale identification and relative quantification of proteins in a biological specimen. His current work focuses on Biomarker discovery, which for proteomics means identifying a small set of proteins whose expression pattern can separate two or more groups of specimens and can be used for efficient classification of unknown specimens. Ultimately, a good biomarker can be developed into a point-of-care test for diagnosis or prognosis. He is interested in identifying such biomarkers that will translate into the better clinical management of sick children. Current projects include identifying biomarkers for in hospital and post-stabilization in Severe Acute Malnutrition and is part of the CHAIN Network (http://chainnetwork.org/).