I am a trained immunologist and vaccinologist having undertaken DPhil on malaria transmission-blocking vaccines at the University of Oxford. Following on from this, I served as a post-doc with Kevin Marsh and Philip Bejon at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi working on assessing the infectious reservoir of malaria. From 2015, portfolio of work expanded to setting up currently the largest single-site falciparum controlled human malaria infection study in 161 volunteers leading a diverse team in Kenya in collaboration with key partners in this field.

Current Work

Human infection studies – Leveraging human infection models to establish and adapt new models, understand naturally acquired immunity, identify vaccine candidates, and evaluate efficacy of interventions. Work centres around better understanding naturally acquired immunity for the design, development and testing of vaccines currently for the infectious diseases for malaria and Shigella. This involves developing and/or establishing tools and models to identify, characterise, understand, and evaluate vaccines, particularly the controlled human infection models, in disease endemic populations. We have established the controlled human malaria infection platform in Kilifi Kenya and furthermore, an enteric, Shigella, human infection model will be established and an establishment of an induced blood-stage malaria infection model within the same setting. Thus, the programme of work focuses on addressing the following broad aims:
  1. Interrogating immunity (vaccine-induced and naturally acquired) to malaria (utilising CHMI vaccine efficacy model; CHMI transmission model, malaria surveillance cohort, previous cross-sectional and longitudinal cohorts (AFIRM and LAMB cohorts) and Shigella (utilising Shigella HIS and archived samples from Biobank) – protein production, microarray, mass spectrometry and cytometry, systems serology, RNA sequencing
  2. Understanding role of microbiome influence in host immunity (utilising Shigella HIS and archived samples from Biobank) – NGS Identification of molecular markers of malaria transmission – RNA sequencing (transcriptomics), cDNA microarray, and mosquito feeding assays Utilisation of a structure-aided approach to vaccine design for malaria transmission and Shigella – cell sorting, BCR sequencing, and monoclonal antibody production


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Project Research

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Age-dependent acquisition of IgG antibodies to Shigella serotypes-a retrospective analysis of seroprevalence in Kenyan children with implications for infant vaccination.
Kapulu, M. C., Muthumbi, E., Otieno, E., Rossi, O., Ferruzzi, P., Necchi, F., Acquaviva, A., Martin, L. B., Orindi, B., Mwai, K., Kibet, H., Mwanzu, A., Bigogo, G. M., Verani, J. R., Mbae, C., Nyundo, C., Agoti, C. N., Nakakana, U. N., Conti, V., Bejon, P., Kariuki, S., Scott, J. A. G., Micoli, F., Podda, A.
Front Immunol, (2024). 15:1340425

Fourth Controlled Human Infection Model (CHIM) meeting - CHIMs in endemic countries, May 22-23, 2023.
Kapulu, M., Manda-Taylor, L., Balasingam, S., Means, G., Ayiro Malungu, M., Bejon, P., Chi, P. C., Chiu, C., Church, E. C., Correa-Oliveira, R., Day, N., Durbin, A., Egesa, M., Emerson, C., Jambo, K., Mathur, R., Metzger, W., Mumba, N., Nazziwa, W., Olotu, A., Rodgers, J., Sinyiza, F., Talaat, K., Kamerling, I., Weller, C., Baay, M., Neels, P.
Biologicals, (2024). :101747

Fourth Controlled Human Infection Model (CHIM) meeting, CHIM regulatory issues, May 24, 2023.
Cavaleri, M., Kaslow, D., Boateng, E., Chen, W. H., Chiu, C., Choy, R. K. M., Correa-Oliveira, R., Durbin, A., Egesa, M., Gibani, M., Kapulu, M., Katindi, M., Olotu, A., Pongsuwan, P., Simuyandi, M., Speder, B., Talaat, K. R., Weller, C., Wills, B., Baay, M., Balasingam, S., Olesen, O. F., Neels, P.
Biologicals, (2024). :101745

Where do those data go? Reuse of screening results from clinical trials to estimate population prevalence of HBV infection in adults in Kilifi, Kenya.
Downs, L. O., Campbell, C., Abouyannis, M., Otiende, M., Kapulu, M., Obiero, C. W., Hamaluba, M., Ngetsa, C., Andersson, M. I., Githinji, G., Warimwe, G., Baisley, K., Scott, J. A. G., Matthews, P. C., Etyang, A.
J Virus Erad, (2023). 9:100355

Anti-merozoite antibodies induce natural killer cell effector function and are associated with immunity against malaria.
Odera, D. O., Tuju, J., Mwai, K., Nkumama, I. N., Fürle, K., Chege, T., Kimathi, R., Diehl, S., Musasia, F. K., Rosenkranz, M., Njuguna, P., Hamaluba, M., Kapulu, M. C., Frank, R., Osier, F. H. A., Abdi, A. I., Chi, P. C., de Laurent, Z., Jao, I., Kamuya, D., Kamuyu, G., Makale, J., Murungi, L., Musyoki, J., Muthui, M., Mwacharo, J., Kariuki, S., Mwanga, D., Mwongeli, J., Ndungu, F., Njue, M., Nyangweso, G., Kimani, D., Ngoi, J. M., Musembi, J., Ngoto, O., Otieno, E., Ooko, M., Shangala, J., Wambua, J., Mohammed, K. S., Omuoyo, D., Mosobo, M., Kibinge, N., Kinyanjui, S., Bejon, P., Lowe, B., Marsh, K., Marsh, V., Abebe, Y., Billingsley, P. F., Sim, B. K. L., Hoffman, S. L., James, E. R., Richie, T. L., Audi, A., Olewe, F., Oloo, J., Ongecha, J., Ongas, M. O., Koskei, N., Bull, P. C., Hodgson, S. H., Kivisi, C., Imwong, M., Murphy, S. C., Ogutu, B., Tarning, J., Winterberg, M., Williams, T. N.
Sci Transl Med, (2023). 15:eabn5993