ILRI MSc Graduate Fellowship: Goat Health: Harnessing Bacteriophages for Mastitis Prevention in Kenya (GO HEAL MASTITIS) (2 positions)

  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Full-time
  • CapDev

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit two (2) MSc graduate fellows to work in the Goat Health: Harnessing Bacteriophages for Mastitis Prevention in Kenya project. The successful fellow will be hosted by the Animal and human health program at ILRI.                                                                                                   

ILRI works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centers ( dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices in East, South and Southern Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa.    

The Animal and Human Health program seeks to effectively manage or eliminate livestock, zoonotic and food-borne diseases that matter to the poor through the generation and use of knowledge, technologies and products, leading to higher farmer incomes and better health and nutrition for consumers and livestock.

The positions

The MSc students will play a pivotal role in the “Go Heal Mastitis” project, a collaborative effort with Laval University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). This groundbreaking initiative seeks to pioneer a phage-based intervention to combat mastitis in goats and mitigate the dependency on antibiotics in Kenyan goat farming. Engaging actively in the project, students will undertake tasks including isolating mastitis-causing bacteria such as Staphylococcus sp. and identifying bacteriophages (phages) tailored to combat these bacterial strains. Their primary focus will be on the comprehensive characterization of these bacterial isolates and phages, encompassing both in vitro and in vivo   experiments.

Terms and reference

  1. Collaborate with supervisor(s), to design and develop MSc research proposals that outlines the objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes of the study.
  2. Isolate of Staphylococcus sp. strains.
  3. Isolate Staph-specific phages.
  4. Characterize the bacteriophages.
  5. Assess the antibiotic susceptibility of Staphylococcus sp. strains and the presence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes in these isolates.
  6. Evaluate the ability of key phages to reduce mastitis in animal models.
  7. Utilize statistical tools to analyze the data, interpret findings, and draw meaningful conclusions from the study.
  8. Prepare reports, publications, and conference presentations to share the results of the study with the scientific community and relevant stakeholders.
  9. Effectively manage project timelines, budgets, and resources allocated to the study.

Minimum requirements for the ideal candidate

  • BSc degree in microbiology and immunology, biochemistry, or molecular biology.
  • Work experience (1+ years) in a microbiology laboratory, with training in bacterial culture and molecular biology assays such as PCR/qPCR   is an added advantage.
  • Experience working with phages is an added advantage.
  • Completed coursework at JKUAT in an MSc degree in the stated related fields above is an added advantage.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to collaborate effectively with team members and stakeholders.
  • Self-motivated and proactive, with the ability to work independently and take the lead in research activities.

Location: ILRI Kenya.

Duration: 2 Years.

Terms of appointment and stipend: ILRI will offer a competitive stipend to cover living expenses in the project location, medical cover and research expenses. The successful candidate will be supervised jointly by an ILRI scientist, JKUAT academic supervisor.

All applications MUST include the following (applications without the below documents will not be considered):

  • A cover letter expressing their interest in the fellowship position and what they can bring to the fellowship.
  • CV including names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience.
  • Academic qualification certificates/transcripts.

Applications should be made to the Capacity Development Manager, through our recruitment portal on or before 19/04/2024. The position title and reference number ILRI MSc GF/AHH/02/2024 should be clearly marked on the subject line of the cover letter.

We thank all applicants for their interest in working for ILRI. Due to the volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

ILRI does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing or training). ILRI also does not concern itself with information on applicants' bank accounts.

To find out more about ILRI visit our websites at