Employing institution: University of Kabianga, Kenya

Host institution: University of Nottingham, UK

Project title: Strengthening capacity to study the dietary and environmental influence on the incidence of micronutrient deficiencies and related diseases in East Africa.

Dr Onyangore holds a PhD in Environmental Health (Food Safety and Nutrition), with research interests including iron and other micronutrients, their interactions with toxins and toxicants, and how this may impact upon maternal and child health. She is currently a lecturer and Head of the Department of Public Health at the University of Kabianga in Kenya.

AREF Fellowship:

Poor pregnancy outcomes due to toxin-nutrient interactions make us ask the question: are antioxidant nutrients effective in preventing iron and iodine deficiency and adverse health outcomes among mothers and infants exposed to inorganic lead? After taking longitudinal measurements of antioxidants and lead, Dr Onyangore aims to conduct environmental and nutritional risk assessments to determine the risk of developing nutrient deficiencies due to organic lead.

The co-existence of iron, iodine and possibly other micronutrients deficiencies, with the presence of inorganic lead and other toxicants will inform an intervention – for example, supplementation with a specific effective antioxidant to curb deficiencies and other diseases based on the results, as a way forward to prevent adverse outcomes.

Based at the British Geological Survey and the University of Nottingham, Dr Onyangore will develop national and international collaborations to investigate the spatial incidence of health conditions, and possible geospatial influences, and manage research to strengthen local capacity for environmental health. Through her mentor, Dr Erick Mibei, the institution will aid in the preparation stage and provide technical advice on the implementation and follow up period.

“This Fellowship will pave the way for achievement of my longer-term goals by enhancing my knowledge of relevant techniques, developing my understanding of how to form research teams, be competitive for research funding and build an international collaborative network.”