Rachel Chikwamba, Ph.D.
Counsel for Center for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa
Dr. Chikwamba is a Chief Scientist in the Biosciences Unit of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa. Her background is in plant genetics, in particular metabolic engineering of plants to make new metabolites and proteins for health and pharmaceutical application. She is an internationally recognized research leader in plant-made pharmaceuticals and is a member of various global consortia, including EU framework programs such as Pharmaplanta, EMPRO and more recently CHAARM (http://chaarm.eu ). Dr. Chikwamba is the CSIR team leader in the African Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) project, focusing on nutritional fortification of sorghum to improve pro-vitamin A, protein quality and mineral bioavailability. Locally, she is a principal investigator on several multimillion rand research initiatives focusing on the expression of antibodies in tobacco and candidate subunit vaccines. Chikwamba is the scientific leader of the GreenPharm initiative, which focuses on the establishment of a plant based platform technology to produce clinical grade antibody therapeutics. She mentors several postgraduate students at all levels, and teaches undergraduate and post graduate courses at the University of Pretoria where she has a teaching appointment in the Department of Plant Science. Chikwamba is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, an honorary research fellow at St Georges Hospital, University of London, a CSIR Bioscience Fellow and a member of the CSIR Strategic Research Panel.