Malawian molecular geneticist Dr. Kingdom Kwapata has been named among the top ten genius young scientists in Africa for 2013.
The list was announced by Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (Fara) and Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a consortium of 30 universities in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.
The process that takes about a year to conclude involves screening over 3,000 potential young scientists from across the African continent by an expert panel of judges.
Amongst the top 10 for the first time in the history of Malawi is Kwapata, a molecular geneticist working with the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).
Kwapata possess a triple major cum laude PhD degree in Plant breeding, Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology from Michigan State University in the United States.
He is being recognized by the Pan-African network of research institutions as a promising young scientist for his work in genetic engineering of beans for drought and disease resistant which was part of his PhD research work.
Kwapata has got an international patent number PCT/US2011/047050 licensed in the USA for his invention of a novel technique of efficiently delivering transgenic DNA into recalcitrant plant cells and using this technique he developed the first ever drought and fungus resistant genetically modified bean variety.
His other work includes developing genetic engineering protocols for the synthesis of putative anti HIV inhibitors in plant and bacterial cells that are used as ingredients for ARV drugs.
Apart from working with LUANAR, Dr. Kingdom Kwapata is also collaborating as a lead scientist with the Malawi Police Service in establishing the first ever DNA forensic lab in Malawi where molecular profiling of criminals will be done along with performing paternity tests.