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Dr. Kevin Njabo

Dr. Kevin Njabo

Kevin Njabo, a fellow of the African Scientific Institute, holds a Ph.D. in biology from Boston University.

When Kevin Njabo was young his parents’ ambition was to see him become a doctor. They may have been surprised when Kevin fulfilled their ambition not as a medical doctor but with a Ph.D. in Ornithology. Yet it was Kevin’s father, a British trained vet, who first inspired his son’s interest in the natural world, which he taught him to observe and respect and thus become one of the pioneer Ornithologists of Cameroon today.

Kevin Njabo was born in Buea in southwest Cameroon. He attended local primary and secondary schools, specializing in biology and maths. He was always interested in birds in general and this interest was strengthened when he continued to the Universities of Ife and Ibadan, both schools in Nigeria to study biology and ecology. He later earned his BSc and MSc degrees in Nigeria. He was first introduced to practical ornithology by Ron Demey and Marc Languy, who would become his “bird mentors”.

Kevin later worked for several years in helping to establish a new NGO in Cameroon dedicated to the conservation of avifauna as well as wider taxa (the Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society formerly, Cameroon Ornithological Club) and played a principal role in surveying the avifauna of Cameroon to identify areas high in endemism and biodiversity so that conservation efforts could be prioritized, developing an impressive knowledge of Cameroon birds in the process.

Kevin’s earned his Ph.D. in May 2006 and his dissertation research examined the systematics and phytogeography of montane forest birds in Cameroon and included both fieldwork in Cameroon and molecular genetic analyses in the laboratory. Between January 2007 and July 2010, Kevin served as a Post-Doctoral Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles. His main research focus was on Emerging infectious tropical diseases, biodiversity, and health where he worked with a team investigating the effects of deforestation on the prevalence of blood-borne pathogens in African rainforest birds. He also supervised a team on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research project to study avian flu in Cameroon and Egypt.

Kevin also serves on several professional bodies including the Board of Governors and Vice President/Membership for the Society for Conservation Biology; Council Member of the Pan African Ornithological Congress Committee (PAOCC), 2008-2016, member of the International Association for Impact Assessment, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and member of the International Association for Impact Assessment. He is also a reviewer for the Society for Conservation Biology, Students Awards Abstracts; a Mentor for the SCB Africa Section Communications/Mentoring Program since 2007 and an invited reviewer for Molecular Ecology, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution; Ostrich: Journal African of Ornithology, African Journal of Ecology, IBIS, the International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation, Parasitology and Vector Biology and Parasitology, and Climate Change

Dr. Kevin Njabo, is Africa Director of the Congo Basin Institute and the progress report is immense. In June 2015, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and the University of California signed a partnership agreement and created the Congo Basin Institute (CBI) in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Inspector General of the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation. The Congo Basin Institute (CBI) is the first integrative, international research and training center in the Congo Basin and serves as a local research hub for African scientists and international collaborators to respond effectively and efficiently to the region’s most pressing concerns. They organize Professional Development Workshops, Socio-Economic Professional Development Workshops, Science and Policy summit etc. In Outreach, The Congo Basin Institute has invested significant time in reaching out to a diverse set of stakeholders in the US. At UCLA, CBI is in the process of developing or strengthening collaborations with the Luskin School of Public Affairs, African Studies Center, the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, Student Affairs, the David Geffen School of Medicine, the UCLA Blockchain Lab, the Anderson School of Management, the Fielding School of Public Health, and the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences (GSEIS). External outreach has also been a focus. CBI’s Africa Director Dr. Kevin Njabo joined African heads of State and a host of other luminaries as an invited speaker at this year’s TED Global annual conference in Arusha, Tanzania.

In August 2017, Kevin gave a TED talk on how to stop Africa’s scientific brain drain at the TEDGlobal Conference held at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Arusha,