Samwel Kariuki


I hail from a small agricultural village on the escarpments of the Great Rift Valley about 170 km from Nairobi city, Kenya. I hold a Bsc. (Botany and Zoology), Msc. (Plant Physiology and Biochemistry) and PhD (Genetics – Plant Genetics) all from the University of Nairobi. My research has been on agricultural crops key among them yam and banana. My most recent (as Graduate fellow with IITA) was collaborative BREAD project between UC Davis (Anne Britt) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) with Dr. Leena Tripathi---one of CurtisLab's collaborators on its NSF BREAD project---and entailed using genetic engineering to mutate a variant histone 3 protein (CENH3) and this was geared towards developing haploid inducers in banana. Haploid inducers are crucial when you want to have lines that breed true.

Research Project

I am joining Curtislab (October, 2017) under the DARPA funded Insect Allies Project. I will mainly be involved in plant molecular aspects of the project (including transformation) and the respective downstream analyses.


Muiruri, K. S., Britt, A., Amugune, N. O., Nguu, E. K., Chan, S., & Tripathi, L. (2017). Expressed Centromere Specific Histone 3 (CENH3) Variants in Cultivated Triploid and Wild Diploid Bananas (Musa spp.). Frontiers in Plant Science, 8(June), 1–12.

Muiruri, K. S., Britt, A., Amugune, N. O., Nguu, E., Chan, S., & Tripathi, L. (2017). Dominant Allele Phylogeny and Constitutive Subgenome Haplotype Inference in Bananas Using Mitochondrial and Nuclear Markers. Genome Biology and Evolution, 9(10), 2510–2521.