Dr. Rose Kigathi is Senior Lecturer at Pwani University, Kilifi in the Department of Biological Sciences where she lectures Plant Physiology, Ecology and Biostatistics. She holds a Diploma and BSc. in Horticulture from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (J.K.U.A.T) (2002), M.Sc., International Horticulture from the Leibniz University Hannover (2005), Germany and a PhD in Ecology from the Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany (2011). Her research focuses on plant adaptations to their environments (abiotic and biotic) and the role of biodiversity on ecosystem processes. Dr Kigathi uses chemical and molecular tools to gain deeper understanding of plant functioning with the motivation of being able to find sustainable solutions for agricultural and environmental applications. She has experience in training e.g. Proposal Writing, Biostatistics using R, Career Planning and Good Research Practice. She is interested in biodiversity conservation, management and harnessing biodiversity for sustainable livelihoods, especially in the face of climate change.


Development of indigenous species for cultivation on degraded soils: A project focusing on characterization of various indigenous species specifically to deal with salt stress, drought
stress and degraded soils.

Biodiversity & ecosystem function: Working in various coastal ecosystems like Arabuko Sokoke Forest (ASF) and Coastal marine habitats to understand the plant and microbial diversity and their effect on ecosystem functioning.

Pathogens in a changing climate: As the earth warms, it is anticipated that problems of pests and diseases will be exacerbated. Dr. Kigathi is interested in developing methods of

rapid surveillance of emerging pest and pathogens. She is currently involved in a collaborative project working on insect borne diseases funded by the OpenPlant initiative https://www.biomaker.org/. This project is collaboration between the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), KEMRI-Welcome Trust and other UK organizations. Dr. Kigathi has also worked on a collaborative study using genomic tools to understand the Wheat Stem Rust Pathogen dynamics in a changing climate (2016/17). This was done during a research stay at Dr. Diane Saunders Lab at the John Innes Centre (UK).

Integrative biology – Dr. Kigathi aims to work more collaboratively in a systems approach method with people from various disciplines to tackle to the problems of climate change and sustainability. She is actively involved in various groups working on OneHealth, Biodiversity Conservation and Management, Science and Society.


  1. International Foundation for Science (IFS), Role: Principal Investigator (PI)
    Title: Characterization of salt tolerance in African nightshades (Solanum nigrum complex)


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