Ekta Patel is ILRI's scientist and bioscience communications manager who aims to bridge the scientific and communications gaps between science, value chains, consumers and donors by supporting the various programs at ILRI.
Her research activities include disease risks associated with bushmeat/wild meat hunting, trade and consumption in Kenya and Tanzania, including pathogen characterization. Additional activities include mapping of resistant genes, mobile genetic elements and resistant bacteria at the wildlife-livestock-ecosystem interface including waste water surveillance.
Ekta holds a PhD in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa funded through a Welcome Trust fund and an undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota, U.S.A. She has over nine years of research experience where she worked to understand how gut bacterial genes drive drug resistance mechanisms (UCT, South Africa) as well as research experience on molecular characterization of apicomplexan parasites and vaccine and diagnostics development for the fatal bovine disease, East coast fever (ILRI, Kenya).
Ekta has previously worked as a country manager for a U.S based non-governmental-organization (Aquaya Inc) to provide clean drinking water systems in rural Kenya and has also worked in the biotechnology industry in the U.S to develop autologous fibroblast systems (Isolagen Inc). While scientific research in the areas of infectious disease remain close to her, her communicative interests include risk communications, antimicrobial awareness and addressing biosecurity issues related to livestock diseases and development in Africa.