African Nutritional Sciences Research Consortium

The African Nutritional Sciences Research Consortium (ANSRC) brings together academic and research institutions from across the East African region, with the goal of building PhD training programs in basic laboratory research in nutritional and agricultural sciences. ANSRC consists of members from seventeen East African institutions of higher learning and research, and includes representatives from: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. ANSRC is being facilitated by faculty from the Institute of Human Nutrition (IHN), University of Wisconsin, and the University of Nairobi. IHN has established a coordinating office for this program at Columbia University’s Global Center Nairobi.


As of 2017, ANSRC has entered into collaborations with the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) to advance graduate education in East Africa. ANSRC works in concert with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) and the African Population and Health Research Consortium (APHRC), which offer successful training in economics and public health, respectively.  

ANSRC will be responsible for admitting graduate students to the program through the participating universities in East Africa, establishing curricula and laboratory training, monitoring research projects, establishing Research Centers within which basic science infrastructure and activities will be enhanced, and as a consortium, for determining the quality of the dissertation to merit a PhD degree.  Planning is underway to integrate training in two key areas: one in basic human nutritional sciences and another in agricultural laboratory training and development.

ANSRC will not just offer laboratory-based training for academics’ sake, but will also link graduate student training to a “path to action”, wherein students will be conducting basic research relating to health, disease, and food security in East Africa. ANSRC will also strive to establish private–public sector interactions, to ensure that their research projects enhance local economic development. Thus, long-term capacity building in human nutrition will be linked with agriculture and food production.  

History of the Consortium

An informal meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya in January 2012, which established the goals of the consortium following successful visits of the consortium facilitators to multiple institutions in East Africa. Subsequent funding from the African Development Bank supported ANSRC’s formal initiation, and included a meeting of potential partners which convened in Nairobi in January, 2013. A second ANSRC meeting was held in Arusha, Tanzania in 2013 during which the initial results from the various working groups (Curriculum, Infrastructure, Human Resources, and Admissions/Monitoring) were presented. The 2014 ANSRC meeting was held in Kampala, Uganda, and included final reports of the working groups, the selection of Professor John Kakitahi, formerly of Makerere University, to serve as the Executive Director of ANSRC, and the designation of the CGC Africa as the site for ANSRC’s offices.  ANSRC meetings in 2015 and 2016 were held in Nairobi, Kenya, and their primary focus was on curriculum development and the creation of timelines for setting up research labs.


ANSRC Leadership

  • John Kakitahi

    Executive Director

  • Murugi Ndirangu, PhD

    Director, Columbia Global Centers Nairobi; East Africa Coordinator for ANSRC

Program Facilitators

  • Richard Deckelbaum, MD

    Director, Institute of Human Nutrition Columbia University Medical Center

  • Bonnie Dunbar, PhD

    Adjunct Professor University of Nairobi

  • James Ntambi, PhD

    Professor of Biochemistry and Nutrition University of Wisconsin

  • James Wariero, B. Pharma


  • Debra Wolgemuth, PhD

    Nutritional and Metabolic Biology Doctoral Training Program Director Institute of Human Nutrition Columbia University Medical Center