John Muchiri



John Muchiri, obtained his BSc. Biochemistry/Chemistry from the University of Nairobi in 1996. Further proceeded to take MSc Biochemistry in the same university awarded 2000. His thesis focus was in factors associated withPhoto of John Muchiri spontaneous abortions using the goat model.

He later joined the Kenya Methodist University (KEMU), Department of Applied Biology as a young Faculty teaching biochemistry and immunology courses to undergraduate students.

In September to Dec 2001, John was invited as a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania working in Dr. Robert Doms group on HIV coreceptors before returning to his teaching job at KEMU. While teaching at KEMU John was involved in research collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Griffiths of Tufts University working on cryptosporidium in water and HIV patients in Meru, Kenya.

In 2009, John was selected through the Fulbright junior scholar program and was admitted to University of Rochester for PhD in Microbiology/Immunology program. Following his rotations, he joined Dr. Robert Bambara’s HIV group for his Thesis work.

Research Description

HIV/AIDS remains a global concern despite several antiretroviral therapies being approved for treatment. Many aspects of the virus replication mechanism and its ability to evade host immune defenses remain unresolved, and a successful vaccine has yet to be developed. In addition, the emergence of drug resistant mutants against existing antiretroviral therapies begs for new strategies. The objective of this research focuses on HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (HIV-RT), in an effort to unravel new ways for intervention. During reverse transcription, HIV-1 employs strand transfer and recombination between the two viral genomes.

John’s research has recently demonstrated that HIV-RT dissociates during strand transfer. The current focus is to further investigate RT dissociation properties on internal versus end transfer what difference mutations in RT might bring to its dissociation properties.

The second aspect of the research will address RT mutant genotypes that stimulate viral growth in the presence of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Using RT recombinant mutants, we will evaluate via biochemical and cell culture methods the mechanism that leads to viral growth stimulation.

Articles Published

  1. Muchiri JM, Rigby ST, Nguyen LA, Kim B, Bambara RA. HIV-1 reverse transcriptase dissociates during strand transfer. J Mol Biol. 2011 Sep 23;412(3):354-64. Epub 2011 Jul 29.
  2. Muchiri JM, Ascolillo L, Mugambi M, Mutwiri T, Ward HD, Naumova EN, Egorov AI, Cohen S, Else JG, Griffiths JK. Seasonality of Cryptosporidium oocyst detection in surface waters of Meru, Kenya as determined by two isolation methods followed by PCR. J Water Health. 2009 Mar;7(1):67-75.
  3. Biscone MJ, Miamidian JL, Muchiri JM, Baik SS, Lee FH, Doms RW, Reeves JD. Functional impact of HIV coreceptor-binding site mutations. Virology. 2006 Jul 20;351(1):226-36. Epub 2006 Apr 21.
  4. Tumbo-Oeri AG, Omwandho CA, Muchiri JM. Possible immunological basis for recurrent spontaneous abortions: a review. East Afr Med J. 2001 Nov;78(11):586-9.

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