school and education






Professor Idah Sithole-Niang

Professor Idah Sithole-Niang

PhD – Biochemistry (1988) Michigan State University, USA; BSc Hons Biochemistry (1982) University of London UK 

Discipline: Biochemistry

Department: Biochemistry

Bio & Academic Appointments 

  • Professor, University of Zimbabwe, Department of Biochemistry, Jan 2013
  • Associate Professor, University of Zimbabwe, Department of Biochemistry Jan 2004-2012   
  • Chairperson of Department, University of Zimbabwe,  Biochemistry Dec 2008- June 2011   
  • Senior Lecturer, University of Zimbabwe, Department of Biochemistry, 1998-2003   
  • Lecturer, University of Zimbabwe, Department of Biochemistry, 1992-1998 
  • Visiting Scientists, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA, 1993-1995.
  • Visiting Scientists, University of Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France Nov 1992 
  • Research Associate, Plant Molecular Biology, Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA, 1988-1992
  • External Examiner, Department of Applied Biology & Biochemistry, National University of Science & Technology, October 2005 -2016
  • External Examiner, Chinhoyi University of Technology, October 2005 -2007.
  • External Examiner, University of Namibia, Biology Department 2006- 2011.
  • External Examiner, University of the West Indies, Department of Basic Biology 2008.
  • Participated in several Expert Consultative & Strategic Planning meetings on Biotechnology & Biosafety globally.

Research InterestsMolecular Biology, Virology & Biotechnology

  • Characterization of bacterial and fungal endophytes from Medicinal Plants of Zimbabwe
  • Soil Microbiology of Zimbabwe & Metagenomics of Extreme Environments
  • Crop Improvement With Special Emphasis on Genetic Engineering of Virus Resistance to Cowpea Aphis-Borne Mosaic Virus (CABMV)

Grants & Funding (Current & Past Projects)

  • Provision of a Teaching Kit to Support Molecular Biology Training at the University of Zimbabwe: Kirkhouse Trust
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • USAID Bean/cowpea CRSP
  • African Soils Microbiology Project
  • Molecular Reagents Manufacturers (MRM): Laboratory Equipment & Consumables (LEC)

Awards & Achievements

  • STEMFem Award. Women Leading in STEM Research Biotechnology Education. 2018. 
  • Winner 2017 Science in Africa: Celebrating African Scientists advancing the continent and the world.
  • Rockefeller Biotechnology Career Fellow, June 1992-1995.
  • The first William L. Brown & Inaugural ISAAA fellowship awarded to outstanding biotechnologist, 1990.
  • Outstanding Graduate Woman of the Year, Michigan State University, 1988

Consultancy & Advisory Work (Current & Past)

  • World Bank
  • FAO
  • AATF/NGICA Cowpea Productivity & Utilization Project
  • IITA

Supervision Information

  • 58 Honours Students completed 6 ongoing
  • 48 Masters Students completed and 3 ongoing
  • 1 MPhil: supervisor: ongoing
  • 5 DPhil: Supervisor /co-supervisor on going
  • 8 DPhil Completed

Professional Memberships & Boards

  • Fellow World Academy of the Sciences (TWAS)
  • Fellow Zimbabwe Academy of the Sciences (ZAS)
  • Vice Chairperson, Research Council of Zimbabwe
  • Member of the University of Zimbabwe Council. July 2015- June 2018. & Sept 2018 to 2021.
  • Chair, UZ Publications Committee
  • Editorial Advisory Board for Acta Scientific Pharmaceutical Sciences Jan 2018
  • Committee member of the Education Committee for Higher Life Foundation 2018 –


  • Member of the International Advisory Board on the Horticulture Innovation Lab at University of California, Davis, Jan 2014-2017.
  • Member of the Independent Review Panel of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Mid-Term Review Panel chaired by Professor Sir John Beddington. Nov 2013-2014
  • Formerly Advisor to Mr. Kofi Annan  when he was Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Board of Trustees; and I now serve as a  Member of the Grants Review Committee (GRC) of the AGR) and. Oct 2012- Jan 2018.
  • Board Chair and Trustee of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) 2009, and Chair 2011- 2015;  and now  serve as Ambassador to AATF Board, 2016-2018.
  • Member of the Inaugural Oversight Committee for the Improved Maize for African Soils (IMAS) 2010- 2015.
  • Chairperson of the Inaugural African Women for Agricultural Research & Development Steering Committee (AWARD-SC), 2008, Vice Chairperson 2010-2011, and Chair 2011- 2016.
  • Member of the Rhodes scholarship Committee 2008- 2013.
  • Editorial Advisory to the journal, Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants 2004 –present
  • Member of the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) Governing Council 2003-2008, and Chair of the Nominations Committee and Vice Chairperson Jan 2006-2008.
  • Co-coordinator of the Network for the Genetic Improvement of Cowpea for Africa (NGICA), 2001-

External Profile Links (Google Scholar, ResearchGate, LinkedIn, other social media links)

  • Google Scholar
  • ResearchGate

Contact Information

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  • +263-733412801
  • +263-771674711

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