1. Kansas State University
  2. »Division of Communications and Marketing
  3. »K-State Today
  4. »College of Veterinary Medicine presents research excellence award to Waithaka Mwangi

K-State Today

April 8, 2022

College of Veterinary Medicine presents research excellence award to Waithaka Mwangi

Submitted by Joe Montgomery

Waithaka Mwangi and Frank Blech

And the top faculty research award in the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine goes to: Waithaka Mwangi.

Mwangi was named the Zoetis Animal Health Award for Research Excellence at the Phi Zeta Research Day on March 1.

Mwangi's research program seeks to develop novel strategies for safely inducing immune protection against microbial pathogens in livestock. Major ongoing efforts are focused on the development of an African swine fever virus subunit vaccine and a broadly protective bovine viral diarrhea virus vaccine, adjuvants and diagnostic tools.

“It means a lot to me to be selected as the recipient of the 2022 Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence,” Mwangi said. “It is inspiring to be honored for the research efforts and I am grateful to the colleagues, students and staff who have helped me to be successful.”

“Dr. Mwangi is an exceptionally talented immunologist whose research encompasses some of the world’s most consequential animal and human pathogens,” said Frank Blecha, associate dean for research. “His work on African swine fever virus and SARS-CoV-2 is at the forefront of contemporary vaccine technology. Importantly, he is sharing his vast expertise with his students and mentoring the next generation of immunologists and virologists in his laboratory.”

Mwangi earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and parasitology from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, in 1990. He completed a doctorate and postdoctoral training in immunology at Washington State University in 2002 and 2004, respectively.

Mwangi was recruited to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University in July 2005 as an assistant professor and graduate faculty. He was promoted to a tenured associate professor in 2014. In October 2016, he joined the faculty at Kansas State University as a tenured associate professor, graduate faculty member and director of the flow cytometry laboratory. He was promoted to professor in spring 2019.

Mwangi has more than 25 years of experience working on vaccine design and antigen delivery platforms in large outbred animal species. His current research is focused on the development of SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccines. He has had more than $21 million in research grants and has mentored more than 60 graduate students at Texas A&M and K-State. He is an inventor or co-inventor on 14 patents and has published more than 50 journal articles and two book chapters.