WSU Global Health - Kenya Faculty 

Sylvia Omulo

Sylvia Omulo

Assistant Professor
Phone: 509-335-2489


Sylvia Omulo holds a PhD in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from Washington State University - USA, a master’s degree in Public Health degree (Distinction) from the University of Leeds - UK and a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science and Technology from the Egerton University - Kenya. She worked as a microbiologist (infectious disease diagnostics) for 7 years within the Diagnostics and Lab Systems of International Emerging Infections programs of the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Center for Disease Control (KEMRI/CDC) Public Health Collaboration Program. During this time, she developed expertise in the development and validation of molecular based diagnostic tests for detection of viral, protozoal, and bacterial pathogens associated with respiratory diseases, acute febrile illness and viral hemorrhagic fevers. She was also involved in various outbreak responses including the 2006-2007 Rift Valley Fever outbreak that affected Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania where she was key in establishing a field laboratory that conducted real-time PCR and ELISA tests required for case confirmation. Similarly, following suspected avian influenza outbreaks in the eastern African region, she was appointed the lead person coordinating all subtyping for influenza, submitting influenza test results and reporting virus sub-types to the World Health Organization (WHO) FluNet Program. She also helped establish and support influenza PCR diagnostic capacity in many countries in sub-Sahara Africa, including Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria.

Currently, Sylvia is an Assistant Professor at the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health at WSU where she leads an antimicrobial resistance research program in Kenya that is funded by the US Centers for Disease Control. This program focuses on identifying the risk factors for antibiotic resistance carriage in community and hospital settings and determining the possible trafficking of genetic material between resistant bacteria in these settings. This work builds on her PhD research which investigated the factors that contribute to the maintenance of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in a low-sanitation urban informal settlement community in Kenya. 


2018, Postdoc in Epidemiology, Washington State University, US.           

2017, PhD in Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Washington State University, US.

2011, MPH, University of Leeds, UK.

2005, BS in Biomedical Science and Technology, Egerton University, Kenya.

My team’s composition varies by the research questions we seek to address within the overarching subject of antimicrobial resistance. Field research and surveillance studies on antimicrobial use, antimicrobial consumption and antimicrobial resistance involve a mix of clinicians (doctors, nurses, and veterinarians in the case of animal studies), pharmacists, social workers, public health practitioners and biostatisticians. These studies are supported by a team of laboratory technologists who analyze samples. Working closely with Prof. Call, our research focuses on characterizing the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance, investigating antimicrobial use patterns and their drivers, and identifying simple interventions to mitigate the spread of antimicrobial resistance within communities and hospitals.

2016, Karen dePauw Leadership Award (Washington State University)

2011, John Griffith Prize (University of Leeds, UK)

2008, Superiority Honor Award (KEMRI/CDC)

2007, Outstanding Performance Award (KEMRI/CDC)

2007, Emerging Infections Honor Award (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services-CDC)