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Dr. Leena Tripathi

Director Eastern Africa Hub
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Dr. Leena Tripathi is the Director of Eastern Africa Hub and Leader of the Biotechnology Program at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). She is leading the transgenic and gene-editing research at IITA. She has been involved in plant biotechnology research for more than 25 years, with specific interests in crop improvement.  She focuses on “Science to Practice” and linking scientific innovations to practical applications to solve food production issues worldwide. Her primary research focuses on genetically improving important staple food crops like banana/plantain, cassava, and yam to control diseases and pests. Her scientific contributions have been recognized internationally through several awards and honors, such as excellence awards for outstanding scientist and publications. She has been honored as an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for her contributions to Agriculture.

Dr. Tripathi and her team have established a robust genetic transformation platform at IITA-Kenya, to develop transgenic and gene-edited products and transfer these technologies to national agricultural research systems in sub-Saharan Africa. She collaborates globally with advanced labs in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia, as well as with national partners in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Rwanda, and various regional partners. She serves as Editorial Board Member for Plant Biotechnology Journal, Communication Biology, Frontiers in Genome Editing, Scientific Reports, and Plant Cell Reports. Leena obtained her Ph.D. in plant molecular biology and M.Sc. in molecular biology and biotechnology. She worked at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before joining IITA.