Project partners

A partnership of 12 organisations, spanning the U.K., India, Bangladesh and Kenya, is working on the IMAQulate project. An overview of project partners and their responsibilities is available below.


Machakos University (School of Pure and Applied Sciences)

Machakos University was established through a charter awarded in October 2016, as a successor to Machakos University College, previously established in 2011 as a Constituent College of Kenyatta University. Machakos University's core mandate is to teach, train, conduct research, innovate, collaborate, generate new knowledge and provide community service.

Dr Patricia N. Muendo 

Dr Patricia N. Muendo is a lecturer/researcher in the department of Biological Sciences, School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Machakos University. She has over 15 years experience in aquaculture education and research (pond nutrient dynamics, ecology and production systems). She has collaborated in various aquaculture research and development projects including PDA CRSP (USAID funded), INREF-Pond (Wageningen University, Netherlands), NICHE/KEN/158 (Nuffic – Netherlands), ASALI (University of Amsterdam) and MARICULTURE (Nacosti – Kenya), among others.

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI)

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Reesearch Institute (KMFRI) is a Kenyan state corporate body, established in 1979 under the Science and Technology Act (Cap 250), which has since been repealed by the Science, Technology and Innovation Act No. 28 of 2013. KMFRI is under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. KMFRI was established to conduct research on aquatic ecosystems covering both marine and freshwater. The Institute has grown from staff strength of 2 Research Scientists to the current 122 scientists. KMFRI's approved staff establishment stands at 1,350 employees.

Mary Opiyo 

Mary is a research officer at Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute based at National Aquaculture Research Development and Training Centre, Sagana. She holds an MSc in Aquaculture from Moi University, Kenya and is Currently Pursuing a PhD in Fisheries Science (Fish Health Management) at Kenyatta University. She has 8 year research experience in aquaculture focusing on improving productivity of aquaculture among smallholder farmers in Kenya. She will be carrying out the trials on probiotics use in tilapia aquaculture in Kenya and the farmers’ fish health survey under the IMAQulate project.


Our partners in Bangladesh are Bangladesh Agricultural University and WorldFish Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Agricultural University (Department of Aquaculture)

Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) is the first public Agricultural University established in Mymensingh, Bangladesh in 1961. The main task of the University is to tone up the quality and standard of higher agricultural education and to produce first rate agriculturists, agricultural scientists and technologists for shouldering the responsibilities of agricultural development of the country. BAU has six faculties offering seven bachelor’s degrees and several masters degrees. Out of six faculties, the Faculty of Fisheries established with its four departments, of which the Department of Aquaculture is the pioneer one contributing to teaching, research and development in various aspects of aquaculture.

Dr. M. Mahafujul Haque

Dr Mohammad Mahfujul Haque (Ripon) at the Department of Aquaculture, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAUI), Mymensingh has 16 years of teaching and research experience in aquaculture systems and development. In his doctoral study in the University of Stirling (UoS), he analyzed the household level livelihoods impacts of rice field-based fish seed production in Northwest Bangladesh. He contributed to the development process of Pangasius Aquaculture Dialogue Standards implemented by WWF. During 2008-2011, he worked as a monitoring specialist in Decentralized Fish Seed Project under RIUP funded by DFID. During 2007-2013, he taught web-based distance MSc programme between UoS and BAU. With the funding support from IFS, he analyzed wastewater and sediments of Pangasius ponds and developed some alternative techniques of utilizing the wastes. Later, he worked as a research investigator in EU funded SEAT project (2009-2013, 7thFramework Programme) to increase value and volume of farmed seafood exporting from Asia to EU market. During 2013-2014, he led an action research supported by EU funded project, ANEP to develop Integrated Floating Cage Aquageoponics System (IFCAS), an innovation of fish and vegetable production in underutilized shaded ponds. Recently he has completed a collaborative research project of transforming climate knowledge with and for the society funded by the Research Council of Norway. He has published a good number of articles in a variety of peer reviewed journals in recent years. The key interest of Dr. Haque is to contribute to the value-chain analysis of PHPs in the IMAQulate project.

Belal Hossain

Mr. Belal Hossain has more than 10 years working experience in the Department of Fisheries (DoF), Bangladesh holding different positions as Research Officer, Biochemist, Fish Inspection and Quality Control Officer in laboratory and Senior Upazila Fisheries Officer in the field level extension activities. He has skills to analyze fish, shrimp, feed, water samples to determine the chemical quality of products maintaining EU standards. He has expertise on method development and validation of the LCMSMS/HPLC system following international protocol. He has worked as Technical Manager in the accredited laboratory of DoF. He has participated in many long term and short term training programs especially on food/fish analysis in Bangladesh, India, France and Belgium. In addition to that he worked as a Focal person to implement the National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) and Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP) at the field level to determine the origin of residue contamination in fish and fishery products in Bangladesh. He has conducted many awareness training programs as trainer to the farmers and stakeholders. He published research articles in international journals and Fish week compendium, Department of Fisheries (DoF) Bangladesh. Now Mr. Belal is working as a Research Assistant in IMQAQulate project and doing PhD in the Department of Aquaculture, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh.

WorldFish Bangladesh

WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organisation, harnessing the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce hunger and poverty. It is one of 15 centres supported by the consultative group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). WorldFish has been working in Bangladesh for more than 28 years with focused research and development such as sustainable aquaculture, community-based inland and coastal fishery resources management, social and policy issues, networking and capacity building of national institutions and technology transfer to improve livelihoods, nutrition, income and food security of communities.

Mr Ahmad Jaman

Mr. Ahmed Jaman has been working in WorldFish Bangladesh for more than five years. He has been involved in research on fish health management, hatchery operation, farm economics, rice-fish production system, aquaculture value chain, monitoring and evaluation tools such as Sense maker, most significant change, participatory rural appraisal. He gained post-graduation in Fisheries Biology and Genetics from University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh.

Mr Hazrat Ali

Mr. Hazrat Ali has more than 8 years of experience in several research and development projects implemented in Bangladesh and Nepal. His skills included improve farm productivity of small scale farmers, value chain analysis, grassroots institution development, effective market linkage to make the system sustainable through Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA), sustainability, standard and certification in Bangladesh aquaculture, qualitative and quantitative data management, application of monitoring and evaluation tools such as SenseMaker, Most Significant Change (MSC). He has published five research articles in international peer reviewed journals.

Dr Muhammad Meezanur Rahman

Dr Meezanur Rahman is a scientist at WorldFish Bangladesh. He has 23 years experience in research, business and development projects. His professional accomplishments include leading, coordinating and participating in research and development projects, technical support, marketing and sales in south Asian countries (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines) and in an international aquaculture business company and implementation of aquaculture development projects in Bangladesh. His research interest covers shrimp/prawn and fish health management, improvements across the aquaculture value chain and production without medicalisation. He has been leading several research projects in WorldFish Bangladesh in collaboration with national and international universities, research centres and the private sector. He is a reviewer of international journals. Dr. Rahman conducted his Ph.D. research on the virulence of White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) isolates and the effect of temperature on WSSV infected shrimp at Ghent University, Belgium.

Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT)

The Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) was founded in 1957 and is the only national center where research in all disciplines relating to fishing and fish processing is undertaken. The Institute started functioning at Cochin in 1957 with satellite research centers now in Veraval (Gujarat), Visakhapatnam (AP) and Mumbai (Maharashtra).

The Institute functions with the following mandate:

  • basic and strategic research in fishing and processing
  • design and develop energy efficient fishing systems for responsible fishing and sustainable management
  • development of implements and machinery for fishing and fish processing
  • human resource development through training, education and extension.

Dr Toms C. Joseph (co-Principal Investigator)

Dr Joseph is a Senior Scientist at the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Cochin, India and co-Principal Investigator for the IMAQulate project. He has 17 years research experience in molecular microbiology. He has generated Rs. 84 million in research income. He has worked and published on the pathogenesis of disease caused by bacteria and viruses in fish and shellfish. His laboratory is well equipped with capabilities in microbiology and molecular biology, and these capabilities have been applied to studying the immune response of shrimp to WSV infection and characterisation of V. cholerae O139, the causative agent of cholera in human beings, from an outbreak in post-larval shrimp. He is also working towards developing a microarray-based system for the detection of multiple shrimp pathogens. Traditional cultivation-based and contemporary molecular biology, phylogenetic and bioinformatics techniques and technologies are routinely used in his laboratory.

Cochin University of Science and Technology (National Centre for Aquatic Animal Health)

The National Centre for Aquatic Animal Health (NCAAH) was established in 2000 to cater to the needs of aqua farmers in protecting the health of rearing stock through the introduction of recent advancements in marine biotechnology. The Centre aims to deliver ‘Relentless effort for the protection of health of aquatic animals and their environment’. To achieve this goal it continually endeavours to transfer the output of research directly to the end-users, the aqua farmers. The research and development activities of the Centre use cutting-edge technologies to deliver novel innovations for the development of sustainable aquaculture in India. The Centre is part of Cochin University of Science and Technology.

Prof. I.S. Bright Singh (co-Investigator)

Prof. Bright Singh is professor of Environmental Microbiology and Coordinator at the National Centre for Aquatic Animal Health, Cochin University of Science and Technology.  Prof. Bright Singh started with a post-graduation in Marine Biology and Doctorate in Marine Microbiology and began his Faculty career at Kerala Agricultural University. Based at CUST since 1991, his main concern has been ‘Aquatic Animal Health’, especially ‘Preventive Health Care’. He has developed, patented and commercialized nitrifying bioreactors and established RAS, developed ‘Zero water exchange culture systems’ and vaccines to mitigate WSSV in shrimp.  A process of extracting anti-white spot syndrome virus from mangrove plants has also been patented. He has instituted an M.Tech. Program in Marine Biotechnology (sponsored by DBT) and has ongoing research projects to the tune of INR 20 million (completed projects INR 70 million). Prof. Bright Singh has supervised 33 doctoral programs, published 93 research articles in reviewed journals, is the recipient of a UGC-BSR Fellowship, Dr. S. Jones Memorial Prize, Eminent Zoologist Gold Medal 2008, UGC-BSR-One Time Grant, UGC Visiting Associateship, and is an elected Fellow of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) ICAR.

Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS)

Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) is an autonomous public funded-institution established in 2010 and the first fisheries university in India.  It provides high quality instructional programmes in fisheries, ocean sciences and allied subjects. With a view to producing technocrats of high calibre, it provides highly qualified faculty, full fledged infrastructure facility and good linkages with reputed national and international institutes. 

Dr. K Padmakumar (Co-Investigator)

Pro Vice-Chancellor of KUFOS at Kochi, which has excellent expertise and facilities for laboratory and field trials in aquaculture. He was the Professor in the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, and also the Hon. Director of Centre for Marine Biodiversity, University of Kerala and has more than 25 years of experience in teaching and research. He received MSc, MPhil and PhD degrees in Marine Biology from Annamalai University, India.  He was the recipient of UGC National Merit Scholarship during his graduate studies and received Indian Council of Medical Research Fellowship during PhD program. He was SERC Young Scientist Project, Government of India. He is a Commonwealth Academic Fellow and worked at the Marine Biodiscovery Centre, University of Aberdeen. A certified SCUBA diver involved in Marine Biological research since 1983 and has worked on Marine Biodiversity and Chemical Ecology, Chemistry of Bioactive Marine Natural Products. He is also the PI of the ongoing national multi-institutional research program on Monitoring of Harmful Algal Bloom funded by Ministry of Earth Sciences and Discovering Antimalarial from Marine Organisms, funded by DBT since 2005.  He received research grants from several agencies: UNESCO, DANIDA, Department of Science and Technology, DBT, Department of Ocean Development, Ministry of Environment and Forests. He has successfully implemented Indo-German (DST-DAAD), Indo-Japan (DST-JSPS) and Indo-Russia (DST-RFBR) projects through international collaboration. He is currently a Member of Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority, Ministry of Environment and Forests.


Our project partners in the U.K. are the University of Stirling (project lead), the Quadram Institute, the John Innes Centre, the Royal Veterinary College, the University of St Andrews and the University of Liverpool.

University of Stirling (Sustainable Aquaculture Group, Institute of Aquaculture)

The Sustainable Aquaculture Group (within the Institute of Aquaculture) addresses key areas of long term Resilience and Sustainability of the Sector resulting in improved Aquatic Food Security. Our activities are strongly integrated across the group and encompass environmental modelling, all forms of carrying capacity, spatial analysis, biodiversity and new species, international development, securing and improving fishers' livelihoods, value chains and life cycle assessment. Much of this operates under the guidelines of the Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture. 

Dr Francis Murray (Principal Investigator)

As Principal Investigator for the IMAQulate project, Dr Francis Murray has nearly 25 years experience in aquaculture, encompassing industry, academic research, rural development and consultancy (Stirling Aquaculture). Dr Murray has a broad inter-disciplinary perspective on the aquaculture sector.  

He has commercial experience in salmon production and a research background on integrated small-holder aquaculture systems in Asia and Africa, working with CARE International and the World Fish Centre. He was a co-ordinator of a highly inter-disciplinary EU-FP7 large-scale collaborative research-project Sustaining Ethical Aquaculture Trade (2009-2014).  This project assessed the sustainability of major export seafood commodity groups farmed in Asia acknowledging values and perspectives of stakeholders along entire value chains. He currently specialises in global value chain analysis and is in a Horizon2020 research consortium (PRIMEFISH) researching competitiveness of European aquaculture and fisheries. He also coordinates various research projects exploring novel approaches to reducing aquacultures dependency on marine feed ingredients.

Prof Dave Little (Co-Investigator)

Prof Dave Little is a systems scientist with over 30 years experience in leading research and capacity building initiatives in Asia. He has a broad-based interdisciplinary background that has spanned commercial and developmentally focused research, supervised more than 100 postgraduate research students, including more than 20 PhDs. Since his time working at the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, he has continued to develop a network of collaborators throughout the region through research projects and distance learning initiatives. He has served as a Director of the World Aquaculture Society, is an advisor to various certification and standard setting organisations (Global Aquaculture Alliance, Soil Association, Monterey Bay Aquaria) and edits the Sustainability and Society section of the journal Aquaculture.

Mahmoud El Tholth (PDRA)

Dr Mahmoud Eltholth is an epidemiologist and health economist with over 10 years’ experience in animal and aquatic research. Mahmoud’s main area of interest is Epidemiology, Public Health, Aquaculture, Value Chain Analysis and Health Economics. He has been a co-investigator in many national and international multidisciplinary projects in collaboration with the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, World Fish Centre and the International Livestock Research and the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling. Along his career, Mahmoud has gained experience in qualitative and quantitative research methods. Mahmoud contributes to the preparation and delivery of Epidemiology and Veterinary Public Health lectures for undergraduate and postgraduate courses. He has also been supervising several research projects and MSc Veterinary Epidemiology dissertations.

Mahmoud’s current position is Postdoctoral Researcher at Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling on BBSRC and Newton funded projects “Evaluating Costs and Benefits of Prophylactic Health Products and Novel Alternatives on Smallholder Aquaculture Farmers in Asia and Africa (IMAQulate)” in India, Kenya and Bangladesh and “Behavioural Prophylaxis in Tilapia” in Egypt.

William Leschen

Will Leschen has 20 years experience in commercial, interdisciplinary aquaculture research and government sector engagement, both within the UK and developing countries. Recently this has included managerial and coordinating roles in EU and Scottish government funded projects in Asia (Sustaining Ethical Aquaculture Trade) and Africa (Aquaculture Enterprise Malawi). He also has experience in setting up successful African aquaculture networks (SARNISSA) with over 2000 members following and sharing information and contacts across borders and languages.  Will has an extensive background in aquatic animal health.

Robyn Shilland (Research Administrator)

With a MSc in Marine Environmental Management and experience of working with Kenyan communities on mangrove conservation, Robyn is supporting the team of IMAQulate researchers to deliver key project outcomes.  

Quadram Institute

The Quadram Institute is the only publicly funded UK research institute that focuses on the underlying science of food and health to address the global challenges of: 

• Food Security
• Diet and Health
• Healthy Ageing
• Food Waste

Our mission is to be an international leader in research that addresses the fundamental relationships between food and health, food and the gut and the sustainability of the food chain in order to further the production of safe, healthy foods.

Dr Nathalie Juge

Dr Juge is a Group Leader at the Institute of Food Research. Her research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning gut bacteria-mucus interactions, reflecting the emerging paradigm that mucus is critical to maintain a homeostatic relationship with gut microbiota and that any deviations from this dynamic interaction have major implications for animal health. Employing a combination of genomic, molecular and biochemical techniques, understanding the mechanisms by which gut commensals interact with host mucus and complex dietary glycans are being addressed. These underpinning studies provide an evidence base upon which to base informed decisions about gut health, diet and therapeutic intervention.

John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology.  Our mission is to generate knowledge of plants and microbes through innovative research; apply our knowledge of nature’s diversity to benefit agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being; train scientists for the future and engage with policy makers and the public.  The research we do makes use of a wide range of disciplines in biological and chemical sciences, including microbiology, cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics, molecular biology, computational and mathematical biology.

Prof. Rob Field

Prof. Rob Field has over 30 years experience in multidisciplinary chemical biology research, publishing nearly 200 research papers and review articles  delivering over 175 research lectures and generating ca £14M in research income. He maintains extensive collaborative research links around the world, reflecting research interests that range from bacterial adhesion and infection, through polysaccharide biochemistry and enzymology to the development of small molecule inhibitor approaches to treat infectious disease. An underlying feature of Prof. Field’s research is the development of new technologies, including carbohydrate microarrays and glyconanoparticle-based diagnostics.

Dr Ravindra Pal Singh

Dr Ravindra Pal Singh is a Research Assistant at the Department of Biochemistry, John Innes Centre, United Kingdom. He has been performing research on glyconomics and gut microbiome under IMAQulate project. He obtained his PhD at CSIR - Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Bhavnagar, India in 2013. He did previous postdocs at Tel Aviv University Isreal, Saurashatra University India and Kyushu University Japan. he has also been working in the area of host-bacterial interaction, microbial ecology, bacteriology, drug discovery and analytical chemistry during and since his PhD and previous postdocs. He has published 26 articles in scientific peer reviewed journals, 2 books, and 1 patent. He is also playing a role as Review Editor for Frontiers in Microbiology journal.

Royal Veterinary College

The Royal Veterinary College is the largest and longest-established vet school in the English-speaking world and is a college of the University of London.  The College offers undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD programmes in veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing and is ranked in the top 10 UK universities for biosciences. As one of the world's leading specialist veterinary and biological science research institutions, the RVC brings together talented individuals; all of whom share a passion for human and animal health and welfare.

Dr. Rachel Lawrence

Dr. Lawrence is a Senior Lecturer in Immunology. Her work has studied the immunology of nematode infection for over 25 years and has been central for the understanding of immunoregulatory mechanisms that temper inflammation. Her current research seeks to identify the immunological environment that controls both pathogen clearance and immunopathology in vertebrate hosts. RL has recently initiated a new program of research using zebrafish as a model of infectious disease to understand the interplay between microbiota, pathogens and modulation of the host immune environment. She supervises a Bloomsbury Consortium PhD student to investigate the influence of temperature change upon immunity to infectious disease in a zebrafish model. In addition, RL has a NC3Rs PhD student and is part of a multi-disciplinary BBSRC program, both of which investigate the role of the microbiome in induction of immunity to infection in fish.

University of St Andrews, Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI)

Founded in the 15th century, the University of St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. Marine Biology at St Andrews covers aquatic environments, evolutionary processes, behavioural biology, biodiversity, biological sustainability, marine microbiology and marine mammal biology. The Scottish Oceans Institute is an interdisciplinary research institute within the University that is dedicated to understanding the marine environment. Marine Biology is located in the Gatty Marine Laboratory on the sea front at the East Sands. It’s staff are members of the School of Biology. Other members of SOI are drawn from the Schools of Geography and Geoscience or Mathematics and Statistics.

Dr. Valerie Smith

Val Smith is a comparative immunologist and environmental microbiologist at the Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews. She specialises in marine and aquatic animal health, primarily fish and shellfish. In addition to the IMAQulate project, she is also co-Principal Investigator on two other BBSRC-Newton Fund international consortium projects investigating the various factors that influence disease susceptibility in farmed fish and shrimp in Asian aquaculture. Separate current research lines include understanding the multi-functionality of whey acidic four disulphide core antimicrobial proteins (known as crustins) in decapods, and the role of chromatin externalised from the nuclei of phagocytes in both fish and invertebrates. She has published over 120 research papers over her 38-year academic career and has been a long-standing member of the International Society for Developmental and Comparative Immunology for which she held the Presidential Office from 2006 to 2015. She is also a member of the Editorial Boards of Developmental and Comparative ImmunologyFish and Shellfish Immunology and Frontiers in Immunology.

University of Liverpool

Professor Kenton Morgan (co-Investigator)

Coming soon