Thomas Risley Odhiambo
Odhiambo was born in Alego, Kenya. He earned his bachelor’s at Makerere University in Uganda and completed his PhD in 1965 in the field of insect physiology at the University of Cambridge. His supervisor was the renowned Sir Vincent Wigglesworth. Odhiambo’s remarkable doctoral research on the desert locust yielded a series of 14 papers. He returned to Kenya after his studies to become a lecturer in the Department of Zoology at the University of Nairobi.
In 1967, Odhiambo founded the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) at the University of Nairobi with the goal to ‘create motivated and highly talented ‘human capital’ in insect research and related areas of science, to enable Africa to sustain herself and to lead the entire pan-tropical world in this area of endeavour’. Today, ICIPE staffs more than 400 people and collaborates with over 200 institutions on a global scale. Two decades later, Odhiambo also founded The World Academy of Science, African Academy of Sciences and Kenya National Academy of Sciences. In 1987, he was the inaugural recipient of the Africa Prize for Leadership and has won many other awards and honours. Odhiambo passed away in 2003 from liver cancer.