Kelvin Kamfwa: Multiplying Benefits with Biotech

The Grad Factor: Kelvin Kamfwa
The Grad Factor: Kelvin Kamfwa


Kelvin Kamfwa, is pursuing a doctorate in plant breeding, genetics, and biotechnology in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. A former student and lecturer of crop science at the University of Zambia, Kamfwa conducts plant breeding research with Jim Kelly, a professor in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, who has been breeding new bean varieties for more than 30 years.

He is one of the outstanding graduate students who are being profiled as part of The Grad Factor project. The project will feature a new student each week.

Watch the video above to learn more about Kamfwa.

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Meet Kelvin Kamfwa, one of the trailblazing Spartan graduate students who help keep Michigan State University at the forefront of discovery. Throughout the spring of 2014, an MSU film crew, including a team of student producers, documented the important work these students do every day as they collaborate with some of MSU’s top researchers.



More About Kelvin Kamfwa

Fall 2013
profile pic
Kelvin Kamfwa
Michigan State University
Department & Degree:
Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology, PhD student
US Mentor institution:
Michigan State University
CGIAR Mentor Institution:
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Genome-wide Association Analysis for Biological Nitrogen Fixation in Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)

Kelvin Kamfwa, is a lecturer at the University of Zambia on study leave to pursue his PhD in Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology at Michigan State University (MSU).  His research is looking at genome-wide association analysis for biological nitrogen fixation in common beans.  His work is aimed at identifying superior germplasm, QTL, and genes for nitrogen fixation in common beans.  Through his Borlaug LEAP fellowship, Kamfwa will have the opportunity to conduct a field trial at CIAT-Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Bodo Raatz, a breeder at CIAT.  Dr. Raatz will oversee the phenotypic analysis.  His US mentor, Dr. James Kelly, Professor at MSU, will oversee his research and data collection in Zambia.  The team will work closely with Mr. Kennedy Muimui, Bean Program Leader at the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI), who will supervise the in-country field trials.

Mr. Kamfwa believes breeders should use all the tools at their disposal including biotechnology.  To increase the acceptability of genetically modified crops in Africa, there is need to work on traits that are more relevant to the farming systems in Africa including drought tolerance.  He feels this technology could potentially play a critical role in addressing the food deficits in Africa.  Once Mr. Kamfwa completes his PhD, he will return to the University of Zambia and continue the breeding program he started before he left.  He expects that the skills he has acquired and the network he has created during his PhD studies and fellowship will enable him to take leadership in the expansion and growth of graduate training and research in plant breeding and seed systems at the University of Zambia.