Yvonne MburuYvonne Mburu PhD



Occupational Information

Job Title: Head of Partnerships and External Relations at WHO Academy

Professional History

Yvonne Mburu is Head of Partnerships and External Relations at the World Health Organization (WHO) Academy, a newly-created center for learning and simulation which aims to transform lifelong learning in health by incorporating digital and hybrid learning experiences to build a more competent health workforce globally.  Yvonne is an immunologist and also the founder and first CEO of Nexakili, a growing network of African and African-diaspora health professionals and scientists, whose mission is to connect African experts across the globe, circulate scientific knowledge, and accelerate the availability of innovative medicine in Africa.

Yvonne did her undergraduate studies in biology and chemistry in Canada, followed by a doctorate in immunology in the United States. She then won a prestigious postdoctoral grant from the Cancer Research Institute to pursue research on the immunotherapy of cancer at the Marie Curie Institute in Paris, France.

Over time, her African roots and dynamic personality nudged her away from the safe harbors of the research laboratory and into entrepreneurship, with the goal of mobilizing the human and intellectual capital of the African diaspora to catalyze innovative research on the continent and contribute more effectively to achieving sustainable outcomes in science and medicine.  Yvonne is a Fellow of the Next Einstein Forum, a biennial recognition of Africa’s best young scientists and technologists. She has published numerous scientific articles, blogs and opinions contributing to shaping the health and scientific discourse on the continent. Since August 2017, she has sat on French President Emmanuel Macron’s Presidential Council for Africa. It is a consultative body through which she advises him on issues concerning health, science and innovation in Africa.

A multi-lingual global citizen, Yvonne is an afro-optimist by nature, and has an unrelenting personal, professional and intellectual commitment to Africa’s emergence, growth and transformation of its global relations.


Undergraduate Studies in Biology & Chemistry from York University
Doctorate in Immunology from the University of Pittsburgh
Postdoctoral research on the immunotherapy of cancer from the Marie Curie Institute in Paris


2022 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Programme

Additional Search Tags: Science, technology, immunotherapy, immunology, diaspora, cancer,

About AFLI




The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.