Prof. Robert Machang’u

Prof. Robert Machang'u



Sokoine University of Agriculture 
Institute of Pest Management
P.O. Box 3110 
Morogoro, Tanzania. 

Contact Information



Prof. Machang’u is a microbiologist at the Pest Management Centre, and Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Parasitology, Sokoine University of Agriculture. He is one of founders of the Pest Management Centre that was formerly known as Rodent Research Project. Prof Machang’u was the first Director of the SUA Pest Management Centre, in the year 2000, and a co-founder of the SUA APOPO Rodent Biosensor Technology research, which is now operational in Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola and Cambodia. He also coordinated the university wide infrastructural and academic development program (acro. SUA-VLIR), which was a joint venture involving SUA and the Belgian Government.

Prof. Machang’u is an avid advocate against tobacco use, and through his engagement in this field he rose to become the Chairperson of a national NGO, the Tanzania Public Health Association for the period 2004 to 2008). In 2008, he took leave from SUA to work with the Non Communicable Disease Cluster of the World Health Organization. Initially he was stationed in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, as a National Professional Officer, and later in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Kampala, Uganda, as Technical Advisor in Tobacco Control. In 2015 Prof. Machang’u returned to SUA to take up the position of Professor of Microbiology on a two-year contract with the University. He continues with teaching of undergraduate and graduate students, research and consultancy work.

In the course of his career he has published extensively in scholarly journals and books and he is a member of various professional associations in the areas of microbiology and public health. His main research areas have covered water-borne microbial diseases, rodent vector borne diseases and zoonosis. Prof. Machang’u has furthermore pioneered public health education and lead campaigns against tobacco use, in Tanzania and in other countries of Africa and beyond in the context of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

  Academic Qualification  

  •   PhD-Microbiology/immunology.(1991) – University Guelph  (Canada)
  •  Zertifikat (1983) Hochshuldidaktik   -Gesamthochschule Kassel (Germany F.R)
  •   Doktors der Veterinaemedizin (1982)   – University Giessen (Germany F.R.)
  • Doctor Medic Veterinara (1979)  – Agric. Inst. Cluj.  (Romania)


  1. Pathogenesis of bacterial infections – with emphasis on the role of bacterial toxins in disease
  2. Pathogenic spirochetes (Leptospira, Borrelia, Treponema
  3. Rodent biology and rodent transmitted diseases (incl. plague, typhus)
  4. Use of rodents as detectors of landmines and TB pathogens 
  5. Anthrax:  disease transmission in livestock and humans
  6. Tobacco Control
  7. Use of bacteria as biological pesticides


  1. Project Advisor, Securing Legislation without Loopholes: Advocacy campaign for Smoke Free Dar Es Salaam (2007-2009)
  2. Coordinator, Formulation of the National Tobacco control Strategic Plan, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dar Es Salaam (2008)
  3. Consultant: Appraising FAO –Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD)-Guidelines for Surveillance of Prioritized Zoonotic Diseases for Public and Animal Health (One Health) 2018



  • Stanley S. Nyirenda, Bernard M. Hang′ombe, Edgar Simulundu, Evans Mulenga, Ladislav Moonga, Robert S. Machang’u, Gerald Misinzo, Bukheti s.Kilonzo  (2018)  Molecular  epidemiological investigations of plague in Eastern Province of Zambia BMC Microbiology 18:2
  • Said, K, Bakari, G.G, Machang’u, R Katakweba, A.S and Muhairwa, A.P ( 2018) Seroprevalence of canine leptospirosis in urban and periurban Morogoro               Tanzania, J. Microbiol. Res 12(21) 481                       


  •        Nyirenda, Stanley; Hang’ombe, Bernard; Machang’u, Robert; Mwanza, Jackson; Kilonzo, Bukheti (2017) Identification of risk factors associated with   transmission of plague disease in Eastern Zambia (S.Nyirenda at all Accepted April 2017. Amer. J. Trop. Med & Hygiene – Accepted April 2017)
  •         K. Motto, R.S. Machang’u and Z.K. Makondo, 2017.Mastitis pathogens prevalent in dairy cattle at Magadu farm, Morogoro-Tanzania. Tanzania Veterinary Journal Vol 32, 97-100
  • Stanley S. Nyirenda, Bernard M. Hang′ombe, Edgar Simulundu, Robert Machang′u, Gerald Misinzoand Bukheti S. Kilonzo, Molecular characterisation of Yersinia pestis from human bubo aspirates, rodents and flea vectors from goats, pigs and rodents in Eastern Zambia(Submitted to BMC-Microbiology – April 2017)



  • Mgode, G. F., Cohen-Bacrie, S., Bedotto, M., Weetjens, B. J., Cox, C., Jubitana, M., … & Kaufmann, S. H. (2015). Mycobacterium genotypes in pulmonary tuberculosis infections and their detection by trained African giant pouched rats. Current microbiology, 70(2), 212-218.
  •  Mgode, G.F., Machang’u,R.S., Mhamphi, G.G., Katakweba, A., Mulungu, L.S., Durnez, L. & Belmain, S. R. (2015). Leptospira Serovars for Diagnosis of Leptospirosis in Humans and Animals in Africa: Common Leptospira Isolates and Reservoir Hosts. PLoS neglected  tropical diseases9(12).


  •      Georgies F. Mgode, Stephan Cohen-Bacrie, Marielle Bedotto, Bart J. Weetjens, Christophe Cox, Maureen Jubitana, Dian Kuipers, Robert S. Machang’u, Rudovick Kazwala, Sayoki G. Mfinanga, Stefan H. E. Kaufmann (2014). Mycobacterium  Genotypes in Pulmonary Tuberculosis Infections and Their Detection
    by Trained    African Giant Pouched Rats. Current Microbiology.  DOI 10.1007/s00284-014-0705-6.


  • Mgode, G. F., Weetjens, B. J., Nawrath, T., Cox, C., Jubitana, M., Machang’u, R. S., … & Kaufmann, S. H. (2012). Diagnosis of tuberculosis by trained African giant pouched rats and confounding impact of pathogens and microflora of the respiratory tract. Journal of clinical microbiology, 50(2), 274-280.
  • Mgode, G. F., Weetjens, B. J., Cox, C., Jubitana, M., Machang’u, R. S., Lazar, D., … & Kaufmann, S. H. (2012). Ability of Cricetomys rats to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis and discriminate it from other microorganisms. Tuberculosis, 92(2), 182-186.
  • Mgode, G. F., Weetjens, B. J., Nawrath, T., Lazar, D., Cox, C., Jubitana, M., … & Schulz, S. (2012). Mycobacterium tuberculosis volatiles for diagnosis of tuberculosis by Cricetomys rats. Tuberculosis, 92(6), 535-542.
  • Beyene, N., Mahoney, A., Cox, C., Weetjens, B., Makingi, G., Mgode, G., … & Kamara, D. (2012). APOPO’s tuberculosis research agenda: achievements, challenges and prospects. Tanzania journal of health research, 14(2).


  • Durnez, L., Katakweba, A., Sadiki, H., Katholi, C. R., Kazwala, R. R., Machang’u, R. R., … & Leirs, H. (2011). Mycobacteria in terrestrial small mammals on cattle farms in Tanzania. Veterinary medicine international, 2011.
  • Denys, C., Lalis, A., Lecompte, É., Cornette, R., Moulin, S., Makundi, R. H., … & Aniskine, V. M. (2011). A faunal survey in Kingu Pira (south Tanzania), with new karyotypes of several small mammals and the description of a new Murid species (Mammalia, Rodentia). Zoosystema, 33(1), 5-47.


  • Kessy, M. J., Machang’u, R. S., & Swai, E. S. (2010). A microbiological and serological study of leptospirosis among pigs in the Morogoro municipality, Tanzania. Tropical animal health and production, 42(3), 523-530.
  • Georgies F. Mgode, Robert S. Machang’u, Margarida Collares-Pereira, Maria Luisa Vieira, Marga G. A. Goris, Mirjam Engelbert and Rudy A. Hartskeerl (2010). Challenges in determining the pathogenicity status of Leptospira isolates with phenotypic methods: The need for a polyvalent approach. Afr J Microbiol Res, 4 (23): 2528-2533.


  • Günther, S., Hoofd, G., Charrel, R., Röser, C., Becker-Ziaja, B., Lloyd, G., … & Katakweba, A. (2009). Mopeia virus-related arenavirus in natal multimammate mice, Morogoro, Tanzania. Emerg Infect Dis, 15(12), 2008-12.
  • Durnez, L., Sadiki, H., Katakweba, A., Machang’u, R. R., Kazwala, R. R., Leirs, H., & Portaels, F. (2009). The prevalence of Mycobacterium bovis-infection and atypical mycobacterioses in cattle in and around Morogoro, Tanzania. Tropical animal health and production, 41(8), 1653-1659.
  • Lalis, A., Baylac, M., Cosson, J. F., Makundi, R. H., Machang’u, R. S., & Denys, C. (2009). Cranial morphometric and fine scale genetic variability of two adjacentMastomys natalensis (Rodentia: Muridae) populations. Acta theriologica, 54(2), 171-181.


  • Durnez, L., Eddyani, M., Mgode, G. F., Katakweba, A., Katholi, C. R., Machang’u, R. R., … & Leirs, H. (2008). First detection of mycobacteria in African rodents and insectivores, using stratified pool screening. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 74(3), 768-773.
  • Mulungu, L. S., Makundi, R. H., Massawe, A. W., Machang’u, R. S., & Mbije, N. E. (2008). Diversity and distribution of rodent and shrew species associated with variations in altitude on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Mammalia, 72(3), 178-185.
  • Günther, S., Hoofd, G., Charrel, R., Röser, C., Becker-Ziaja, B., Lloyd, G., … & Katakweba, A. (2009). Mopeia virus-related arenavirus in natal multimammate mice, Morogoro, Tanzania. Emerg Infect Dis, 15(12), 2008-12.
  • Massawe, A. W., Rwamugira, W., Leirs, H., Makundi, R. H., Mulungu, L., Ngowo, V., & Machang’u, R. (2008). Soil type limits population abundance of rodents in crop fields: case study of the multimammate rat Mastomys natalensis Smith, 1834 in Tanzania. Integrative zoology, 3(1), 27-30.


  • Mohr, K., Leirs, H., Katakweba, A., & Machang’u, R. (2007). Monitoring rodents movements with a biomarker around introduction and feeding foci in an urban environment in Tanzania. African Zoology, 42(2), 294-298.


  • Ahmed, N., Devi, S., los Á Valverde, M., Vijayachari, P., Machang’u, R. S., Ellis, W. A., & Hartskeerl, R. A. (2006). Multilocus sequence typing method for identification and genotypic classification of pathogenic Leptospira species. Annals of clinical microbiology and antimicrobials, 5(1), 1.
  • Mgode, G.F., Machang’u, R.S., Goris, M.G., Engelbert, M., Sondij, S. and Hartskeerl, R.A. (2006). New leptospira serovar Sokoine of serogroup Icterohaemorrhaghiae from cattle in Tanzania. Intern. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. (2006) 56; 593 – 597.


  • Machang’u, R.S., Mgode, G.F., Assenga, J., Mhamphi, G., Weetjens, B., Cox, C., Verhagen, R., Sondji, S., Goris, M.G., and Hartskeerl, R.A. (2004). Serological and Molecular characterization of leptospira serovar Kenya from captive African giant pouched rats (Cricetomys gambianus) from Morogoro, Tanzania. FEMS Immunol. and Medical Microbiol. 41(2004)117-121.


  • Capanna, E., Castiglia, R., Colangelo, P., Corti, M., Scanzani, A., Fadda, C., … & Tesha, P. (2001). The Rodent fauna of Tanzania: a cytotaxonomic report from the Maasai Steppe (1999). Rendiconti Lincei, 12(1), 29-49.


  • Machang’u, R.S.; Pax, J., and Mgode, G. (2000). Seroprevalence of Rickettsia typhi infection in rats in selected areas of Tanzania. Tanz. Vet. J. Vol. 19: 202 – 206.


  1. Machang’u, R.S. (1997). The need for antismoking legislation in Tanzania.  Paper presented at the 8th International Congress of the World Federation of Public Health Associations, Arusha, October, 1997.
  2. Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: What can Tanzania Public Health Association Contribute?  Paper presented at the 9th Congress of the World Federation of Public Health Associations, Beijing, China – September, 2000.
  3. Machang’u R.S. (2002). Progress being made by African countries towards the ratification of the WHO – Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.  Proceedings of the 21st Annual Scientific Conference of the Tanzania Public Health Association, Mbeya, November 4 – 8, 2002.
  4. Cox, C., Weetjens, B., Machang’u R.S., Billet, M. and Verhagen, R. (2003). Rats for demining.  Proceedings of the International Conference on Requirements and Technologies for Detection, Removal and Neutralization of Landmines,  and  UXO September 15 – 18, 2003.
  5. Machang’u, R.S. and Ngowo, V. D. (2005) Road accidents involving animals in Tanzania. Presented at the 23rd Annual Scientific Conference of the Tanzania Public Health Association, 8-12 Nov. 2004  Mwanza, Tanzania.
  6. Smokeless tobacco use among selected rural populations in Tanzania. Poster presented at 14 World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Mumbai, March 8-11, 2009
  7. MPOWER : Implementation strategy for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Presented at the 28th Annual Scientific Conference, Dodoma, November, 2009


Sokoine University of Agriculture

  1. Project Officer/Senior Project Advisor -Tobacco Control- WHO  (2008-2014)
  2. Co-ordinator –  SUA-APOPO Landmine and TB detection Project  (1999 -2008)
  3. Director –  SUA Pest Management Centre  (2000 – 2006)
  4. Co-ordinator –  SUA-VLIR Programme  (1997- 2000) 
  5. Leader of the Rodent Research Project  (1991 – 1999).

World Health Organization

  1. Senior Technical Advisor –Tobacco  Control- Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville/Kampala   2011- 2014
  2. Technical Advisor Tobacco, Inter-country Support Team, Burkina Faso (2010 – 2011)
  3. National Professional Officer –Tobacco, WHO  Tanzania  (2008 – 2010)

Membership in Committees/Associations

  1. SUA-Bookshop Board 2008
  2. SUA-Convocation Committee –  Member
  3. Board of the SUA Pest Management Centre
  4. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Postgraduate Studies Committee –  Member
  5. International Society for Leptospirosis –  Member
  6. Tanzania Society for Microbiology –  Member
  7. American Society for Microbiology -Member
  8. Association of African Rickettsial Biologists –  Member
  9. Tanzania Public Health Association – Chairperson (2006-2009)
  10. Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum – Member
  11. Morogoro Secondary School Board Chairman (2006 to 2009)
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