Associate Professor Sheila Ommeh

Senior Principal Research Fellow

Centre for Animal Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
+61 7 344 36346


Ommeh (Sheila Cecily) was born on the slopes of Mount Elgon which is an extinct volcano that straddles both Kenya and Uganda and it was once the tallest mountain in Africa before the glaciers melted away. She spent her early years growing up on the foothills of this majestic mountain with her grandmother who is a small-holder rural farmer. From a young age, she witnessed first-hand the effects of disease and climate change on vulnerable livestock like poultry, cattle, goats and sheep among others leading to the loss of livelihoods for the farmers in her community.

During her formative years; 1984- 2002, Ommeh had an interest and pursued Agriculture and STEM upto the tertiary level. Her mentor was her late mother who was also an accomplised scientist and quite a visionary leader. For her postgraduate and early-career years; 2003 - 2011 Ommeh was affilliated at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) where she did research on poultry genetics with a focus on genetic resitance to viral diseases. Her main fields of training and research are in Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics.

In 2012, Ommeh joined the Institute for Biotechnology Research (IBR) at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) as a Research Fellow. She formed the Animal Biotechnology Research Group and the flagship project was on Indigenous poutry. Ommeh led other research projects that aimed to understand the origins, domestication and biodiversity of indigenous livestock and domesticates. The focus of these projects was to characterize candidate genes for both production and adaptive traits like disease and heat stress. Along with key collaborators, she did extensive research on emerging livestock species like minor poultry species, camels and donkeys. This also involved research on the diversity and domestication of bushmeat like guineafowls and quails. She also lead extensive research on pathogen surveillance and genomics using a Onehealth approach on bats, rodents, dogs, cats, ticks, humans among others. In 2019, Ommeh was promoted to Senior Research Fellow position and took up various leadership roles. She was a Principal Supervisor, Mentor and successfully graduated over twenty students affilliated to her own projects and funds; 6 were PhDs and over 15 Msc students.

In 2023, Ommeh Joined QAAFI as an Associate Professor in Animal Biotechnology. She plans to intergrate key outputs from previous research into her current research program at CAS. Ommeh's primary research focus is on improvement of Animal Health and Production at the "Onehealth" interface. Her research group at the Center for Animal Science aims to develop Molecular Diagnostics and Vaccines that will detect and control notifiable animal diseases. She will also lead research on diversity and harnessing bushtucker AKA bushmeat as emerging livestock species and a source of quality protein.


  • Doctor of Philosophy


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Book Chapter

  • Djikeng, Appolinaire, Ommeh, Sheila, Sangura, Sitati, Njaci, Isaac and Ngara, Mtakai (2012). Genomics and Potential Downstream Applications in the Developing World. Advances in Microbial Ecology. (pp. 335-356) New York, NY United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-2182-5_20

Journal Article