Director, Institute for Human Development
Amina Abubakar is a full Professor and Director for the Institute for Human Development, Aga Khan University (AKU). She is a Senior Research Scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Programme and Visiting Academic at the University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry.
She is a trained Developmental Psychologist with more than 18 years research experience working in rural settings in Kenya within multidisciplinary teams. She is interested in both acquired and congenital brain disorders. Specifically, her research interests lie in a) quantifying the neurocognitive burden of early childhood diseases; b) developing culturally appropriate psychological measures for use in SSA and; c) identifying culturally appropriate intervention strategies for at-risk children in SSA. She has more than 18 years experience developing assessment tools and describing the neurocognitive and mental health outcomes for children exposed to multiple risk factors. The neurodevelopmental tools and measures that she has contributed to developing have been used in more than 25 low- and middle-income countries. Her expertise in tool development is widely acknowledge and she has taught seminars, workshops and summers schools on cross-cultural test adaptation and validation in several countries including Kenya, South Africa, Spain, and Indonesia.
She has (co)-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. She has been humbled to receive awards from various organization including the American Psychological Society and the Royal Society of UK in recognition for her work in Africa.
In 2016, she was awarded the highly prestigious MRC/DfiD African Research Leader Fellowship, to set up a programme of work on the impact of perinatal HIV infection on adolescent health and well-being. In 2016, she was awarded the Royal Society Pfizer Award in recognition of her pioneering psychological research in East Africa, and for the impact her work has had in the field of neurodevelopmental assessment. She has served on technical working groups, forums and consulted for various international organizations including the World Health Organization, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (USA), Firelight Foundation, Save the Children, Autism Speaks and Open Society. She has been actively involved in capacity building for African scientists and has supervised PhD students from Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.