Meet the Team


Yona Baguma, PhD – Project Leader

Yona is the Deputy Director General in charge of Research Coordination at the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO).

He has over twenty years of experience in plant breeding, molecular genetics, and plant biotechnology research. Yona has held various positions in several institutional, national, and international bodies, including: NaCRRI’s Biosciences Laboratory Centre and Uganda National Council for Science and Technology where he was Vice Chairman of the National Biosafety Committee. Yona has also been Team Leader, Regulatory Affairs-Water Efficient Maize for Africa’s sub-Saharan Africa project.


Barbara Mugwanya Zawedde, PhD – Coordinator

Barbara Mugwanya Zawedde (PhD) is the Coordinator at UBIC. She is a regulatory advisor for some of the NARO biotech projects, including: Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) and Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa (VIRCA).

Prior to joining NaCRRI, Barbara worked for more than five years at the Program for Biosafety Systems, Uganda office, where she gained experience in biotechnology and biosafety education. Her areas of specialization include biotechnology, environmental safety assessment, environmental policy, science communication, and plant genetic resources management.

Anita Tibasaaga

Anita Tibasaaga – Media and Public Relations Officer

Anita is responsible for strategizing and implementing UBIC’s media engagement plan to increase public knowledge and understanding of biotechnology. She has experience in journalism, organizational and science communication, public relations, events management, and new media.

Anita volunteers as the Head of Communication and Outreach at the Horticulture and Oil Palm Program of the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI). Prior to joining UBIC, Anita was the Public Affairs Officer at African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), where she helped to establish the organization’s communication and public affairs function. She has a Master of Arts in International Relations from Middlesex University, London and a Bachelor of Mass Communication from Makerere University, Uganda.


Joshua Raymond Muhumuza – Research Assistant

Joshua has a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from Makerere University. In his time at UBIC, he has amassed a wealth of experience in science communication; starting out as a volunteer and later assuming his current role. Joshua’s has experience in life sciences, biotechnology, molecular biology, and science communication.

Nassib Mugwanya

Nassib Mugwanya- Outreach Officer

Nassib Mugwanya is the Outreach Officer, responsible for developing and disseminating multifaceted outreach campaigns highlighting contribution of agriculture to food security and improved livelihoods. Previously, Nassib worked as a research assistant on the Biosciences for Farming in Africa Project (B4FA), as well as assisting to teach agricultural communication in the department of Extension and Innovation Studies, Makerere University. Nassib’s interest is to communicate agricultural science in a way that empowers and benefits farmers. Nassib is also a 2015 Cornell Global Leadership Fellow, an award for leaders committed to advancing science based communication and evidence-based decision making. Nassib has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, and a Master’s in Agricultural Extension Education from Makerere University.


Gilbert Gumisiriza – Research Analyst

Gilbert  is a Research Analyst at UBIC. Prior to joining UBIC, he worked as the Biosafety Officer at the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), where he also served as ex-officio member of the National Biosafety Committee.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biotechnology, Gilbert began his career working as research technologist with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Uganda. At IITA, he was part of the team that was at the forefront of research efforts to develop transgenic East African Highland Banana (EAHB) with resistance to the ravaging Banana Xanthomonas Wilt.

As an ICGEB-Gates Fellow, he undertook post-graduate training in Biotechnology and Biosafety of GMOs. Gilbert has a wealth of experience and training spanning Plant Biotechnology, Genomics, Biosafety, and Environmental Risk Assessment of GMOs and Science Communication.