Dr. Benson Getenga Ongarora

Designation: Lecturer
Contact: +254 725 897 435
School/Institute: Science
Email: benson.ongarora@dkut.ac.ke

Academic Background

  Qualification   Institution   Year
  Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry   Louisiana State University   2012
  Bachelor of Science in Chemistry   Moi University   2005

Areas of Expertise
Organic Reactions (Synthesis and Characterization), Environmental Chemistry, Natural Products Chemistry, Photosensitizer for Imaging and Therapy


  1. Nyachiro, D. N.; Ongarora, B. G.; Kibet, J.K.; Rono, K. N. Characterization of cyanobacterial toxins in Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Asian J. Research Chem. 2016; 9(5): 217-220.
  2. Fontenot, K. R.; Benson G. Ongarora, B. G.; LeBlanc, L. E.; Zehua Zhou, Z.; Jois S. D.; Vicente, M. G. H. Targeting of the epidermal growth factor receptor with mesoporphyrin IX-peptide conjugates. J. Porphyrins Phthalocyanines 2016; 20: 1-15.
  3. Ongarora, B. G.; Zhou, Z.; Okoth, E. A.; Kolesnichenko, I.; Kevin M. Smith, K. M.; M. Graça H. Vicente, M. G. H. Synthesis, spectroscopic, and cellular properties of a-pegylated cis-A2B2- and A3B-types ZnPcs. J. Porphyrins Phthalocyanines 2014; 18: 1021–1033.
  4. Sehgal, I.; Li, H. ; Ongarora B. G.; Devillier, D.; Vicente, M. G. H. Synthesis and biological investigations of ZnPc-antiCEA bioconjugates for imaging of colorectal cancer. J. Porphyrins Phthalocyanines 2012; 16: 1-7.
  5. Ongarora, B. G.; Hu, X.; Verberne-Sutton, D. S.; Garno, J. C.; Vicente, M. G. H. Syntheses and Cellular Investigations of Pegylated Cationic Zn(II)-Phthalocyanines. J. Theranostics 2012, 2 (9), 850-870.
  6. Ongarora, B. G.; Fontenot, K. R.; Hu, X.; Fronczek F. R.; Vicente, M. G. H. J. Phthalocyanine-Peptide Conjugates for Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Targeting. J. Med. Chem. 2012, 55, 3725-3738.
  7. Ongarora, B. G.; Li, H.; Hu, X.; Fronczek, F. R.; Vicente, M. G. H. Syntheses and properties of trimethylaminophenoxy-substituted Zn(II)-phthalocyanines. Med. Chem. Commun. 2012, 3, 179–194.
  8. Dutta, S.; Ongarora, B. G.; Li, H.; Vicente, M. G. H.; Kolli, B. K.; Chang, K. P. Intracellular Targeting Specificity of Novel Phthalocyanines Assessed in a Host Parasite Model for Developing Potential Photomedicine. PLoS One. June 2011, 6 (6), e20786.

Papers presented in Conferences, Seminars and Workshops

  1. Matena, H. G.; Kariuki, Z. N.; Ongarora, B. G. “Optimization of piperine extraction from Piper nigrum using different solvents for bedbug management.” Oral presentation at KEFRI – Muguga, Nairobi, Kenya, April 2018.
  2. Ongarora, B. G.; Vicente, M. G. H. “Syntheses and Properties of Trimethylaminophenoxy-substituted Zn(II)-Phthalocyanines.” Oral presentation at Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya, January 2012.
  3. Ongarora, B. G.; Vicente, M. G. H. “Synthesis and Characterization of Phthalocyanine Bioconjugates for Diagnostic Applications and Treatment of Cancer.” Poster presentation at the 6th International Conference on Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (ICPP-6), New Mexico, USA – July 4-9, 2010.
  4. Ongarora, B. G.; Kituyi J. L. “Evaluation of the Efficiency of Waste Disposal Methods in Eldoret Town, Kenya,” Oral presentation at the 5th Kenya Chemical Society, Kenyatta University, Nairobi – Kenya, August 2005.

Awards, Scholarships, and Recognition

  • Dr. Charles Coates Travel Award – to cater for travel expenses during the 6th International Conference on Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines, held in July 2010 at Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico and organized by the Society of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (SPP).
  • Scholarship for PhD Programme, by Louisiana State University, 2008.

Other academic and Professional Achievements

  • Supervising Masters Degree students.
  • Mentoring undergraduate and postgraduate students in research work.

a) Ongoing/Completed Researches

  • Investigation of the presence of microcystins in Lake Naivasha, Kenya.
  • Investigating extracts from natural sources as alternative insecticides, especially for use in controlling household insects such as cockroaches and bedbugs.

Post Graduate Supervision and Examination
Masters: Investigation of the presence of microcystins in Lake Naivasha, Kenya – Defended successfully.
Masters: Geothermal energy in recycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in Kenya: Case study of Olkaria – Ongoing.
Masters: Optimal utilization of geothermal energy in honey purification – A case study of Menengai, Kenya – Ongoing.

Research Interests
To research on development of novel drugs and biomarkers – useful in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, design new routes to synthetic drugs with high targeting abilities and reduce the cost of production through conjugation to peptide fragments. To participate in drug discovery research projects which require organic chemistry expertise, team-work and managerial skills, and embrace relevant technological advances in furtherance of new discoveries. Also, to take part in isolating and formulating useful products from natural resources.

Affiliation/Membership to Professional Bodies

  • Society of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (SPP) member.
  • Kenya Chemical Society (KCS) member.

Any other talent that could contribute to the University agenda

  • Review of journal articles (http://www.ijema.com/index.php/editorial-board).

Other University and National Responsibilities

  • Director of Students’ Welfare (January 2018 to date)
  • Deputy Director of students’ Welfare (December 2014 to December 2017)
  • The Ag. Dean of Students (May and December 2015)
  • The Ag. Chairman, Chemistry Department (August 2014)
  • The Ag. Chairman, Chemistry Department (August 2013)