Dr.  Odeny is currently the chairperson of Afri-SOL. She is a Kenyan born research scientist currently heading the biotechnology unit at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics(ICRISAT) – Nairobi. Prior to this, she worked as a senior researcher at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), South Africa (2009 – 2013), where she played a key role in establishing the underutilized vegetable genomics group. She was previously a post-doctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany (2006 – 2009).

Damaris is also a recipient of the prestigious African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellowship and has won several other awards including the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Award and the German Academic Exchange Scholarship (DAAD)/Centre for Development Studies (ZEF) award.She earned her B.Sc degree in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi, Kenya; a master’s degree in Plant Genetic Manipulation from Nottingham University, UK;a doctorate degree in Plant Genetics from the University of Bonn, Germany.