Michelle Nderu was born in Mombasa, Kenya. In 2002, she moved to South Africa for her undergraduate studies at Rhodes University. In 2008, Michelle obtained an MSc in Medicine from the University of Cape Town. She then worked in the product development division of KAPA Biosystems developing enzyme based products used in several real-time PCR applications. Prior to joining EDCTP, Michelle moved from the laboratory into research management, taking up a position within the Research Management Division of the South African Medical Research Council as a research coordinator.