Sunday 19 May, 2019

Thejani Rupika Delgoda promoted to rank of professor at UWI

Professor Delgoda is the current Director of the Natural Products Institute (NPI) in the Faculty of Science and Technology at UWI Mona Campus, a position she has held for the past five years.

Professor Delgoda is the current Director of the Natural Products Institute (NPI) in the Faculty of Science and Technology at UWI Mona Campus, a position she has held for the past five years.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) is pleased to announce the recent promotion of Thejani Rupika Delgoda to the rank of Professor. 

Thejani Rupika Delgoda is Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy, and the Director of the Natural Products Institute in the Faculty of Science and Technology at UWI Mona.

Promotion to Professor—the highest academic rank at the institution—is only made after a rigorous assessment process. It involves consultation with the Dean of the applicants and the Faculty Assessment Committees, as well as endorsements from external assessors who review the candidates’ original works.

The careful scrutiny and subsequent promotion of these individuals signify UWI’s continued advancement of knowledge through excellence in teaching, research, innovation, intellectual leadership and outreach. This process is crucial to maintaining the University’s established tradition of excellence and contribution to the development of the region. The professors’ promotions were announced at the meeting of the University Appointments Committee, in October 2018.

More about the Professor Delgoda

Professor Delgoda is the current Director of the Natural Products Institute (NPI) in the Faculty of Science and Technology at UWI Mona Campus, a position she has held for the past five years. Prior to this, she was Director of Research at the Institute from 2001 (when she joined UWI) until 2013.

She is the holder of a D.Phil. in Pharmacology from the University of Oxford in the UK (1999); and a B.Sc. with first class honours in Chemistry from the University of Papua New Guinea (1994). She was also a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Leicester, in the UK from 2000 to 2001.

Professor Delgoda’s strategic vision, leadership and assiduous work played an instrumental role in the establishment of NPI’s laboratory facilities and she has steered it to become a highly successful collaborative research entity dedicated to the development of natural products.  She has raised approximately $200 million in research grant funding to support the research portfolio at the NPI and established regularised staff posts.

Her research spans the areas of biochemistry, pharmacology and pharmacognosy, with a focus on exploring and unveiling the biological activity of Jamaica’s natural resources.  Her original contribution to the national and international body of scientific knowledge is in the areas of bioprospecting (assessing the efficacy of medicinal plants), evaluating ethnomedicines and avoiding potential drug-medicinal plant interactions (assessing the safety of medicinal plants).

Her research has brought to the fore the previously unknown value of natural products with impact on cancer cell viability and cancer prevention, along with mechanistic insights. She has contributed significantly to international scientific literature, with 47 peer-reviewed, highly cited publications, including 3 books, 11 book chapters and 33 journal articles.  She has presented at 73 academic conferences and her work has received 4 international awards.  Professor Delgoda has on seven occasions won UWI Principal’s Award for Excellence in Research in numerous categories, including best researcher, best research publication, and research project with most impact.

Professor Delgoda teaches advanced biochemistry and pharmacology.  She has successfully supervised 27 researchers including 4 post-doctoral fellows, 7 completed graduate students (2 PhD, 2 MPhil, 3 MSc) and 4 current graduate students.  Outside her University service, she is a member of the American Association for Pharmacognosy, the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium, International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics, and serves as a reviewer for 8 international journals.   She serves on the boards of the Natural History Museum of Jamaica, National Nutraceutical Industry and the Jamaica Conservation Partners. 

One external assessor evaluating Dr Delgoda commented, “All of her published work is original or it would not merit publication in international journals. Her work on anticancer natural products and P450 interaction studies are particularly noteworthy, and her work on traditional medicine of Jamaica is a unique national contribution.”

 

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