Dr T. Rupika Delgoda and Dr Majeed Mohammed promoted to Professors

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is pleased to announce the recent promotion of Dr T. Rupika Delgoda and Dr Majeed Mohammed to the rank of Professor. Dr T. 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 The UWI Mona. Dr Majeed Mohammed is Professor of Postharvest Physiology, Faculty of Food and Agriculture, The UWI St Augustine.

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 signifies The 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 Professors

Dr Thejani Rupika Delgoda
Dr Thejani Rupika Delgoda is the current Director of the Natural Products Institute (NPI) in the Faculty of Science and Technology at The 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 The 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 the 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.”

Dr Majeed Mohammed
Dr Majeed Mohammed has been a Senior Lecturer Senior (above bar) in Postharvest Physiology, with the Department of Food Production in the Faculty of Food and Agriculture (FFA) at The UWI St Augustine for the last seven years. However, his service as a member of academic staff began in 1989 when he joined the University as a Lecturer. He also served as Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Science and Agriculture from 2000-2003.

He earned his PhD in Postharvest Physiology at The UWI in 1992 and holds an MSc in Postharvest Physiology from the University of Guelph in Canada (1984) and a BSc in Agriculture from The UWI. Most of Dr Mohammed’s career has been dedicated to teaching, research and outreach activities. His research programme is centred on the physiology and biochemistry of ripening of lesser-known tropical fruits; effects of ethylene antagonists in delaying senescence of cut-flowers; and alleviation of physiological disorders of minimally processed fruits and vegetables.  He has developed four schools of research: one in Postharvest Physiology; another in Commodity Utilisation; the third in Food Quality Management and the fourth in Postharvest Extension. His latest work focuses on assisting Caribbean countries with developing sustainable, efficient and inclusive mechanisms to produce, transform and deliver healthy and safe food to consumers, both in rural and urban areas.

Dr Mohammed is the co-author of 2 books, 8 book chapters, 57 peer-reviewed journal publications, and 22 technical training manuals and monographs. He has presented in 77 regional and international conferences on his research and 78 postgraduate students have benefited from his supervision. In addition to his teaching he is a current member of The UWI’s Editorial Board for Tropical Agriculture, the journal of the FFA, a post he has held since 2008. In the area of public service he has been a convener for the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) for the Agricultural Science curriculum as a Planning, Review, Testing and Measurement Coordinator from 2001 to 2014; Board Director with the Postharvest Education Foundation in the USA; a member of the UN/FAO Panel of Experts from Latin America and the Caribbean on the Prevention and Reduction of Food Losses and Waste; and a member of the Global Food Cold Chain Council.

 

In reviewing his work, an external assessor noted, “Apart from his contributions in research and teaching, Dr Majeed Mohammed has been an editor in different journals, convener for conferences at international level and has delivered invited lectures in several seminars and conferences etc., which is sufficient to recognise him and his university at international level. He has also developed international collaborations with renowned scientists at global level. All these achievements would merit his appointment to Professorship.”

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