The University of the West Indies (UWI), at Cave Hill, Barbados

The University of the West Indies

at Cave Hill, Barbados

Faculty of Medical Sciences

The research interests of the faculty at the FMS are quite diverse and involve a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing specific research projects.

This strategy will include the use of biochemical, molecular, pharmacological and immunocytochemical approaches in addressing specific basic science and clinical research projects.

It is also anticipated that research interests of the faculty will continue to be focused to a great extent on chronic and degenerative diseases (diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke) that impact the lives of citizens in Barbados and the greater Caribbean region.

The faculty's main research arm is the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre (the GA-CDRC), established in 1992 and now attached also the Tropical Medicine Research Institute. The GA-CDRC has an outstanding track record, with research on diabetes, hypertension, stroke, eye disease, cancer and lupus, with funding from the Wellcome Trust of the UK and the National Institutes of Health of the USA.

The approval of the Cave Hill Campus as a Centre of Excellence by the Consortium for Southeastern Hypertension Control (COSEHC) in 2010 has the potential to create opportunities for collaborative research. A group headed by Dr. Damian Cohall and Dr. Kenneth Connell is currently preparing general research proposals and terms of reference for the relationship.

In February 2011, the Faculty participated in the Campus Annual Research Day activities. This highly successful event included seminars on Vascular Health and Sports Medicine, open-house demonstrations by staff from the Chronic Diseases Research Centre and a public lecture by Professor Everard Barton, Professor of Medicine and Nephrology at the UWI Mona Campus.

FMS Laboratory and Teaching Complex: Construction of this building was completed and the building was officially declared open by the Principal, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, on October 22, 2009. The three storey building has a 200 person capacity lecture theatre, multimodal and multidisciplinary teaching labs and research labs. In addition to classrooms and laboratories, the building houses a state of the art research facility, designed in a modular fashion, in order to accommodate the research efforts and needs of the faculty’s basic science investigators. The research space will soon be fully equipped with core research equipment to support the basic science discovery efforts of the FMS scientific teams.

Research in Progress:

Dr. Damian Cohall, Lecturer in Pharmacology

Research Projects
Dr. Cohall’s research interests are diverse and can be identified as cardiovascular risk profiling, ethnopharmacology and medical education. His research themes are as follows:

  • Validating herbal remedies for the treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
  • Investigating drug interactions, inclusive of drug – herb interactions via computer based simulations and other means.
Cardiovascular Disease Risk Profiling:
  • Examining the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS) and its effect on arterial function and cardiovascular risk in an Afro-Caribbean population.
  • Assessing predictors for sustainable management of Type 2 Diabetes and other cardiovascular related conditions.

Medical Education:
  • Identifying factors affecting academic performance of first year medical students.
  • Evaluating the educational environment of medical undergraduate MBBS programme at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill.

Dr. Uma Gaur, Senior Lecturer in Anatomy

Submitted – for ethical approval
  • Development and validation of the Osteoporosis Risk Assessment Criteria to facilitate selection of women for further investigations.
  • Evaluation methods – to work out an effective and accurate method of evaluation - A comparative study of evaluation methods in various institutes.

Dr. Nkemcho Ojeh, Lecturer in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology

  • Investigating the cellular mechanisms of keloid and hypertrophic scar formation in the Barbadian population Start date: May 2009 (On-going)
  • Health of the Nation Project Start date: October 2010
  • An in vitro study to investigate the effects of caffeine on wound healing Start date: December 2011
  • Fenzian for Asthma pilot study Start date: May 2011

Dr. Alaya Udupa, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology

An in vitro study to investigate the effects of caffeine on wound healing: Grant application submitted on Jan 2010. Revised application submitted on 11th of March to Dr. David Rosin -Dept of Surgery – QEH.

Brief methodology
  • Isolation and culture of skin fibroblasts and keratinocytes.
  • MTT proliferation assay.
  • Immunocytochemistry of isolated cells.
  • Does learning style preference correlate with performance? A proposed study among students in F.M.S, Law, Pure & Applied Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities in U.W.I.-Cave Hill Campus. Sent for IHEC – Clearance.

Projects Planned for 2011- during study travel leave:

Yasodananda Kumar Areti, Professor of Anaesthesia & Intensive Care

Post Graduate Research Projects

(Supervisor: Kumar AY)
  • Keisha Thomas-Gibson: Patient’s knowledge and concerns regarding anaestheisa and the level of their satisfaction with the anaesthetic services in Barbados. A Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Doctorate of Medicine in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care of the University of the West Indies
  • Tamara Tracey Semei: Mortality and the outcomes in patients treated in Adult Intensive Care Units (ICU) in Barbados. (Data has been collected and currently being analysed. This project was supported by Grant of Bds $ 5,412.00 from the Campus research awards fund).
  • Tamara Greaves: Evaluation of nutrition practices and their impact on patient morbidity and mortality in the Adult Intensive Care Units of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. (Approval of QEH ethics committee has been obtained. Data is being collected)
  • Karisha Hinkson: A comparative study of common anaesthetic techniques for lower limb surgery in Barbados. (Approval of QEH ethics committee has been obtained. Data is being collected)

Dr. Euclid Morris, Lecturer in Family Medicine

  • Workplace violence in the health sector in a Developing Country: A survey of violence against staff in government operated primary care facilities in Barbados
  • University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Staff Chronic Non-Communicable Disease (CNCD) Risk Factor Survey 2010

Dr. Harold Watson, Lecturer in Emergency Medicine

  • Prevalence of Asthma in A&E department at QEH-Collaboration with Dr Greg Diette Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
  • Impact of African dust on Childhood Asthma Morbidity in Barbados with Dr Meredith McCormack, Johns Hopkins University Maryland.
  • On-going collaboration with Dr Kathleen Barnes, John Hopkins University, Director, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Genetic Research Facility & The Lowe Family Genomics Core, Baltimore on the Barbados Asthma Genome Wide Project.

A practical guide for writing a research proposal

Click here to read more on Research Ethics at the Cave Hill Campus
  • A Study for utilization of library among students and faculty of various disciplines in U.W.I.
  • Hepatoprotective effect of Hepatoguard (an Ayurvedic medicinal preparation) and its possible mechanism.
  • Hepatoprotective effect of Liv52 and its possible mechanism on CCl4 alcohol, and paracetamol induced liver damage in rats.
Contact the Faculty of Medical Sciences
Telephone: (246) 417- 4694/4703/4264 Fax: (246) 438-9170 Email: