University of the West Indies (UWI) and State University of New York (SUNY) remains On Target

The collaboration between the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the largest and most comprehensive state university system in the United States, the State University of New York (SUNY) is moving apace. The UWI-SUNY new system-to-system relationship, which began in 2012 and was formalized in January 2013 with a Memorandum of Agreement, currently involves 10 SUNY campuses and an initial work plan devised by 60 administrators and faculty from both universities.

UWI Vice Chancellor E. Nigel Harris commented that "UWI continues to strengthen its outreach to the region and the wider world as witnessed through our engagement with the State University of New York system and other university partners. Our significant international presence in research is based on our international reputation as well as the strengths of our scholarship in matters relating to the Caribbean."

UWI Vice Chancellor E. Nigel Harris commented that “UWI continues to strengthen its outreach to the region and the wider world as witnessed through our engagement with the State University of New York system and other university partners. Our significant international presence in research is based on our international reputation as well as the strengths of our scholarship in matters relating to the Caribbean.”

In similar vein SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said “International partnerships allow University systems around the world to work together to study and solve global issues while providing exciting opportunities for students and faculty.”

Both institutions allocated seed funds in support of the partnership, which is co-ordinated by UWI Central’s Office for Regional and International Affairs and SUNY’s Office of Global Affairs. The top proposals for this award were selected based upon the strength of the team and the feasibility of the proposed project in terms of expertise in the research or instructional area and potential project sponsors.

UWI-Led Projects

  • Marine Invasive Alien Species in Tropical and Temperate Climates

Dr. Dayne Buddo

A new postgraduate course, Marine Invasive Alien Species in Tropical and Temperate Climates, will be developed by the team of Drs Judith Gobin (St. Augustine), Joseph Warren (SUNY), Bradley Peterson (SUNY) and Dayne Buddo (Mona). It will be offered to both UWI and SUNY students and will include a combined class with field components in each region. It will focus on the biology and ecology of these species and will examine the wide range of impacts and management strategies in each region, using relevant case studies. Dr Buddo visited SUNY this November to give Seminars on Marine Invasive Species, and hold discussions on course administration and logistics. The course will be further developed and refined while field visits will be conducted near the SUNY SOMAS Campus.

  • Improving Cardiovascular Health in Native and Migrant Caribbean Populations

Dr Marshall Tulloch-Reid

The approach has been finalised for the formative work to guide the development of a proposal to improve cardiovascular heath in the Caribbean. This will involve conducting (i) focus group interviews in Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and New York with patient with cardiovascular disease; (ii) key informant interviews with local experts in internal medicine, cardiology, epidemiology, public health and migrant health; and (iii) a scoping review of the literature on cardiovascular health in Caribbean Migrants. This information will inform the development of the proposal (estimated completion date April 2014). Dr Cornelia Gruel, a medical anthropologist from the Faculty of Medical Science, Cave Hill Campus with a special interest in migrant health, has joined the project team.

  • Caribbean Rainfall Variability and Climate Change

Professor Michael Taylor

Professor Taylor and the Climate Studies Group Mona (CSGM) will meet with SUNY collaborators Professors Elinor Martin, Justin Minder, Oliver Timm and Brian Tang as well as Dr. Isabelle Gouirand (UWI Cave Hill collaborator) in January 2014 to engage in the Proposal Preparation; a Public Lecture on the ‘State of Caribbean Climate Research”; and discuss graduate student exchange.

SUNY-Led Projects

  • SUNY/UWI Health-related Research and Educational Collaborations in Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry

Dr Ruel McKnight, SUNY Geneseo

SUNY Geneseo Professors Ruel McKnight, Kazushige Yokoyama, Eric Helms visited UWI-Mona and met with potential collaborators, Professors Yvette Jackson, Nadale Downey-Riley and Roy Porter. The UWI-Mona collaborators were interested in the project(s) and should be sending trial compounds to the SUNY Geneseo team for preliminary studies on the proposed projects -Investigation of Potential Inhibitors of Alzheimer’s Disease and Characterization of the DNA Binding Capabilities of Anti-Cancer Compounds.

The SUNY Geneseo team also met Professors Helen Jacobs (Head of Chemistry Department), Ishenkumba Kahwa (Deputy Principal), Paul Reese (Dean, Pure and Applied Sciences), Hermine Tyrell (Student Exchange and Study Abroad Coordinator), as well as other potential collaborators.

Collaborators from UWI-Mona will in November prepare a library of compounds to be sent to SUNY Geneseo. In December UWI-Mona collaborators will send compounds to SUNY Geneseo for preliminary studies. A UWI team of Professors Roy Porter and Nadale Downey-Riley will visit SUNY Geneseo in 2014.

  • Enhancing Citizen Security in the Caribbean

Dr Lisa Meyer and Dr William Lofquist, SUNY Geneseo

A conference is being planned at The UWI Mona campus in Jamaica in February 2014 that will bring together approximately a dozen scholars from across two SUNY campuses (Geneseo and Buffalo) and the four UWI campuses. There will be two groups: one focusing on criminology-related projects, particularly as it relates to development, and the second focusing on issues of gender and development. Together and separately, they will also consider opportunities for teaching collaborations and faculty and student exchanges. Initial exchanges have produced some fruitful ideas for further discussion.

  • Understanding the Effects of Land Practices and Pollution on the Health of Coral Reefs of the Caribbean

Professor Mark Teece, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

SUNY-ESF and UWI have been in contact and are currently exchanging ideas and data for an upcoming research proposal. The team will meet in Jamaica in 2014 to continue the preparation of a proposal and do a site visit.

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