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by Denise Salmon
Dr. Henry Lowe
This year (2013) , we celebrate the 51st year of independence and a lot of focus was on our athletes and our heroes.
It is probably also a good time for us to reflect on our Jamaican scientists; that distinguished group of persons whose work many times get overlooked - but which has made tremendous impact on the lives of our people - locally and overseas.
Below I will highlight a few of them and their works - but please feel free to add others, they really need to be known - recognized and appreciated, agree :-)
PROF. LOUIS GRANT
PROF. LOUIS GRANT's, M.D., C.H., M.P.H., DIP BACT., FAPHA, F.C. PATH, F.A.A.N. (1913-1993) work has been appreciated both locally and internationally.
A pathologist and microbiologist, Prof. Louis Grant was associated with the University of the West Indies for 20 years and achieved the highest academic honour.
As he was in touch with Science from an early age as his father worked in a chemical laboratory at the Appleton Estate.
He had showed great promise as a student early in his life, and in fact, won a scholarship that made him able to attend Jamaica College before he left the island and went to study abroad.
In the 1940's he dreamed of a Jamaica with less disease and he sought the help he needed and completed a mass vaccination that is credited with the eradication of the tuberculosis disease here in Jamaica.
And in the 1960's when Leptospirosis began spreading all over Jamaica, Prof. Grant did the necessary research and discovered that infected rats were urinating on the food that was being consumed by the people who were ill.
He quickly spread the word so that people would do more to get rid of the rats and protect their food. Soon there was a big decrease in the number of cases.
After that horses were afflicted with a virus called the Equine Encephalitis, on the eastern side of the island, he then instituted quarantine for the horses, donkeys and mules in that area.
This prevented the billion dollar horse industry from being ruined.
Again in the late 1960's Jamaicans began suffering from a fever. Dr. Grant realized it was the Dengue Fever.
And after intense research he found out that the aedes aegypti mosquitos were actually spreading the virus. Again he launched a public education campaign that helped to reduce the spread of the virus.
DR. PATRICIA DeLEON
Dr. Patricia Deleon has distinguished herself as been perhaps one of the few, if not the only Jamaican Scientist to be recognized by a President of the United States of America.
be receiving a very prestigious award from the President of The United States of America for her research on genetics.
It was reported that she was very surprised when she heard she was chosen for the award and she is very grateful for the early childhood education she received here in Jamaica.
She hopes her achievements will help to motivate women all over the world to put themselves into positions so they can make important decisions that will impact the society in a good way.
As she celebrates her achievements with Jamaicans, Dr. Patricia Deleon will be in the island next year for the annual commemoration celebration and homecoming for alumni of the University of the West Indies, where she completed a Bachelor of Science (honors) degree in natural sciences in July 1967 and her MSc in December 1969 in the Department of Pathology.
In announcing the list earlier this year, US President Barack Obama lauded all the awardees.
"There is no higher calling than furthering the educational advancement of our nation's young people and encouraging and inspiring our next generation of leaders," Obama was quoted as saying.
"These awards represent a heartfelt salute of appreciation to a remarkable group of individuals who have devoted their lives and careers to helping others and in doing so have helped us all," he said.
Research interests include the genetic and molecular mechanisms of spermato-genesis, epididymal function and the molecular aspects of fertilization.
DR. LAWRENCE WILLIMAS
Dr. Lawrence Williams a research scientist at the Scientific Research Council(SRC) has recently discovered a compound isolated from the Guinea Hen Weed as a protein complex.
It is said to possess the potential to fight various kinds of cancers!
The (SRC) has already acquired the international patent on a compound from the Guinea Hen weed.
This timely breakthrough has come at a time when the world is badly in need of more affordable cancer treatment and we hope the necessary work can be done to develop the pharmaceutical products after such an amazing discovery.
DR. HENRY LOWE
Jamaican scientist, Dr. Henry Lowe, is perhaps the most known amoung this group. He too has also developed a formula that is able to reduce and eliminate a cancer - Prostate Cancer.
But the drug takes time and a lot of money to develop so it currently being sold in it's semi purified form.
Hopefully the drug will be refined so one day as this could help Jamaica to earn well needed foreign exchange.
Do you know of another great Jamaican Scientist? Please show our appreciation to his or her work by recognizing him here
See Also: Famous Jamaicans
&& Jamaican Poets
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