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VOICES Bi-Monthly Magazine of the University of Technology, Jamaica |

August - September 2017



r. Aneisha Collins-Fairclough, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science

and Sport has been researching the scientific potential of microbial

treatures in Jamaica’s Riverton City Dump.

Since receiving an Instrumental Access shipment of equipment from

Seeding Labs in 2014, Dr. Collins-Fairclough has been harvesting the

microbiological riches of the Riverton City Dump, Jamaica’s largest solid

waste disposal site. She collected water samples with her students from the

dump’s leachate ponds as well as the adjacent Duhaney River, which runs

through residential communities before draining to and potentially polluting

the Kingston Harbour.

By extracting and analyzing DNA from the water samples using

metagenomic analysis, the researcher can identify all of the microorganisms

in the samples, including those present in such small numbers that they

would have gone undetected by conventional methods. Hiding within the

samples will almost certainly be evidence of organisms that are new to

science, having evolved to survive the dump’s extreme environment. Their

unique metabolic capabilities may prove useful for bioremediation, drug

development, or formulation of agricultural chemicals.

Analysis may also reveal dangerous pathogens posing a public health

threat. By understanding the extent to which the landfill is a source of these

disease-causing organisms, Dr. Collins-Fairclough hopes to minimize health

risks to the neighboring community.

The initial phase of Dr. Collins-Fairclough’s project was supported by a grant

from UTech, Jamaica’s Research Development Fund. Dr. Collins-Fairclough

is collaborating with a researcher from the University of Waterloo in Canada

whose work focuses on understanding the diversity and function of microbial

communities in contaminated sites, like municipal landfills.

The collaboration will be enhanced through a Canada-CARICOM Faculty

Leadership Program scholarship awarded to Dr. Collins-Fairclough this

spring. Through a research exchange, Dr. Collins-Fairclough will travel to the

University of Waterloo in January 2018 to perform advanced bioinformatics

analyses of the metagenomics data set from the landfill.

Read full story published by Seeding Labs:



r. Felix Akinladejo, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, Faculty of Engineering and Computing recently

presented his research work on “Technotherapy Induced Gains after a Stroke: A Case Study of Post-

Acute Stroke Patients”. The presentation was made on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at the Atana Hotel in

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, during a University of Ibadan, College of Medicine (UICoM) Graduating Class of

1992 conference and reunion involving medical consultants from across the world.

The research work has involved an assessment of the use of computer technology to correct walking

abnormalities in post-acute stroke patients from the Mona Rehabilitation Centre, St. Andrew. Dr. Akinladejo

explained that the study involved “three male patients that had been discharged from Mona Rehab, having

been adjudged to have attained their highest level of functional recovery (i.e., plateau) participated in the

clinical trial of the system.

FOSS Researcher Exploring Microbial Treasures

and Threats in Jamaica’s Riverton City Dump

Research provides hope for “Technotherapy”

Induced Gains for post-acute stroke patients

Dr. Aneisha Collins-Fairclough, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science and Sport

Cont’d on page 27

Dr. Felix Akinladejo, Associate Dean, FENC