- Graduate Students
Donella Dawkins obtained a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST), The University of the West Indies, Mona in 2016 where she developed a deeper understanding of microbes, research methodologies, and laboratory techniques. She furthered her academic pursuits by pursuing a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Biotechnology which was awarded in 2023.
Donella first gained interest in research as an undergraduate student while collaborating with Prof. Helen Asemota (Former Director, Biotechnology Centre, The UWI Mona) on a research project investigating the anti-fungal properties of purple yam coloured pigments on the yam anthracnose causative agent. From this experience and encouragement from Prof. Asemota and Mrs. Shivanjali Dondapati, she enrolled in the MPhil in Biotechnology program at the Biotechnology Center in FST. Under the supervision of Prof. Monica Smikle (Microbiologist, The UWI Mona), she conducted her MPhil research on exploiting toxin-antitoxin systems as alternative antimicrobial targets in multidrug resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance is an emerging global health problem as an increase will negatively impact infectious disease treatment options. Her research spans multiple disciplines employing various laboratory techniques such as gene cloning, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, pharmacological assays, epidemiology and clinical studies to gain a comprehensive understanding of antibiotic resistance and its multifaceted nature.
While a research student, she earned the moniker “Baby Curie” inspired by the great Physicist Marie Curie because of her determination to solve current health problems and contribute to scientific knowledge. Having assisted the Ministry of Health and Wellness- National Influenza Center and the Baywest Wellness Hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic, her knowledge and expertise in the laboratory technique, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) were a major contributing factor to the early detection, prevention and control of Covid-19 across Jamaica.
Outside of her work, Donella Dawkins enjoys volunteering. She believes in giving back to the community and has actively participated in various community outreach programs as well as being a member of the Rotoract Club. She is also a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) ambassador at the Scientific Research Council. From volunteering, she has learnt that science encompasses more than the knowledge of the Science but also empathy, dedication, curiosity and the love of problem solving.
With her expertise and dedication to excellence, Ms. Dawkins continues to make valuable contributions to the field of Biotechnology, leaving a lasting impact on both academic and healthcare.
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