Following my doctoral studies at University of Oxford, U.K. on structural evaluations of the phase II drug metabolizing enzyme, arylamine N-acetytransferase with Professor Edith Sim, and post-doctoral research at University of Leicester with Professor Gordon Roberts on NMR examinations of ligands binding to phase I cytochromes P450 (CYP) enzymes, I commenced research at the Natural Products Institute at UWI Mona, in 2002.
Continuing on my interest in drug metabolizing enzymes, my research group in Jamaica, has been evaluating potential for and avoiding drug-herb interactions. Starting with community assessments on prevalence of self-medicating habits with herbs and concomitant administrations of prescription medicines, we assess commonly used medicinal teas and decoctions using in-vitro CYP assays. The most potent of these are now poised for clinical evaluations.
Bio-prospecting Jamaican natural products for cancer and chemoprevention is another active project in my lab. In collaboration with several colleagues from the Department of Chemistry at UWI, we screen endemic plants, marine organisms, and fungal metabolites (extracts and single ingredients) for their selective ability to impact viability of cancerous and normal cells. Evaluations of selective and potent inhibition of human CYP1 enzymes, allow us to understand how isolated natural products may be able to interfere in the process of carcinogenesis.
We continue to expand our capacity for bioprospecting, and as such have recently embarked on the search natural products that may be useful in overcoming resistance by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to commonly used insecticides, particularly by inhibiting mosquito metabolizing enzymes.
Work from my group has been recognized by several prizes and honours: Principal’s Research Award for Most Outstanding Research Publication in the Faculty of Science and Technology, UWI (2016 and 2014), International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (best poster, 2015), Principal’s Research Award for Most Outstanding Researcher in the Faculty of Science and Technology, UWI (2015); International Society for the development of natural products (best poster, 2014, 2012, 2006 and 2002) and Caribbean health research council (best presentation, 2011).
My work has been funded through the years by the National Health Fund (Jamaica), Seeding Labs (USA), Forestry Conservative Fund (Jamaica), International Foundation for Science (Sweden), Caribbean Public Health Agency via National Cancer Institute (USA), Super Plus food stores (Jamaica) and the University of the West Indies Mona.
Select Journal Publications
Badal SA, Asuncion Valenzuela MM, Zylstra D, Huang G, Vendantam P, Francis S, Quitugua A, Amis LH, Davis W, Tzeng TJ, Jacobs H, Gangemi DJ, Raner G, Rowland L, Wooten J, Campbell P, Brantley E, Delgoda R., “Glaucarubulone glucoside from Castela macrophylla suppresses MCF-7 breast cancer cell growth and attenuates benzo[a]pyrene-mediated CYP1A gene induction”, Journal of Applied Toxicology. 2017 Jan 31. doi: 10.1002/jat.3436
Francis S, Laurieri N, Nwokocha and Delgoda R, “Treatment of Rats with Apocynin Has Considerable Inhibitory Effects on Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase Activity in the Liver”, Scientific Reports, 2016, May 31;6:26906. doi: 10.1038/srep26906
Murray J, Picking D, Lamm A, McKenzie J, Hartley S, Watson C, Williams L, Lowe H and Delgoda R, “Significant inhibitory impact of dibenzyl trisulfide and extracts of Petiveria alliacea on the activities of major drug metabolizing enzymes in vitro: An assessment of the potential for medicinal plant-drug interactions”, Fitoterapia, 2016, 111, 138-146
Picking D, Delgoda R, Younger N, Germosén-Robineau L, Boulogne I, Mitchell S, “TRAMIL ethnomedicinal survey in Jamaica”, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2015, 169, 314-327
Francis, S and Delgoda, R “Patent review on the development of cytochrome P450 inhibitors”, Expert Opinion on therapeutic patents, 2014, 24(6), 1-19.