Professor Rupika Delgoda

Professor Rupika Delgoda is the current Director of the Natural Products Institute (NPI) in the Faculty of Science and Technology at UWI, Mona. Her research examines the medicinal potential and safety profile of local biodiversity. She has had remarkable success in developing local scientific capacity, publications, and acclaim for her work. Under her leadership and strategic direction the NPI grew from a concept to a full-fledged dedicated research institution with graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and full-time researchers.

Her vision and assiduous work played an instrumental role in the establishment and expansion of NPI’s laboratory facilities and she has steered it to become a highly successful collaborative research entity dedicated to the development of natural products.

Over the course of her career, she has raised more than JMD$450 million in research funding. Prof Delgoda has been instrumental in fostering innovative strategic research partnerships with local and international private sector enterprises to expand the capacity and output of local biomedical research. The NPI is now fully engaged in Faculty activities and collaborates widely within the campus research communities and with over 12 leading international universities and research institutes in the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa and beyond. Her own research spans the areas of biochemistry, pharmacology and pharmacognosy, with a focus on exploring and unveiling the biological potential of Jamaica’s natural resources. Her original contribution to the national and international body of scientific knowledge is in the areas of bioprospecting (assessing the efficacy of medicinal plants), evaluating ethno-medicines and avoiding potential drug-medicinal plant interactions (assessing the safety of medicinal plants).

Her research has brought to the fore the previously unknown value of natural products with impact on cancer cell viability and cancer prevention. She has contributed significantly to international scientific literature, with 52 peer-reviewed, highly cited publications, including 3 books, 11 book chapters and 38 journal articles and she has presented at 74 academic conferences with her work receiving 4 international awards.

Prof Delgoda was awarded the UWI Mona Principal’s award for excellence in research seven times over five consecutive years. These awards included the most outstanding researcher for the Faculty in 2015 and 2018, the most outstanding research publication in 2014, 2016 and 2017 and the project with greatest development impact in 2017 and 2018.

Prof. Delgoda is engaged in shaping national policy on natural health products and ethno-medicines. She serves as Deputy Chair of the Natural History Museum of Jamaica, member of the National Nutracuetical Committee, and as a trustee of the Jamaica Conservation Partners.