Author: Susan Chand, PhD – Director, Office of Research & Innovation
President’s Brown Bag Series was launched by the former President, Dr. Trevor Gardner after USC was awarded a university status by the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago in 2006. Brown Bag Series was envisioned to be a platform for intellectual discourse and discussion for faculty at USC. The first lecture was delivered by an erudite Professor of Sociology, late Dr. Letroy Cummings from the School of Social Sciences. Dr. Cummings’s lecture drew from his extensive research based on content analysis of newspaper articles on intimate partner violence in Guyana. His work was published in the USC Journal of Research Volume II (2011) entitled “Incidents and Explanations of Romantic Homicides in Guyana”. This was the only series that was launched.
In 2015, Academic Forum was launched along the same objectives as the President’s Brown Bag Series. Academic Forum was conceptualized by the then Dean of Distance Education, Dr. Sylvan Lashley to offer engaging and constructive discussion around the presentations of scholarly work by faculty, staff or students. Two Academic Forums were held each semester.
The first Academic Forum was launched by the President, Dr. Clinton Valley on September 2, 2015, with Dr. Lashley and Ms. Colleen Letlow presenting their findings on their study, “Entrepreneurial teams at work: concepts and practices – live case. Since then, the Office of Research and Innovation has been hosting Academic Forums till the academic year 2020.
President’s Brown Bag Series Relaunch
The President’s Brown Bag Series was relaunched by our newly appointed 29th USC President, Dr. Colwick Wilson on November 10, 2021, via the zoom platform. This event featured Dr. Amanda Thomas, PhD, Research Methods and Statistics, Office of Research and Innovation, School of Graduate Studies and Research, USC. Her presentation was based on her doctoral thesis, “Differences in Academic Achievement between African American and African Caribbean Students studying in the United States: A Meta-Analysis”. This relaunch attracted over 40 attendees from USC community, members of the academic from the tertiary institutions of Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean, and the United States.
President’s Brown Bag Series – 2 – A Phenomenal Lecture by Dr. Hansel M. Fletcher
On January 26, 2022, Dr. Hansel M. Fletcher, an accomplished scientist and professor of molecular genetics/biochemistry of microbial diseases with focus on oral bacterial pathogens delivered a seminal lecture on “Overcoming Environmental Stress: Survival skills and the impact of the oral microbiome on the host”. Dr. Fletcher is currently an Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Affairs and Professor of Microbiology and Genetics in the School of Medicine at Loma Linda University, California.
The Office of the President and the Office of Research and Innovation jointly hosted this event. The session commenced with an opening prayer by Dr. Llyod Jacott, Chaplain at USC. Dr. Susan Chand, Director of Research and Innovation, extended a warm welcome to all the attendees, and presented an overview of the President’s Brown Bag Series at USC. Dr. Colwick Wilson welcomed Dr. Fletcher and formally acknowledged the presence of all the attendees including Dr. Sanjay Ramnanan, President of the Dental Association of Trinidad and Tobago and Dr. Rahul Naidu, Professor of Dental Public Health, School of Dentistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine. The attendees included faculty, staff and students at the University of the Southern Caribbean, faculty and students from the School of Dentistry and the Department of Microbiology, UWI, members from the Dental Association of Trinidad and Tobago and Dentists and Medical Doctors from the Caribbean and the United States. Also among the attendees were Dr. Wayne Greaves, Executive Director, Infectious Diseases, Merck Research Laboratories, New Jersey, USA and Dr. Walter Murray, Managing Director, Leadership Training LLC, USA. Over 46 attendees were present at this event. Dr. Sanjay Ramnanan rendered his greetings and presented an overview of the Dental Association of Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Edward Clarke, Dean, School of Social Sciences and Interim Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research introduced Dr. Fletcher. Dr. Angelle Bullard-Roberts responded to Dr. Fletcher’s lecture and mentioned that the diverse socio-cultural practices of the people of Trinidad impact their oral hygiene need to be addressed while making strides in oral health and overall well-being. She also iterated the need for collaborative research with the Loma Linda University, Dental Association of Trinidad and Tobago and the School of Dentistry. This was also expressed earlier by Dr. Ramnanan and later in his speech by Dr. Naidu. Dr. Rahul Naidu also responded to Dr. Fletcher’s lecture and asked a question ————(need to view the video for his question to Dr. Fletcher). Dr. Wanda Chesney accorded a vote of thanks to all contributing parties of the event, Dr. Fletcher, and the invitees. Dr. Kenneth Niles brought a close to the invigorating afternoon by a word of prayer.
Highlights of Dr. Fletcher’s Lecture:
Dr. Fletcher elucidated oral diseases as global health challenge affecting over 3.5 billion people globally. These chronic clinical conditions range from dental caries (tooth decay), periodontal (gum) disease, and cancer. He emphasized the relevancy of physical, social and psychosocial functioning as core elements for oral health and overall well-being. Dr. Fletcher highlighted the periodontal disease as an interaction of multiple factors leading to inflammation and bone loss. He further illustrated the host-microbe interaction that cause inflammation and bone loss. It was an astounding revelation that unhealthy teeth can be a causative factor for Alzheimer disease, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and insulin resistance, adverse pregnancy outcomes, respiratory tract infection and bacterial pneumonia. Towards the end of his lecture, Dr. Fletcher acknowledged his past and present research team and their landmark research on Filifactor alocis’ virulent attributes and interactions with periodontal pathogens, namely Pophyromonas gingivalis. His future project involves integrating current and novel techniques to modulate Dysbiotic Oralome.