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Dr. Kirk Douglas appointed as Director, Centre for Biosecurity Studies

For Release Upon Receipt - Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Kirk Douglas appointment-7-1-2020.jpgThe UWI Cave Hill Campus today welcomes Dr. Kirk Douglas as its inaugural Director, Centre for Biosecurity Studies.Dr. Douglas holds a Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology, with his doctoral research leading to several novel findings of viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF) viruses present in Barbados and the Caribbean, including dengue virus, orthohantaviruses, arenaviruses and cowpox viruses.

Dr. Douglas is a professional senior scientist recognized regionally and internationally for impactful scientific research in the fields of microbiology, infectious diseases, biosecurity, virology and zoonoses. He earned a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Microbiology (2001), a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree in Microbiology (2007) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Medical Microbiology (2020), all from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill.In addition, he holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with Merit Honours (2019) from Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

The Director commenced his career as a summer student in the Virology Department at the Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto, Canada (2001).On returning home to Barbados that same year, he was employed as a Veterinary Laboratory Technician at the Veterinary Services Laboratory, Ministry of Agriculture in 2001, before moving on to being employed at an international medical device manufacturer in Barbados from 2002 – 2019. There, his role grew from the sole quality assurance (QA) Microbiologist to Senior Microbiologist, managing the Micro-Laboratory and junior laboratory staff while developing methods and strategies for improving product quality and process yields.

Exhibiting early evidence of his scholarship, his first publication, as a co-author with Professor Paul Levett, came out of a summer field research undergraduate project on wild rats; highlighting serological evidence of hantavirus infection in humans and rodents in both Barbados and the Caribbean. For his M.Phil., he investigated avian influenza or ‘bird flu’ virus, and West Nile virus (WNV) infections in Barbados. This resulted in publishing the first report of the isolation and genetic sequencing of ‘bird flu’ viruses from migratory waterfowl species in the Caribbean, and a risk assessment of WNV entry into Barbados.

Dr. Douglas has authored multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers with almost 100 citations in the fields of microbiology, virology, biosecurity, infectious diseases and zoonoses.

The Director has also served on a regional committee responsible for developing an avian influenza or ‘bird flu’ surveillance network in the Caribbean through CARIBVET, a regional animal health network involving several global agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

With over 16 years work experience in the medical device industry, Dr. Douglas has successfully led several critical regulatory audits by international organisations including the United States Food & Drug Administration (US FDA), the British Standards Institute (BSI) and the Korean Food & Drug Administration (K FDA). His initiative and innovation were exemplified in his industry leading work to reduce endotoxin contamination levels in the intraocular lens (IOL) medical device manufacturing process, which was instrumental in gaining FDA approval for several medical device products made in Barbados. In addition, he has led several initiatives to minimize product scrap and poor quality in intraocular (IOL) manufacturing processes resulting in significant corporate savings and increased profitability.

The Cave Hill campus looks forward to a most rewarding association with the highly acclaimed scientist.

For more information on the Centre for Biosecurity Studies visit www.cavehill.uwi.edu/biosecurity/home.aspx

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