UG Professors win Guyana Innovation Award

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Raymond Jagessar and Subramaniam Gomathinayagam

University of Guyana Professors: Subramaniam Gomathinayagam, Director, UG Berbice Campus and Raymond Jagessar, a Senior Lecturer at the University’s Turkeyen Campus, were recently recognised by the ‘Guyana Innovation Prize Stakeholders’ for their outstanding work in science and technology innovations in the fields of agriculture and food-based science respectively.

Prof. Gomathinayagam lectures Biology of Plants, Biotechnology, and Plant Cellular Biology and Prof. Jagessar lectures Organic and Inorganic Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry. They were both recipients of grants for their innovative projects under the 2021 Innovation Guyana Prize.

Briefly describing his research project, an elated Professor Gomathinayagam said: “My project is to produce a biological agent named ‘Bio-Diamond,’ a biological control agent of plant diseases. My motivation and vision are for Guyana to become an ‘Organic Farming’ country. Therefore, my product ‘Bio-Diamond’ is to minimise the use of commercial chemicals and fertilizer.”

He added that the project is very useful and relevant as it allows students and staff the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the agriculture field and to increase awareness of the use of commercial chemicals and fertilisers. He expressed hope that the project could be used as a link between the farming community and the University of Guyana Berbice Campus in the near future.

Prof. Jagessar’s research was entitled; “Stone Wall Diamond Natural Antimicrobials and Antidiabetics.” In a brief comment, he explained: “My reason for getting involved in the project is to prevent antimicrobial resistance and diabetic surge locally. There has been an increase in diabetes, locally and internationally. Many synthetic antimicrobials to date suffer from antimicrobial resistance due to improper use.”

He further highlighted: “The world is confronted with three escalated problems: COVID-19, Global Warming, and Antimicrobial Resistance. I have been researching in plant-based antimicrobials and natural antidiabetics at UG for the past fifteen and ten years respectively and will continue to do so.”

The Guyana Innovation Prize was established to support Guyanese researchers, thinkers, and doers by providing a competitive grant annually to some of the most commercially viable ideas. The grant is sponsored by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) and Guyana Economic Development Trust (GEDT).

The University views this development as exemplary and in keeping with its BluePrint 2040 goal # 2 where UG becomes a Center for excellence in providing solutions for some specific problems of Guyana and the planet. Amongst these are agri and aquaculture and human resiliency. Last year UG also copped this prize when Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture Dr Lawrence Lewis won for his innovative work with biochar in soil restoration a technology that may become very important in the rebuilding work that must be done in Guyana after the floods.

UG Chancellor, Prof. Edward Greene, Vice-Chancellor, XI, Prof. Paloma Mohamed Martin; Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Dr. Emanuel Cummings and Dr. Mellissa Ifill and the entire Senior Management Team, Faculty and Staff extend warmest congratulations to Professors Gomathinayagam and Jagessar for winning the prestigious awards and wish then continued success in their research projects. The University of Guyana is incredibly proud to celebrate and highlight their achievements.