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Frontiers of Research in Caribbean Science and Technology (FORECAST) Conference

Postponed

x

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current steps being taken to mitigate its spread, the Faculty of Science and Technology, UWI, Mona and The Faculty of Sports and Science, UTech, Ja. have decided to postpone the staging of the FORECAST 2020 conference. Please check this website for any updates. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us via email.

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Abstract Book

Use the link below to download the abstract book.

Abstract Book (Jamaica Time)

Abstract Book (Eastern Caribbean Time)

Day 1

Wednesday, 10th August

All times are in GMT-5 (Jamaica time).

8:00 am
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8:30 am
Opening Ceremony

8:30 am
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9:25 am
Science and technology and its application to regional development

Keynote Lecture

Science and technology and its application to regional development

Keith Mitchell
9:25 am
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9:45 am
Break

9:50 am
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10:10 am
Proposal for the Commercial Production of Essential Oils in Tobago using Supercritical Fluid Extraction

Invited Speaker

The global essential oils market has been estimated to be US$10.6b in 2021 rising to US$16.0b in 2026 [(Markets, 2021)1] as a result of growth in awareness to preventative healthcare, improvements in the standard of living, along with an increase in the demand for aromatherapy products. With the potential availability of relevant plant materials in Tobago, it is appropriate to develop a strategy for the introduction of Plant Extracts Industry in the island.

10:10 am
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10:30 am
Comparative Nutritional and Molecular Characterization of Themeda arguens (Piano Grass) from Central Jamaica

Contributed Talk

Piano grass (Themeda arguens), reputed to have been introduced to Jamaica as packing material in an imported piano1 . There are about 27 varieties of this highly invasive grass/weed worldwide[1] and in Jamaica the species previously identified as Themeda arguens is of concern as it has progressively taken over lawns, pastures and roadsides [1]. The grass is of particular concern to livestock farmers due to its highly invasive and aggressive nature and the concomitant negative effect on livestock productivity, especially during its annual seeding period (November/December – April) [2], when the palatability of the grass diminishes significantly and the seed awns can cause severe damage to the mouth when consumed, and feet of livestock [2], sometimes requiring veterinary intervention.

10:30 am
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10:50 am
ASSESSMENT OF A SMALL-SCALE CACAO FERMENTATION METHOD FOR NICHE MARKETING

Contributed Talk

The burgeoning of small gourmet chocolate boutiques worldwide serves as a key driver for niche and ultra-niche marketing of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.), branded as (a) geographical indication (b) estate origin or (c) based on unique genetics. Over 90% of the cacao farms globally, are small with an average size between 2 and 5 hectares and can benefit from supplying to the gourmet boutiques.

10:50 am
-
11:10 am
A Dietary Risk Exposure Assessment of Pesticide Residues found in Commonly Consumed Foods in Trinidad and Tobago

Contributed Talk

Pesticide usage in agriculture has occurred for centuries and led to significant positive outcomes in food production and noticeable reduction in crop losses. However, pesticide usage on food crops often results in the presence of toxic pesticide residues on food produce, which is the main route of exposure to pesticides in humans. The toxicity of the pesticide residues can potentially cause debilitating effects to major human organs and body systems. Pesticide residue analysis addresses the issue of pesticide residues in foods by screening and quantifying the levels of pesticides in food commodities.

11:10 am
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11:30 am
THE EFFECT OF GRUESOME CRIME SCENES ON THE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIVES OF FORENSIC CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATORS IN JAMAICA

Contributed Talk

Forensic Crime Scene Investigators (FCSIs) are forensic practitioners who are key components to the investigative process within a legal framework. In fact, the criminal justice system considers the scientific evaluation and forensic evidence collection to be the most significant aspect of any criminal investigation and court cases. Despite this, limited literature exists on the psychological effects experienced by FCSIs from processing gruesome crime scenes on a regular basis.

11:30 am
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12:30 pm
Workshop 1: How to write a great scientific paper, and have it published in a good journal

Workshop

Elsevier is a Netherlands-based academic publishing company specializing in scientific, technical, and medical content. Its products include a number of top-tiered international journals the online citation database Scopus, the SciVal tool for measuring research performance. This publishing house works across all areas of STEM and its products and services also include digital tools for data management, instruction, research analytics and assessment. The company runs several workshops aimed at capacity building with their stakeholders and users.

12:30 pm
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1:00 pm
Lunch Break

1:05 pm
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1:25 pm
Environmental modeling of organic pollutant distribution in Jamaica

Contributed Talk

Numerous organic chemicals, either directly manufactured or formed as byproducts of other processes, are released into the environment. Once there, many cause adverse effects on environmental and human systems. Of particular concern are long-lasting impacts from those organic pollutants that remain in the environment for long periods of time. The development of appropriate management strategies to address this problem requires knowledge of the environmental distributions of these pollutants.

1:25 pm
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1:45 pm
Small-RNA Next Generation Sequencing, a Tool for the Discovery of the Virome of Jamaican Crops

Contributed Talk

Plant viruses are responsible for significant losses in crop production annually. Infections are often exacerbated by mixed infections. One strategy of combatting viral disease spread lies in swift diagnoses so that immediate interventions can be employed to slow or stop their spread. Sweet pepper, hot pepper, and tomato are among the most important cash crops in Jamaica and are constantly threatened by pathogens.

1:45 pm
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2:05 pm
A SURVEY OF NATIVE AND INVASIVE ALIEN LIVEBEARING FISH SPECIES IN JAMAICAN RIVERS

Contributed Talk

Invasive alien species (IAS) are implicated in the extinction or decline of numerous native aquatic species worldwide. Their negative impacts occur through mechanisms including habitat alteration, competition, predation, hybridisation, and the spread of disease (Strayer et al. 2006). Small island ecosystems are most susceptible to the impacts of IAS. Once established, freshwater IAS are difficult to eradicate without negatively impacting native species.

2:05 pm
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2:25 pm
BIOPROSPECTING AND BIOPIRACY IN THE CARIBBEAN: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Contributed Talk

The goal of harnessing our biodiversity to bring health and wealth to the people living in the Caribbean Region got a boost recently courtesy of a 2016 IUCN project entitled ‘Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in Countries of the Caribbean Region’ that had five components. This project was commissioned by eight governments (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago) with GEF funding, had UNEP as its Implementing Agency and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as the Executing Agency.

2:25 pm
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2:45 pm
INVESTIGATING THE USE OF NATURAL EXTRACTS OF PIPERACEAE IN CONTROL OF ADULT Aedes aegypti MOSQUITOES

Contributed Talk

Vector-borne diseases have since the 17th century been the leading cause of death by disease more than any other causes combined, even preventing development in the tropics (Gubler 1998). Of all insect vectors, Aedes aegypti proves to be the deadliest as it is the primary vector of the four most notorious vector-borne diseases – chikungunya (chik-V), Zika (Zik-V), dengue fever and yellow fever viruses. Control of the spread of Aedesborne diseases is primarily reliant on the control of the vector responsible for their spread. Traditionally, vector control relied on environmental hygiene and the elimination of breeding sites (Gubler 1998), shifting only in the 1980s to the use of synthetic chemicals in the form of carbamate, organochloride, organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides (Norris, et al. 2015). However, the evolution of Aedes aegypti resistance to synthetic chemicals have made control of the spread of the vector and its diseases increasingly difficult. This led to the exploration of innovative and alternative methods in the control of Aedes aegypti.

3:00 pm
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4:00 pm
Workshop 2: Become a user and collaborator with BNL and CFN

Workshop

Brookhaven National Laboratory delivers discovery science and transformative technology to power and secure the nation’s future. Primarily supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, Brookhaven Lab is a multidisciplinary laboratory with seven Nobel Prize-winning discoveries, 37 R&D 100 Awards, and more than 70 years of pioneering research. The laboratory is open to users from all countries and areas of STEM. The workshop will give an introduction to the capabilities of the laboratory, how to access facilities and collaboration tips for working with BNL scientists.

4:00 pm
-
6:00 pm
Poster Session (in Gather.Town)

Poster Session

Poster Session (in Gather.Town)

Day 2

Thursday, 11th August

All times are in GMT-5 (Jamaica time).

8:00 am
-
9:00 am
Caribbean coral reefs are in enormous trouble, but it’s not yet terminal
Invited Speaker

Judith Lang
9:00 am
-
9:15 am
Break

9:15 am
-
10:15 am
Workshop 3: Global 5G industry development and market insights
Workshop

10:20 am
-
10:40 am
DISCOVERY OF RARE AND NOVEL VARIANTS ASSOCIATED WITH BREAST CANCER IN TRINIDADIAN FAMILIES USING WHOLE-EXOME SEQUENCING
Contributed Talk

10:40 am
-
11:00 am
Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy - Preparing your Target Using Psychohistoriography: A Jamaican perspective
Contributed Talk

In recent years there has been a resurgence in interest in psychedelic assisted psychotherapy (PAP) [1]. Initial scientific research into the utilization of these compounds were eventually suspended due to concerns related to increasing recreational use of psychedelics and their association with the rise of the “counterculture movement” in the United States [2]. However, the use of psilocybin and other psychedelics have shown promise in the treatment of mental illnesses. The efficacy of this modality of treatment has been demonstrated through clinical trials and other studies in the management of a number of mental illnesses, including some treatment resistant cases [3].

11:00 am
-
12:00 pm
Workshop 4: Bench top to the conveyor belt: Steps toward the commercialization of scientific innovations
Contributed Talk

The majority of scientific discoveries remain confined to dissertations and peer review publications where they remain hidden from their possible industrial applications. Given the challenges offered by current global events like environmental pollution, climate change effects, and diseases, the need for more rapid transmission of scientific discoveries from the realm of postgraduate dissertations and research papers to industrial applications is most critical. Hence, the need for a clear road map, allowing the connection of both pure and applied scientific discoveries to their industrial applications is obvious. Of course, for this to be achieved, a clear understanding of the constituent steps of such a process is germane. Hence, this brief workshop aims to map a possible path for achieving the aforementioned central goal, using previous experiences and examples.

12:00 pm
-
12:30 pm
Lunch Break

12:30 pm
-
1:30 pm
Are CARICOM countries innovating into the fourth industrial revolution?
Invited Speaker

Ishenkumba Kahwa
1:35 pm
-
1:55 pm
Development of a Simple Automated Image-based Sun Position Tracking Algorithm
Contributed Talk

At the inception of automated solar tracking in the 1970’s, geometric architectures with pair(/s) of solid-state photo-sensitive devices were constructed and used to detect the sun’s position. As an alternative in recent years, cameras have been used to capture and process live sky images to detect the sun’s position. When the sky is cloudy however, both approaches are prone to errors and sometimes require human intervention which tend to reduce the trackers’ economic viability [1].

1:55 pm
-
2:15 pm
Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy : A necessary artefact for the SIDs of the Caribbean
Contributed Talk

Economic development theorists ((Schumpter 1942), (Romer, 1994), (Solow, 1956)) have established the theoretical constructs of scientific and technological developments as foundations to innovative solutions in the form of products, processes and services to long-term socio-economic development and prosperity to high-end economies around the world. It is through the pervasiveness of these innovations within markets which then spurs a sustainable social transformation and long term economic growth within nations.

2:15 pm
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2:35 pm
WEST INDIES ORIGINATED USPTO INVENTION WITH PRO SE PROSECUTION ARE A COMPETITIVE MISSING LINK IN REGIONAL AND GLOBAL SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
Contributed Talk

Globally, STEM scientists are the apex of novel innovation and cutting-edge research and development. While, patents are inextricably linked to innovation, research, and development, both undergraduate and graduate STEM students rarely invent, and those that do almost never invent twice. The thesis of this presentation is three-fold: (1) The understanding, value, benefits, and basics of intellectual property (IP) creation and invention are fundamentally missing in STEM curricula; (2) There are few (if any) incentives for STEM researchers to create and file patent applications within the University environment; and (3) Patent filling assistance programs (pro se) provide pro bono outreach and education to applicants. The key tenants of this presentation are reduced to practice as it relates to pro se patent filings of West Indies inspired invention to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2021 and 2022. Three examples of West Indies conceived and awarded IP by a lead inventor domiciled in Anguilla, BWI (Patent Nos. 10,934,168, 11,219,255, and 11,298,375). Further, a permanent patent filling, titled: “Innocuous Sterilant using Hemocyanin and Functionalized Fullerenes with Broad-Spectrum Intracellular and Interstitial Microbiocidal and Radical Scavenging Effects for Packaged Matter, Biologics and Organics including Liquids, Gases, Tissue, Organs, Cells, and Limbs with Copper Mediated Oxygenation for Viability and Preservation” is under review and awaiting a first office action offering broad evidence of origination of IP in the West Indies. As case studies for this presentation, two pieces of IP are examined: The permanent patent and a recently filed provisional application that teaches a minimally invasive and unassisted robotic surgical method for atomic scale manipulation of funtionalized nanoparticles to perform high precision “nano surgery”.

2:35 pm
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2:55 pm
THE IMPACT OF AREAWIDE PEST MANAGEMENT PROGRAMMES IN JAMAICA
Contributed Talk

The control of invasive species in crops with low tolerance are seen as a public good. This makes it a collective responsibility led by government. This is done directly through public expenditure on control measures or indirectly through incentives to people whose actions may be a contributing factor to the problem. The risks associated with invasive species have been increasing especially with globalization but are changing in nature thus warranting novel strategies for their management.

2:55 pm
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3:15 pm
A Preliminary Investigation into the Local Management of Isolated Bacteria Implicated in Malodour (Halitosis) in Mandeville, Jamaica
Contributed Talk

Oral malodour called halitosis, and commonly referred to as ‘bad breath’, is a socially offensive and discriminating occurrence that requires effective management for health improvement and avoidance of debasing stratification of sufferer. Halitosis has been reported to be prevalent in up to 50% of the general population in the USA, and about 6-23% in China. Between 80% and 85% of halitosis cases are caused by intraoral conditions. Literature on halitosis in Jamaica is either scarce or non-existent. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a common malodour that seemed to be spreading among persons through oral interaction by face-to-face contact with a sufferer was observed among the general populace in Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica.

3:15 pm
-
3:30 pm
Break

3:30 pm
-
5:00 pm
Grand Innovation Challenge
Grand Innovation Challenge

The FORECAST Grand Innovation Challenge 2022 (GIC) is to develop a feasible innovation (prototype/product/concept) that will revolutionize the management, protection, and use of water resources in the Caribbean.

Day 3

Friday, 12th August

All times are in GMT-5 (Jamaica time).

8:00 am
-
9:00 am
Innovation in the age of the metaverse
Invited Speaker

Andrew Russell
9:00 am
-
9:15 am
Break

9:20 am
-
9:40 am
FUNCTIONAL GROUP GATING OF DIBENZO-18-CROWN-6 TOWARDS THE DEVELOPMENT OF LEAD (II) ION SENSING ELECTRODES
Contributed Talk

Lead, a well-known neurotoxin, remains environmentally abundant, arising from many natural and synthetic processes which encourage its environmental accumulation and hence, increased interactions with flora and fauna. Therefore, tremendous research efforts have been invested into developing various methods for its analysis and sequestration, however, affordability, sensitivity and selectivity still remain formidable challenges in this area and hence here is room for further exploration.

9:40 am
-
10:00 am
A token-based smart contract management (TSM) DApp for vehicle loans
Contributed Talk

Loan management is a complex process that coordinates agreements among multiple stakeholders in such a way that each party benefits from the arrangement [2]. At the core of our work there is the Asset Token (ATK) which is a compliant ERC-20 token and used for all financial transactions in our proposed system. With this token in our private blockchain network [1], stakeholders can interact in a digital market. Our work includes a Non-Fungible Vehicle Token (VTK) and represents the physical vehicle. Users has access to the ownership of this NFT which prevents fraudulent transactions.

10:00 am
-
10:20 am
AN ACO-BASED ALGORITHM FOR HETEROGENEOUS COMPUTING ENVIRONMRNTS USING PRIORITY QUEUES
Contributed Talk

In parallel and distributed computing environments, task scheduling, where the basic idea is minimizing time loss and maximizing performance, is an absolutely critical component. Scheduling in these environments is NP-hard, so it is important that we continue to search and find the most efficient and effective ways of mapping tasks to processors. One such effective approach is known as Ant Colony Optimization (ACO). This popular optimization technique is inspired by the foraging behavior of ants in their colonies to find the shortest paths between their nests and food sources.

10:20 am
-
10:40 am
USING SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES IN THE PACIFIC NINÕ ZONES TO PREDICT DRY WEATHER DURING THE OPTIMAL GROWING SEASON IN PORTLAND
Contributed Talk

A major challenge facing farmers in Portland, Jamaica is dry weather, especially during the optimal growing season from April through August. During this five-month period Portland suffered from severe dry spells during the years 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2020. A second challenge is the damage to crops and land as well as loss of livestock due to tropical storms or hurricanes and the associated flooding. Portland farmers have suffered losses due to an active hurricane season numerous times and most recently in the years 2004, 2005, 2012 and 2020.

10:40 am
-
11:00 am
Utilizing Geographic Information Processing Systems for Analysis, Management and Repositioning of the Jamaican Ginger Industry
Contributed Talk

The worldwide ginger market was valued at US$6.82 billion in 2020, with India, Nigeria and China being the top global producers (Global Ginger Market Report, 2021). Jamaican ginger once held pride of place in the global market, with its widely accepted superior quality, uniqueness of flavor and high oil content. However, since the initial outbreak of the ginger rhizome rot disease in 1995, production has drastically plummeted to insignificant levels and the industry has not yet recovered. In this regard, a number of intervention strategies have been implemented by the Government of Jamaica over the years, including the Eastern Jamaica Agricultural Support Project of 1993 under RADA, the Ginger Agricultural Science, Technology and Innovation Working Group initiative supported by the CTA ACP-EU under the National Commission and Science and Technology in 2005, the Ginger Resuscitation and Expansion Programme of 2011 led by the Export Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ginger Value Chain Study supported by the FAO, the Ginger Varietal Study funded through the Jamaica Business Development Fund in 2018 and the ongoing Ginger Value Chain and Certification Programme supported by the FAO, with propagation and production of disease-free planting materials. These programmes, amounting to investments of millions of dollars, through partnerships with the key private, governmental and international stakeholders, have been met with varying degrees of success.

11:00 am
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12:00 pm
Workshop 5: Learn about the tool that can help you to find journals that could be best suited for publishing
Workshop

12:00 pm
-
1:00 pm
Lunch Break

1:05 pm
-
1:25 pm
A DFT AND EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF THE HYDROLYTIC DEGRADATION BEHAVIOUR AND SPECTROSCOPIC PROPERTIES OF SOME BENZYLIDENEANILINES
Contributed Talk

Benzylideneanilines, the condensation products of benzaldehyde and aniline derivatives, have enjoyed significant success as optical metal ion sensors due to their ability to form stable metal complexes which exhibit distinct spectral features compared to the unbound compound. However, their use in aqueous media is limited by the hydrolytic susceptibility of the C=N moiety. Hence, an in-depth investigation into the hydrolytic degradation mechanism of a series of 2-aminophenol derived Nbenzylideneanilines was conducted wherein molecular modelling techniques were applied to elucidate the “step-by-step” transformation mechanism of these compounds from a fundamental perspective.

1:25 pm
-
1:45 pm
SYNTHESIS AND ANTIPLASMODIAL EVALUATION OF PYRIDINE CARBOXAMIDES AND THIOCARBOXAMIDES
Contributed Talk

The malaria epidemic was responsible for about 241 million infectious cases and 627,000 deaths worldwide in 2020.[1] This infectious disease, transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito, is caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium namely P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. knowlesi, P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri.[2,3] Also, malaria is found predominantly in the highlands of Africa which accounts for more than 90% of infections worldwide. While there has been some success in the treatment of malaria, its eradication has been negatively impacted by insecticide and drug resistance. With emergence of thiosemicarbazone as antimalarial agents, the combination of pyridine and amide or thioamide moieties into one scaffold makes for an interesting target.[4]

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