Thursday, June 27, 2019

UVI Announces Winners of Research Day 2019

The University of the Virgin Islands announces the student and faculty winners of the 8th annual UVI Research Day. The Office of Research and Public Service and the Eastern Caribbean Center hosted the event in April on the St. Thomas Campus and Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. Research is on display at the event which features an open forum for students, faculty, and staff to discuss a myriad of topics that affect the community. 

Of the 44 undergraduate student entries on the St. Thomas Campus, Torhera Durand from the College of Science and Mathematics emerged as the winner on the St. Thomas Campus. 
Durand’s poster was titled “Characterization of Metastatic Progression.” During breast cancer metastasis, cancer cells break off from the primary tumor and invade other tissues and organs throughout the body. In her abstract, Durand mentioned that the goal of the project is to devise therapeutic strategies capable of preventing disease progression. UVI Professor, Dr. Yakini Brandy advised Durand during her research. 

On the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix, there were 21 entries, Manal Asad from the School of Nursing emerged as this year’s undergraduate student winner. 
Asads research poster entitled “Umbilical Cord Care Treatment in Newborns” compares the use of alcohol or antiseptics versus dry cord care to determine which treatment is best in reduction of adverse events, and time to umbilical cord separation. Asad’s study concluded that dry umbilical cord care for newborns is an easy, safe and straightforward method of handling the umbilical cord care in healthy newborns. Dr. Desiree Bertrand, UVI faculty, advised Asad during her research. 

This year’s event saw 83 faculty entrants between both campuses. Stuart Weiss, UVI professor, from the Agriculture and Experiment Station and UVI professor, Tyler B. Smith, from the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies of the Albert A. Sheen and St. Thomas Campus respectively are the faculty winners. 

Each undergraduate contestant was judged on 12 items, and faculty were assessed on 14 items, including the quality of the poster figures and graphs, hypothesis, statement of purpose, knowledge of the research subject, and evidence in support of the conclusions. 

Weiss presented on the “Evaluating alternative mulching methods with conservation tillage for weed-suppression in tropical organic watermelon cropping systems.

Smith presented on “Hurricane generated wave thresholds for damage to coral reefs in the US Virgin Islands.

Undergraduate student winners will be awarded a cash prize of $500 faculty winners will be awarded a cash prize of $1000. 

“Over the years, we have seen an increased level of participation at Research Day,” said Dr. Frank Mills, chair of the UVI Research Day committee. “The competition for the prizes for best research posters served to enhance the quality of the event.” 

UVI’s Research Day featured posters and presentations from students and faculty. The round-table and poster presentation format allow the general public to have one-on-one interactions with researchers. 

“We are especially delighted with the participation from the high school students who were not only exposed to the variety of research topics that our students and faculty presented, but particularly with their exposure to creative and innovative exercises,” Dr. Mills said. 

Seventy-five high school students from around St. Thomas participated in the first annual “Innovation Experience” during UVI’s Research Day. The “Innovation Experience” introduced high school students to the principles of UVI’s famous Hackathon through a Hands-on Creative Problem-Solving experiment.  

The students who captured first-place were Se-An Rawlings, Angelica Sterling, and Wilah Marie Baptiste – representatives of the Seventh Day Adventist High School. 

The members of the second-place team were also representatives of the Seventh Day Adventist High School. 

UVI Research Day 2019 witnessed another unique addition - virtual reality technology that allowed participants to observe underwater habitats such as corals and mangroves.  
A publication featuring the abstracts and authors of 2019 UVI research is available. It can also be accessed by clicking this link: 2019 Research Day Abstract Booklet

Since 2012, the University’s annual Research Day has been providing the general Virgin Islands community the opportunity to learn of the various areas of studies in which students are undertaking research. 

For more information about Research Day, contact the Public Relations Office at (340) 693-1056 or