USM, AUC and NIPA host guests from Puerto Rico | THE DAILY HERALD

From left: AUC’s Dr. Pedro Delgado, UPR Dr. Maldonado, USM’s Rolinda Carter, NIPA’s Eudoxia Williams and USM President Antonio Carmina Báez

CUPECOY–University of St. Martin (USM), American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine and National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) came together last week to host their first joint scientific research lectures at Cupecoy with special guests from University of Puerto Rico (UPR).

AUC’s new Senior Associate Dean Dr. Pedro Delgado opened the two-part event with words of welcome and praise for the efforts of collaboration among St. Maarten’s three institutions of higher education.

On Thursday, May 24, Professor of Neuroscience at the Department of Biology at UPR Río Piedras Dr. Carmen Maldonado-Vlaar delivered her talk entitled: “Addiction and the Brain: A maladaptive crosstalk between neurochemistry and behaviour.”

During the presentation, Maldonado-Vlaar described her research findings on the role of oxytocin on cocaine dependence. Oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” is a hormone released by the brain that influences sexual and social behaviours. Her research shows that oxytocin reduces anxiety caused by the urge addicts have, also a chemical process, to seek cocaine.

USM Dean of Academics Dr. Rolinda Carter shared her hopes that “the knowledge transmitted and the discussions fostered will help to inform decisions and stimulate thoughts among those in attendance.”

In the audience were AUC and USM faculty, staff and students, as well as health professionals from across the island.

NIPA’s new Internal Supervisor Eudoxia Williams accompanied students from St. Martin’s Nursing programme interested in learning about addiction.

The first evening ended with a reception where many participants stayed back to ask Maldonado-Vlaar additional questions on her field of study.

On Friday, May 25, UPR School of Pharmacy Professor Dr. Cornelis Vlaar presented his most recent findings in cancer research and anti-metastatic drug development. Vlaar and his colleagues at UPR are now assessing their findings on MBQ-167 as a potentially novel drug that may prevent the spread of cancer cells and radically reduce tumours without increased toxicity. Vlaar hopes to have the drug tested in humans by 2020. AUC Professor and Chair Emeritus Dr. Joe Miller introduced him to the audience.

Friday’s lecture was followed by a lunch, which allowed additional time for fellowship between the guests from Puerto Rico and the St. Maarten-based researchers and professors.

USM, AUC and NIPA expressed satisfaction with the interest shown and look forward to hosting subsequent lectures together. In January 2019, the three institutions signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate in the areas of education, research, community service, and public policy.

Source: The Daily Herald