Contact information

Department of Life Sciences
The University of the West Indies St. Augustine,
Trinidad and Tobago



Natural Sciences Building
Plant Microbe-Lab
Tel: 1(868) 662-2002 (ext: 82238)


  • PhD Microbiology (Candidate), UWI-STA- Upgraded from M.Phil to PhD July 2018
  • B.Sc. (Biology & Mathematics) The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine 2011 -2014- First Class Hons


Project Details

  • Title: “Molecular characterization of antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae from the clinical and environmental sources in Trinidad, West Indies”
  • Summary: Klebsiella pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae), the medically most important species in its genus, has been ranked as a critical pathogen likely to have major impacts around the world in the near future. Resistance against third-generation cephalosporins and last-line carbapenems introduced Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase (ESBL) and Carbapenemase-producing K. pneumoniae which further exacerbated the antibiotic resistance problem. Additionally, virulent K. pneumoniae is becoming critical in clinical environments since virulence factors associated with this pathogen promotes survival in its host as well as the severity of infection. The increase in resistant and virulent K. pneumoniae strains around the world, and the lack of information on this pathogen in the local clinical and nonclinical environment is cause for concern. As such, this study aimed to:

    • Use molecular identification to determine the species identity of clinical isolates.
    • Use Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to characterize the isolates for ESBL, carbapenemase, and virulence genes.
    • Use of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to evaluate variants of genes and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance.
    • Use of Metagenomics to evaluate antibiotic resistance in nonclinical environments.
  • Supervisor: Dr Adesh Ramsubhag

  • Co-Supervisor: Prof. Jayaraj Jayaraman


Work Experience

The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Faculty of Science and Technology. Department of Life Sciences

  • Teaching Assistant (MSc. Biotechnology)- February 2023
  • Teaching Assistant (Genetics, Evolutionary Biology, Plant Physiology, Plant Genetics)-January 2019-January 2023
  • Lab Demonstrator (Genetics, Microbiology and Biotechnology)-September 2014-January 2019

Ministry of Works and Transport

  • Accounts Department - May 2014



  • UWI PG Scholarship. The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. 2015-2017
  • CRP Grant Research. The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. 2017-2019
  • BP Trinidad and Tobago LLC Scholarship. The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. 2013
  • First Class Honors. The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Faculty of Science and Technology. 2014
  • Dean Honor Roll. The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Faculty of Science and Technology. Semesters I and II 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 academic years.


Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Pustam, Aarti, Jayaraj Jayaraman, and Adesh Ramsubhag. 2022. “Characterization of Beta-Lactam Resistance Genes and Virulence Factors Associated with Multidrug-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae Isolated from Patients at Major Hospitals in Trinidad, West Indies.” Current Microbiology 79 (278).


Workshop Attended and Presented

  • Caribbean Association of Clinical Microbiology (CACM), 2017
  • Department of Life Sciences Symposium 2015-2016, 2016-2017,2017-2018
  • RDI antibiotic resistance conference. Dept. of Life Sciences, FST, UWI-STA August 2016



  • Planning and implementation of an International Scientific conference Organizational Committee - International Conference on Integrated Disease Management in Tropical Vegetables-June 2016
  • Planning and implementation of a Regional Scientific conference Organizational Committee- RDI antibiotic resistance conference-August 2016


Supervision of Research Students

  • Ravena Balgobin-Molecular characterization of carbapenem-resistant pathogens isolated from the wounds of patients at a major hospital in Trinidad. 2023



  • Molecular characterization of clinical Acinetobacter baumanii using PCR and WGS. 2022
  • The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, in association with PAHO. 2022
  • Surveillance protocol for cefiderocol and other drugs susceptibility in carbapenem-resistant organisms in Latin America and the Caribbean 2021-2022.


Additional Skills/Certificates

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Microbial Shotgun Metagenomics- June 2022
  • Advanced Bioinformatics and NGS-Whole Genome Denovo Assembly and RNA Seq. Data Analysis. ArrayGenTechnologies PVT.Ltd. 2020.


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