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


Professor Peter Bacon Postgraduate Lab
Natural Science Building 
Tel: 1(868) 662-2002
Ext. 83084





  • M.Phil Candidate in Biochemistry - The University of the West Indies St. Augustine 
  • B.Sc. Chemistry and Biology (Upper Class Seconds) - The University of the West Indies (2013-2017)


Project Details

Title: Exploring the therapeutic potential of components in skin secretions of frogs of Trinidad and Tobago.
Summary: My research explores the therapeutic potential of components in the skin secretions of frogs of Trinidad and Tobago. The literature review has led to the selection of several frog species that are of interest here in Trinidad and Tobago. Some of the frog species are endemic; however, they belong to families of frogs known for secreting compounds for natural defense. These chemical compounds are responsible for protecting the frogs against environmental threats. Some of their well-documented biological activities are: cell membrane disruption, enzyme inhibition, neurological or hormonal stimulation to name a few. These natural occurring components can be utilized as a basis for a development of therapeutic agent against diseases.
Supervisors: Dr. Milena Mechkarska (U.W.I, Trinidad, St Augustine)
Co-supervisor: Professor John Michael Conlon (Ulster University, Northern Ireland)
Academic Committee member: Dr. Richard Fairman (U.W.I, Trinidad, St Augustine)

Research Interests

  • Isolation of natural products with therapeutic potential from animal and plant sources found in the Caribbean
  • Drug design and modification based on isolated therapeutic agents
  • Peptide synthesis and sequencing methodologies
  • Isolation and purification of complex mixtures via High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
  • Structural identification and elucidation with the use of Mass Spectrometry (MS), Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation - Time of Flight (MALDI-TOF), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and other 2D elucidation techniques


Projects Involved

  1. Identification of biologically active compounds with therapeutic potential from selected frog species in Trinidad and Tobago (2017 to present)
  2. Impacts of agricultural pollutants on reproductive health in the tungara frog (Engystomops pustulosus) (2018)
  3. Isolation of novel steroidal alkaloids from Solanum nudum var micranthum (2017)



Poster presentation - “Comparative peptidomic analysis of skin secretions of two endemic frogs, Mannophryne trinitatis (Trinidad) and Mannophryne olmonae (Tobago)”, Gervonne Barran, John Michael Conlon, Milena Mechkarska, May 20th, 2019.
Proposal seminar - “Exploring the therapeutic potential of components in skin secretions of frogs in Trinidad and Tobago”, Gervonne Barran, March 29th, 2018.
Undergraduate research project seminar - “Isolation of​ steroidal alkaloids from ​Solanum nudum ​var micranthum​”, Gervonne Barran, April 12th, 2017.

Conferences, research symposiums and selected lectures attended

Biennial Regional Conference and Expo on Chemical Science, Technology and Industry, Department of Chemistry, UWI, St. Augustine Campus, May 22th-24th, 2019.

Faculty of Science and Technology Annual Research Symposium, UWI, St. Augustine Campus, May 20th-24th, 2019.

Faculty of Science and Technology Annual Research Symposium, UWI, St. Augustine Campus, April 5th-6th, 2018.

Faculty of Science and Technology Annual Research Symposium, UWI, St. Augustine Campus, April 6th-7th, 2017.

Mini-symposium on Frog-Based Research at the Department of Life Sciences, UWI, St. Augustine Campus, October 30th – November 1st, 2017.

HIV/AIDS – The Challenges of the 21st Century”, Distinguished Open Lecture of Nobel Laureate, Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, UWI and CARISCIENCE, November 24th, 2017.


Work Experience

Demonstrator in Department of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine (2017 to present)

Personal Tutor at G.E.M.S Institute, The Learning Center and A+ Class Tuition (2012-2017)



Diabetes Research Group, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, (May 7th – May 21st, 2018)

  • Familiarity and training on a methodology for Reverse Phase High Performance Liquid Chromatography (RP-HPLC)
  • Isolation and purification of peptides from frog skin secretions
  • Analysis and data interpretation of MS/MALDI-TOF results
  • Cytotoxicity testing with known peptide sequences

Become a master in HPLC Techniques (Liquid Chromatography) – Online Course (June 4th, 2019)

  • Introduction to Liquid Chromatography
  • HPLC systematics, composition and analysis
  • Column chemistry – Stationary phase
  • System suitability and method development

Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Course (November 2nd – 3rd, 2017)

  • Training Site: University of the West Indies
  • Video-based, instructor-led course that teaches students critical skills needed to respond to and manage an emergency until emergency medical services arrives. Skills covered in this course included first aid; choking relief in adults, children, and infants; and what to do for sudden cardiac arrest in adults, children, and infants

Instructional Skills Workshop (July 2nd- 4th, 2018)

  • Reviewed basic ideas about teaching and learning
  • Developed learning outcomes, lesson plans and assessment strategies
  • Explored instructional strategies, feedback methods and classroom assessment techniques
  • Designed, developed and delivered two-mini lessons
  • Received written, oral and video feedback from peers

Postgraduate Writing Workshop (March 1st, March 15th and March 29th, 2018)

  • Develop writing techniques and skills for scientific presentations
  • Provide commentary on colleagues’ presentations
  • Presentation of current/past research seminars for critique

Academic Writing Essentials: University Writing Crash Course – Online Course (on-going)

  • Writing with clarity and precision to develop and support ideas
  • Organization of your ideas logically and with clear transitions
  • Effectively incorporating sources
  • Understanding sentence structure, formatting, and punctuation
  • Understand how to approach writing assignments

Entrepreneurship 101 Training (June 15th, 2019)

  • Understanding the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurship process
  • Developing strategies to successfully take an idea into the market
  • Improving business planning skills


Achievements/ Awards

  • Campus Research and Publication Fund (2018)
  • UNICEF Jamaica Top Child Researcher Award Finalist, Caribbean Child Research Conference (2012)


Co-Curricular/Volunteer Experience

Volunteer - Faculty of Science and Technology Annual Research Symposium 2019, University of the West Indies Zoology Museum (UWIZM) and the National Herbarium of Trinidad and Tobago (NHTT) – Department of Life Science Booth and Registration, UWI, St. Augustine Campus (2019)

Volunteer - Bioblitz 2018, Toco, Herpetology Group, Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club (TTFNC) in association with University of the West Indies Zoology Museum (UWIZM) (2018)

Volunteer - Bioblitz 2017, Icacos, Herpetology Group, Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club (TTFNC) in association with University of the West Indies Zoology Museum (UWIZM) (2017)

President - Chemists’ In Action, University of the West Indies, St Augustine (2016 - 2017)

  • Supervision of Club Activities
  • Chair General meetings with Executives and General Members.
  • Liaison medium between the Department of Chemistry (U.W.I) and Students
  • Mentorship of Pre-University and University Students in relevant studies related to Chemistry

Volunteer - ASA Wright Nature Centre (2013)

  • Valuable contributions to enhancing the environment, laying trails and interaction with native wildlife

Technical/Vocational Trainee - Trinity College East (2008 - 2009)

  • Introduction to Computers
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