A microbiologist and pathologist, Prof. Louis Grant was affiliated with the University of the West Indies for 20 years where he achieved the highest academic honour, being named professor emeritus in microbiology. Young Louis Grant was surrounded by science from an early age born in Vere, Clarendon in 1913, his father worked in a chemical laboratory at the Appleton Estate. As a student, Grant showed promise and received the Vere Trust scholarship to attend
In the 1940s Dr. Grant dreamed of a
Groundbreaking Research On Three Diseases
During the decade of the 1960s, Dr. Grant became a full professor of microbiology at the University of the
In the early 1960s many Jamaicans began to fall ill with severe fevers. Some, who seemed otherwise healthy, soon died. Through intensive research Dr. Grant discovered that this disease was spread through contact with the urine of infected animals. Rats were immune to it and therefore major carriers of the virus. Dr. Grant deduced that rats tend to urinate after eating in kitchens and this way people would consume food on which rats might have already urinated. There is no cure for viruses, the most doctors can do is make the patient comfortable while the body fights off the infection. The leptospirosis virus, if not rejected by the body immediately on contact, would then enter the blood stream, multiply and possibly lead to death. Dr. Grant quickly spread the word, cautioning against rats entering kitchens and the danger of leaving food exposed. This public education campaign helped contain the spread of the disease, outbreaks of which have since been controlled.
In the mid-1960s, reports of a disease afflicting horses on the eastern side of the island began to surface. Prof. Grant instituted quarantine on the movement of horses, donkeys and mules from that region. After much laboratory investigation he discovered that the horses were suffering from a virus known as equine encephalitis, which could not be spread to humans but could cause great damage to
In the late 1960s Jamaicans began to suffer from a strange fever. Dr. Grant identified it as the dengue virus and concluded after much research that it was transmitted via the aedes aegypti mosquito the same mosquito that carries the deadly yellow fever virus. This led to another public education campaign and the beginning of a research effort on the study of arboviruses (viruses spread by blood-sucking insects) at UWI.
In the early 1970s Prof. Grant retired from the University of theWest
Other World Class Jamaican Scientists
- Dr. Harold M. Johnson, 1875-1974. Principal Medical Officer of health who successfully led the fight against hookworm, ringworm, and malaria in
- Dr. Cicely Williams, 1893-1992. Identified protein deficiency disease kwashiorkor.
- Dr. William E. McCulloch, 1896-1963: Found cure for Black Water Fever and Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
- Dr. Leigh D. Lord, 1921 : Blood transfusion pioneer who also developed "Tia Maria", the world renowned coffee liquor.
- Prof. G. Lalor, 1930 : A physical chemist Prof. Lalor is known for the discovery of haematoxylin, a substance extracted from logwood and used in the diagnosis of cancer. Now retired from UWI, he served as a lecturer, creator of UWIDITE, the system of distance learning, and of
's first geo-chemical map, which uncovered many previously unidentified elements. 1974-1995: He was the Pro-Vice Chancellor of UWI 1991: Became the second principal of the Mona campus. He remains involved in various research projects. Jamaica
- Dr. Kenneth Richards, 1933 : Developed the "Richards Procedure" which made lung transplants feasible in humans.
- Dr. Paula Tennant, 1967 : A biologist and botanist, she developed the transgenic Jamaican solo sunrise papaya, which has proven resistant to the Papaya Ringspot Virus in numerous field testings.