Get acquainted with some of the key people from the ISC community attending the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States.

SIDS4 Talent Book

Welcome to the ISC Talent Book for the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4). This book serves as a resource to acquaint you with some of the key individuals from the ISC community who will be attending this important event.

Within this page, you’ll find profiles of diverse individuals representing various backgrounds and expertise. From seasoned professionals to emerging leaders, each person featured here plays a significant role in the efforts towards the sustainable development of SIDS.

For any inquiries, interviews, or media queries with members of the Talent Book, please contact James Waddell at using the subject line “SIDS4 Talent Book”. We look forward to connecting you with the voices and insights driving positive change in small island developing states.

ISC Staff

Photo of James Waddell

James Waddell
Science Officer

Expertise: Political science, public policy

Carolina Santacruz

Carolina Santacruz-Perez
Science Officer

Regional Focal Point for LAC

Expertise: Biophysics, biochemistry

Salote Austin
Oceania Programme Manager

Regional Focal Point for Asia-Pacific

Expertise: Educational policy

ISC SIDS Liaison Committee

Eric Katovai

Pacific Academy Establishment Committee; Solomon Islands National University

Expertise: Environmental biology, tropical forest ecology, biodiversity conservation

Dr. Eric Katovai, an esteemed environmental biologist specializing in ecosystem functioning and biodiversity conservation, currently serves as the Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor – Academic and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU). With an extensive 18-year academic career, Dr. Katovai has held key administrative positions at various institutions, focusing on tropical forest ecology in Melanesia and actively engaging in research and rehabilitation projects in the Solomon Islands. He advocates for young scientists and emphasizes the alignment of research with policy development to address local, regional, and global challenges.

Mark Wuddivira

Caribbean Academy of Sciences; University of the West Indies, St. Augustine

Expertise: Agri-environmental soil physics, sustainable agriculture

Professor Mark Wuddivira, serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine (UWI), is recognized for his expertise in agri-environmental soil physics. With a Ph.D. in Soil Science from UWI and extensive experience, he contributes significantly to interdisciplinary research, particularly in soil physical management and tropical ecosystem sustainability. Additionally, he holds key editorial and leadership roles in scientific organizations, including the Caribbean Academy of Sciences.

Michelle Mycoo

University of the West Indies, St. Augustine

Expertise: Urban and regional planning; sea-level rise

Professor Michelle Mycoo is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning in the Department of Geomatics Engineering and Land Management, Faculty of Engineering, at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. She is one of two Coordinating Lead Authors of Chapter 15 on Small Islands in Working Group II of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change. Professor Mycoo is a Member of the Future Earth Coasts (FEC) Academy and a Regional Engagement Partner of FEC. She is also a Steering Committee Member of the UN-Habitat University Partnership Initiative.

Terrence Forrester

University of the West Indies, Jamaica; Caribbean Academy of Sciences

Expertise: Experimental medicine

Prof. Forrester is Chief Scientist for UWI SODECO (Solutions for Developing Countries) and Professor of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies (UWI). He is a clinical scientist with a longstanding interest in the etiology and pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, primarily hypertension, especially the long term implications of early developmental impairment due to malnutrition. He also has spearheaded translation research in the social space; for example, currently UWI SODECO is rehabilitating a 40km stretch of coastal marine forest (mangroves) badly damaged over decades as a national initiative to enhance coastal resilience. Dr. Forrester provides advice to  a number of international organizations.

Vidushi Neergheen

University of Mauritius, Mauritius Academy of Science

Expertise: Biopharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and functional foods; innovative and preventative healthcare solutions.

Dr Neergheen is the Director of the Doctoral School at the University of Mauritius. In this capacity, she actively advocates for and supports doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows. Dr Nerrgheen spearheads research initiatives at the Biopharmaceutical Unit within the Centre for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research. Her outstanding contributions to cancer research earned her the prestigious Best African Woman Researcher Award at the UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit in 2017. Committed to advancing scientific collaboration and knowledge dissemination, she actively engages in prominent global scientific communities, including the Global Young Academy, Next Einstein Forum, and African Science Leadership Program. As a facilitator within ASLP, Vidushi steadfastly works to nurture a sustainable network of science leaders in Africa, emphasising the imperative role of young scientists in influential decision-making processes.

Salome V. Tupou Taufa

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

Expertise: Resource Economist – ocean and fisheries policy and management

Dr. Salome V. Tupou Taufa is Programme Adviser – Economics (Resource Economist) at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), where she is also Team Leader for Fisheries.    As part of the Economics Team, Dr. Taufa supports the implementation of the Forum’s Economic Ministers’ decisions, including leading the development of the Pacific Roadmap for  Economic Development in support of the implementation of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. Prior to joining PIFS, Dr. Taufa was a Lecturer of Ocean Resource Management at The University of the South Pacific (USP) and the head of the Economics Division of the Ministry of Fisheries in Tonga. She has worked in fisheries and oceans, with a focus on ocean and fisheries policy and management, for over 15 years.

ISC network

Joy Botleng

Pacific Academy Establishment Committee; Janessa’s Research and Consultancy Services (JRCS)

Expertise: Digital fabrication; integrating cutting-edge technology into educational environments

Dr Vomaranda Joy Botleng is a specialist in digital fabrication. Her research is at the forefront of integrating cutting-edge technology into educational environments. Dr Botleng’s research has been featured in prominent international conferences focused on science, technology and engineering, notably including the prestigious ‘International Conference for Engineering Design (ICED)’. In her previous capacity as the Officer-In-Charge of the National University of Vanuatu School of Education, Dr Botleng played a pivotal role in shaping the teacher education landscape in Vanuatu. She is now a consultant for ‘Janessa’s Research and Consultancy Services (JRCS)’ in Vanuatu.

Salote Nasalo

Pacific Academy Establishment Committee; University of the South Pacific, Fiji

Expertise: Climate action in mangrove management and restoration

Salote Sevuti Nasalo is an i-Taukei young scientist from the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) at the University of the South Pacific (USP-Laucala Campus) in the completion phase of her master’s degree. She is an ACIAR PASS-CR scholar and her research focusses on the role of climate action in Mangrove Management and Restoration.

Lisa Benjamin

Caribbean Academy of Sciences (Trinidad); University of the West Indies, Trinidad

Expertise: Epidemiologist, veterinary medicine

Dr Lisa Benjamin is an epidemiologist and veterinarian at the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM), UWI Trinidad, with experience of conducting research in the US, as well as in Trinidad and Tobago. As an Oak Ridge Institute of Sciences and Education Postdoctoral Scholar, she was based at the Center for Food Safety at UC Davis in California, a US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition Centre of Excellence. Dr. Benjamin’s focus at the Center for Food Safety was on risk factor analysis of pre-harvest data. She continues to conduct food safety research at the SVM. Another current focus is on tackling antimicrobial resistance, described as a “silent epidemic”, in the Caribbean region using a One Health approach. The objectives are to provide data that will support the development and implementation of real-time surveillance systems and to promote the creation of innovative solutions to challenges arising from antimicrobial resistance.

Andrew Hunte

Caribbean Academy of Sciences (Antigua & Barbuda); University of Trinidad and Tobago

Expertise: Mathematics

Dr Andrew Hunte is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), Department of Foundations and Prior Learning. Dr Hunte’s current research interests include reasoning and proof in geometry and algebra in secondary school, mathematics education reform, students and teachers conceptions of reasoning and proof, textbook analyses, graph theory and combinatorics. Dr Hunte currently conducts research with the Center of Education at UTT, investigating social mathematical norms during students’ engagement with reasoning and proof opportunities.

Tracy-Ann Hyman

University of the West Indies, Jamaica; Caribbean Academy of Sciences

Expertise: Climate change

Tracy-Ann Hyman is currently a Researcher in the Climate Studies Group of the Department of Physics, U.W.I. Mona, Jamaica. She is responsible for providing technical research support to the Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project in Jamaica. This project is being implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the United Nations Environment programme and is funded by the European Union. The project’s objective is to ‘increase resilience and reduce risks associated with natural hazards in vulnerable areas, thereby contributing to the sustainable development of Jamaica.’

Raymond Jagessar

Caribbean Academy of Sciences; Scientific Research Council (Jamaica)

Expertise: Pure and applied chemistry, chemical biology, pharmaceutical chemistry

Prof. Raymond Jagessar is a Fellow of the Caribbean Academy of Sciences. His research interests are broad, covering the spectrum of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He has published over one hundred research articles, five book chapters, one book and presented at over a hundred conferences locally, regionally and  internationally. He has given keynote presentations at several conferences. He is also member of several editorial board and reviewer to several journals. He is currently Professor in Chemistry at the University of Guyana (South America), former President of the Caribbean Academy of Sciences (2020-2023) and now Foreign Secretary of the Caribbean Academy of Sciences.

Christian Virgil

Caribbean Academy of Sciences (Trinidad); College of Science, Technology & Applied Arts, Trinidad & Tobago

Expertise: Climate change adaptation and risk; Industrial engineering

Christian Virgil is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Studies at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts, Trinidad and Tobago.

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