Delaware and the impact of obesity was the topic of featured speaker Wesley College Professor of Chemistry, Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary/Collaborative Sponsored Research, Dr. Malcolm D’Souza, at the Life Science Professionals event sponsored by Delaware BioScience. The presentation was held at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute in Newark, DE on Thursday, April 6.
The goal of Delaware BioScience Association is to provide a unified voice for Delaware’s thriving bio community, dedicated to facilitating growth of the life science industry, advancements in research as well as supporting education initiatives in Delaware and the surrounding region. The event is an opportunity for scientists, engineers, healthcare professionals, postdocs, and attorneys to expand their network with peers and mentors.
“Wesley College is the only institution in the First State that offers informatics as an undergraduate interdisciplinary minor or as a certificate program,” said Dr. D’Souza. “This program provided the training and data collection system necessary to research this project.”
The research entitled: “Wesley College Data Science Research: Impact of Obesity in Delaware,” was collected in an undergraduate public health surveillance system project using open-sourced georeferenced census, health, and health disparity data. The Wesley team of researchers found that age and educational attainment were found to be limiting obesity risk-factors in Delaware’s adult population. From 1990-2014 there was a staggering 113% obesity growth-rate in Delaware, and between the census years 2000 and 2010, this obesity growth-rate was 63.7%.
Delaware’s 1999-2014 vital records showed that the mortality rate attributable to obesity for individuals over the age of 15 in 2014 was 53.8% higher than the one observed in 1999. Furthermore, all three Delaware counties saw an increase in death counts brought on by obesity. Kent County experienced the largest increase (66.0%), followed by New Castle County (47.4%), and Sussex County (25.2%).
Dr. D’Souza is the principal investigator on the Wesley College NIH-NIGMS DE-INBRE program, the NSF DE-EPSCoR program, the NSF ARRA program, and the Cannon Scholar (NSF S-STEM) program. In 2009, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Northern Illinois University (NIU) recognized Dr. D’Souza as one of its 50 most distinguished alumni. He received the American Chemical Society’s E. Emmett Reid Award in 2012, recognizing his high-quality teaching in chemistry at a small college in the ACS Mid-Atlantic region. He was also honored twice in 2016, with the Delaware Bioscience Association’s Higher Education Educator of the Year Award, and the National Institutes of Health’s Sidney McNairy (IDeA program) Mentoring Award.
In addition, Dr. D’Souza has projects, presentations, and publications in the area of chemometrics, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, and physical organic chemistry.