Delaware and the impact of obesity was the topic of featured speaker Wesley College Professor of Chemistry, Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary/Collaborative Sponsored Research Malcolm D’Souza at the Life Science Professionals event sponsored by Delaware BioScience, held April 6 at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute in Newark.

The goal of Delaware BioScience Association is to provide a unified voice for Delaware’s 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, health care professionals, postdocs and attorneys to expand their network with peers and mentors.

The research, titled “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 113 percent obesity growth-rate in Delaware, and between the census years 2000 and 2010, this obesity growth-rate was 63.7 percent.

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 percent higher than the one observed in 1999. Furthermore, the three Delaware counties saw an increase in death counts brought on by obesity.

D’Souza is the principal investigator on the Wesley College National Institute of Health National Institute of General Medical Sciences Delaware IDea Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence program, the National Science Foundation Delaware Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program, the NSF American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program and the Cannon Scholar program. In 2009, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Northern Illinois University recognized D’Souza as one of its 50 more distinguished alumni. He received the American Chemical Society’s E. Emmett Reid Award in 2012, recognizing his teaching in chemistry at a small college in the American Chemical Society 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 Mentoring Award.

In addition, D’Souza has projects, presentations, and publications in the area of chemometrics, STEM education and physical organic chemistry.