Dr. Denise Beckles

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Dr. Denise M. Beckles obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA USA) in 1994. She continued with postgraduate studies in Environmental Science and Engineering at Rice University (Houston, TX USA), culminating in a Ph.D. in 2000. On completion of her studies, Dr. Beckles returned to Trinidad and worked for a short time at the Environmental Management Authority as a Technical Coordinator responsible for the Air and Noise Pollution programmes. In 2001, Dr. Beckles joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine as a Lecturer.

At UWI, Dr. Beckles is responsible for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Environmental and Analytical Chemistry. Dr. Beckles' research interests are primarily in the area of environmental science, a broad area that includes the study of the chemistry and biology of the natural environment. More specifically, all of Dr. Beckles' current research projects generally feed into the overall concept of environmental quality - its measurement and means to improve it. This translates into transforming waste vegetable oil into greener biofuel, measurement of emerging water contaminants in rivers, measurement of air and water in volcanic regions, remediation of hydrocarbon pollution by bacteria, and even the development of inexpensive air monitoring devices for use in high schools. These research projects have resulted in a number of publications in international journals.

Selected Publications

  • Joseph, E., D.M. Beckles, L. Cox, V.B. Jackson, and D. Alexander. 2015. An evaluation of ambient sulphur dioxide concentrations from passive degassing of the Sulphur Springs, Saint Lucia geothermal system: Implications for human health. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 304:38-48.
  • Hosein, R., S. Haque and D.M. Beckles. 2014. Mud volcanoes of Trinidad as astrobiological analogs for Martian environments. Life. 4:566-585.
  • Kanhai, L.D.K., J. Gobin, D.M. Beckles, B. Lauckner and A. Mohammed. 2014. Metal contamination in the sediments and mangrove oysters (Crassostrea rhizophorae) of the Caroni Swamp, Trinidad. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 186:1961-1976.
  • Joseph, E.P., N. Fournier, J.M. Lindsay, R. Robertson and D.M. Beckles. 2013. Chemical and isotopic characteristics of geothermal fluids from Sulphur Springs, Saint Lucia. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 254:23-36.
  • Wyse-Mason, R. and D.M. Beckles. 2012. Characterisation and alkaline catalysed transesterification of waste cooking oil collected from various types of restaurants. Energy for Sustainable Development, 16:515-519.
  • Mohammed, D., A. Ramsubhag and D.M. Beckles. 2007. An assessment of the biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in contaminated soil using non-indigenous, commercial microbes. Water Air and Soil Pollution. 182:349-356.