Specialist: Biochemistry & Nutrition

About Me

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Posted by Victor Jonathan Temple on January 13, 2010 at 7:36 PM Comments comments (8)

I am a biochemist with special interest in enzymology, nutrition, drug discovery and toxicology.


Currently, I am a Professor in Biochemistry in the Division of Basic Medical Sciences (BMS), School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG). As an academic, I have over 30 years of teaching experience in Medical Schools in Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific. I am expert in using the Problem Based Learning (PBL) curriculum, as well as the Traditional (Didactic) curriculum in teaching Medical and Health Sciences students. I also have a lot of administrative and human resource management experience.


Research interests & achievements:

I extracted and purified mitochondrial Creatine Kinase (CK). I also determined the mode of interaction between mitochondrial CK (Mit-CK) and the mitochondrial membrane, and the kinetic parameters of bound and unbound forms of the enzyme. I also determined the difference between the amino acid composition of Mit-CK and the isoenzyme form (MM-form) of the enzyme.


My main research focus has been obtaining experimental data to document the extent and impact of micronutrient deficiencies on maternal and child health in resource limited countries. More specifically, for over 27 years, I have been actively involved in extensive research on maternal and child malnutrition with emphasis on micronutrient deficiencies (Iron, Copper, Zinc, Iodine, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin A) in infants and mothers in Plateau State, Nigeria, and in Papua New Guinea.


Some of my achievements in this area include the following:

I set up and coordinated the Health and Nutrition Resource Group (HNRG) in the Dietetics and Rehabilitation Unit (DRU) in the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH). The main focus of the HNRG was to identify major nutritional problems in various communities in and around the Plateau State and to find optimal solutions to them. This effort was recognised by UNICEF – they sponsored many of our community-based nutritional activities.


The HNRG developed and nutritionally evaluated a number of complementary foods for infants, using locally available foodstuffs. The success of this project was acknowledged by the DRU in JUTH. UNICEF later sponsored the implementation of this project in community-based hospitals and some teaching hospitals in Nigeria under the names of ‘Community Initiative on Complementary Feeding’ and ‘Hospital Initiative in Complementary Feeding.’


I conducted a mini-survey of Vitamin A status of pre-school age children in the Plateau State, Nigeria. The survey findings prompted the UNICEF Vitamin A intervention in Plateau State in 1992 – 1993. I also set up and coordinated the Herbal Medicine Research Group (HMRG) in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Jos, Nigeria. The main focus of the HMRG was to investigate biochemically the therapeutic efficacy of commonly used herbs in Plateau State, Nigeria. Our data provided clear scientific evidence to support the dose dependent effects of the aqueous extracts from the leaves of the African Mistletoe (Loranthus begwensis) in the control of hypertension and diabetes mellitus (both Type I and Type II). These results provide an insight into the host-dependent toxic effects of mistletoe leaf extracts. One of the major deductions made in this work, which has been supported by others in the field, is that the variation in the medicinal efficacy of the mistletoe aqueous extracts is predicated on the properties of the host plant (mistletoe is one of the few plants that are hemi-parasites). Our findings generated a lot of research interest in the area of drug discovery.


In 2003, I established the Micronutrient Research Group (MRG) in the Division of BMS, SMHS UPNG. The MRG developed many working contacts with international institutions, such as Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Atlanta Georgia, USA, and the Institute of Chemical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR), Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia.


The MRG set up the Micronutrient Laboratory (MNL) in the Division of BMS, SMHS UPNG, in 2003, with me as coordinator and principal researcher. The MNL is officially registered with the International Resource Laboratories for Iodine Network (IRLI), the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) and the International Vitamin A Consultative Group (IVACG).


I played a major role in obtaining the support and funding from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF and the National Department of Health (NDOH) for the First National Micronutrient Survey (NMS 2005) in Papua New Guinea.


The MNL was responsible for analysing the Urinary Iodine and salt iodine concentrations in samples collected during the NMS 2005 in PNG. I was the National Scientific coordinator, working in collaboration with external coordinators from the CDC Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Mahedol University, Bangkok, Thailand, and UNICEF.


I have done a lot of work in applied nutritional research aimed at improving maternal and child health. My research focus in the new decade is on food security, with particular emphasis on maternal and child nutrition. I am particularly interested in issues related to the accessibility, availability, affordability and stability of adequate supply of micronutrients and macronutrients to infants and mothers and also to People Living with HIV/AIDS in resource limited countries.