Elisha Tikasingh (Date of Birth: 1st Dec 1927)
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Born on 1st December, 1927, Dr. Tikasingh is a former student of Naparima College, San Fernando. From an early age he had a passion for biology. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Eastern Nazarene College, Massachusetts (1953). Later, he pursued his M.A. in Biology at Boston University (1955) and his doctorate in zoology and parasitology at Oregon State University (1960).
Dr. Tikasingh worked at both the Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory (TRVL) and the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC). He served as a Senior Lecturer at TRVL when it came under the management of the University of the West Indies.
When CAREC was founded in 1975, he became a PAHO scientist. He established the Centre’s Parasitology / Entomology Unit and served as its head. His research included the investigations of outbreaks of malaria and eastern equine encephalitis in the Caribbean and of yellow fever in Trinidad. During his career, he wrote numerous articles and published the book “The Hunt for Caribbean Viruses: A History of the Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory”. He also edited a book on “The Natural History of Yellow Fever in Trinidad.”
Dr. Tikasingh received many awards for his work including the Distinguished Service Award in Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to Public Health from the Caribbean Public Health Association (1994), the Award for Outstanding Service to Medical Technology from the Caribbean Association of Medical Technologists (1995) and the Award for Excellence for Outstanding Scientific Achievements in Entomology, Parasitology and Virology from the Caribbean Health Research Council (2001). The main lecture theatre at CAREC is designated the “Dr. Elisha Tikasingh Lecture Theatre” in his honour.
Dr. Tikasingh enjoyed photography and was an ardent bird watcher. He is a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Naturalists’ Club and currently functions as the editor of the Club’s ‘Living World’ Journal. He never allowed his humble beginnings to hinder him but worked hard to achieve his goals. However, he admits that he could not have done it alone.