Prof. David M. Picou

Paediatrician, scientist, and leader

For a paediatrician there are few greater privileges or honours than to make a major contribution in saving the lives and enabling the development of millions of children throughout the world who would have otherwise died of starvation. Through his basic research in developing methods to measure body composition, to understand the dynamics of protein and carbohydrate metabolism in the human body, and, well before the current interest in the microbiome, to elucidate the critical functional role played by the colonic microbiome in maintaining nitrogen balance, David Picou helped create the understanding necessary for life-saving approaches to the care of severely malnourished children

Professor Picou was chair of the expert committee of the World Health Organization that formalized the guidelines for the treatment and care of children with severe malnutrition thereby laying the foundation for the improved care of malnourished children throughout the world. As the first Caribbean Director of the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit and first Professor of Experimental Medicine in the University of the West Indies he enabled translational clinical research to become institutionalized in the Caribbean Region and led the TMRU during its transition from an UK Medical Research Council funded unit to a unit fully part of the University of the West Indies.

Later as the first Director of the Commonwealth Caribbean Medical Research Council, subsequently the Caribbean Health Research Council or CHRC, he established and ensured processes for the ethical conduct of human research, the organization, translation, scalability and delivery of Essential National Health Research and effective treatment and care as exemplified by his contributions to chronic diseases, and infections such as HIV/AIDS. For these contributions as a doctor, educator and mentor in addressing major problems that afflict humankind, and as a leader through personal example and professionalism of the highest standard we recognize and honour David I M Picou.