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Raymond Thomas


​Raymond Thomas, B.Sc. (Hons) (Lincoln University), M.Sc. (University of Minnesota), PhD (University of Western Ontario)

Associate Professor – Boreal Ecosystems and Agricultural Sciences​

Phone: (709) 637-7161, (780) 274-0368

Email: rthomas@grenfell.mun.carthoma5@alumni.uwo.ca

Office: AS 222




I have a PhD in Biology with a specialization in Environmental Stress Physiology and Biochemistry, MSc in Horticulture (Plant Physiology), BSc (Hons) in Agriculture, ASc in General Agriculture. Post-doctoral Fellowship was in Environmental Stress Lipidomics and Neurolipidomics. My research approach and programs are very multidisciplinary and involves collaborations with other scientists or end users in government (Regional, Provincial and Federal), industry, and academia in the areas of agriculture, food science, analytical chemistry, biostatistics, neuroscience and nutritional biochemistry; to assess the roles of lipids in agriculture production, food and human health outcomes. Analytical expertise: (pressurize solvent extraction, mass spectrometry, chromatography and vibrational spectroscopy)

Research Inte​​rests

  • Functional foods production, sensory perception, development, safety and preservation
  • Use of nanotechnology to enhance plant performance in Boreal Ecosystem
  • Spatial, functional and compositional lipid metabolism in response to environmental stressors
  • Influences of gut microbiome on brain lipid metabolism and brain health
  • Chemometrics and Lipid modeling
  • Increase yield, nutritional and value added production in control systems agriculture and alternative forage production systems
  • Hydroponics: (sprouted fodder, herbs and vegetable production)

Grants and Awards

  • $328,139 – Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Advance Skills & Labour- Workforce Innovation Centre: Role- Co-Investigator: Start Date: November 2017. Title: Bridging the divide- Connecting and preparing refugees for work in the Province’s Agriculture Industry. Collaborators: Mumtaz Cheema, Sarah Thompson (Principal Investigator). 
  • $10,000, Memorial University Seed, Bridge and Multidisciplinary Grant. Role- Principal Investigator: Lipid Imaging as a tool to understand microbial metabolites induced alterations of spatial brain lipid metabolism: Implications in neuropsychiatric disorders. Start date, June 1, 2017. Collaborators: Sukindher Cheema, Jacqueline Blundell
  • $152,000, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, Growing Forward2, Memorial University, Provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources: Role – Principal Investigator, Start date May 1, 2017. The Functional and quality indices of wild and hybrid Newfoundland berries. Collaborators: Samir Debnath, Karen Doody, Sukindher Cheema and Mumtaz Cheema.
     $15, 000, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT): Role- Principal Investigator, Start date Jan 2017: Use of nanoparticles to improve plant growth performance
  •  $334,000, RDC Leverage, Role: Principal Investigator, –Start Date March 1, 2017, Establishment of a Functional Foods Research Program at the New Boreal Ecosystem Research Facility- MUN  
  •  $5,000, Teaching grant, Memorial University: Role: Co-principal Investigator, Start date May 2017: Artist in residence at the Boreal Ecosystem Research Facility. Co- principal Investigator (Barb Hunt).
  •  $10,000- Agri-Foods Canada: Role Principal Investigator: Start Date: June1, 2016. Title: Improved  soil health, forage yield and forage quality via intercropping vine soybeans and forage corn. Collaborator: Vanessa Kavanagh
  •  $125,000: NSERC Discovery, (Start date April 1- 2016). Role: Principal Investigator. Title: Oxylipins as novel sources of soybean tolerance to Phytophthora sojae infection 
  •  $15,000, Research and Development Corporation, Start date: May 9, 2016. Role Principal Investigator. Title: Use of natural antioxidants to improve the shelf-life and sensory qualities of herbal soaps. Collaborator (co-principal applicant): Mikaela Wilson  
  •  $100,000: Research Development Corporation, Start Date: Jan 1/2015. Role: Collaborator. Title: Understanding soil fertility under land use change scenarios. Collaborators: Adrian Unc (Principal Investigator), Mumtaz Cheema, Vanessa Kavanagh.
  • $100,000: Research Development Corporation, Start Date: Jan 1, 2015. Role: Collaborator. Title: Biomass production and phosphorus availability from dairy manure in silage corn. Collaborators: Adrian Unc (Principal Investigator), Mumtaz Cheema, Vanessa Kavanagh
  • $5,000, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, Start Date Sep 1, 2015. Role: Principal Applicant, Title: Influences of soil acidity on soybean root membrane phospholipid metabolism, plant acclimation, forage quality and yield as a function of production in acid soils. Collaborator : Ashley Mullins
  • $50,000: National Research Council (IRAP), Start Date: March 1, 2014. Role: Collaborator. Collaborators (Ahamed Hussain (Principal Investigator), Sreeshailom Aare : Biosynthesis of Monoacetyldiacylglycerols
  • $2,500: Associate Vice President Research Grant, Memorial University (Start Date Sept 1/2014), Role: Principal Investigator. Title: The use of herbs and spices based marinates to reduce heterocyclic amines formation in grilled meats
  • $100,000: Research Development Corporation, Start Date: Nov 1/2014. Role: Principal Investigator. Collaborators: Adrian Unc, Mumtaz Cheema, Jose Lam, Vanessa Kavanagh. Title: Potential of sprouted fodder as an alternative animal feed source for Newfoundland and Labrador agricultural Industry 
  • $20,000 start –up grant, Memorial University, Star Date: Aug 1,2013.


  1. Vidal, N., Pham, H., Thomas, Manful, C., Pumphrey, R., Nadeem, M., Galagedera, L., Cheema, Leke-Aladekoba, A., Natesh, N., Abbey, L., and Thomas, R. (2017). The use of natural media amendments to produce kale enhanced with functional lipids in control environment production system. Journal of Functional Foods (submitted)
  2. H., Pham, Nadeem, M., Vidal, N., Fillier, T., Cheema, M., Cheema, S., Thomas, R., (2017). Hydrophilic Interaction and C30 Reverse Phase Ultra-high Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled to Acccurate Mass Spectrometry as a Comprehensive Lipidomics Platform. Analytical Chemistry (submitted)
  3. Nadeem, M., Pham, H., Thomas, R., Galagedera, L., Kavanagh, V., Zhu, X., and Cheema, M. (2017). Phosphatidic acid: A potential indicator of superior agronomic performance in cool climate cropping systems. Plant Physiology (submitted)
  4. Abbey, L., Anan, N., Aladekoba, A., Pham, T. and Thomas, R., (2018). Chemical composition of Kale as influenced by vermicasts, humate, and volcanic minerals. Food Research International 107:726-737
  5.  Anderson, M., Zanette, L., Lester, L., Thomas, R., Klassen, M., Clinchy, M., (2017), Compensatory growth has long-lasting effects on physiology and morphology but not flight performance: Evidence from a brood parasitic species.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Submitted)
  6. Marshall, K., Thomas, R., Roxin, A., Chen, E., Brown, J., Giles, E., and Sinclair, B. (2014), Acetylated lipids for cryoprotection and energy storage in an insect that survives intracellular freezing. Journal of Experimental Biology, 217: 1580-1587
  7. Dindia, L., Faught, L., Leonenko, Z., Thomas, R., Vijayan, M., (2013), Nongenomic cortisol signaling in response to acute stress involves changes in plasma membrane order in rainbow trout. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism 304: E1157-E1166
  8. Thomas, R., Meeking, M., Mepham, J., Tichenoff, L., Possmayer, F., Liu, S., and MacFabe, D., (2012), The enteric bacterial metabolite propionic acid alters brain and plasma phospholipid molecular species: Further development of a rodent model of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 9:153-170
  9. Williams, C., Thomas, R., MacMillian, H., Marshall, K., and Sinclair, B. (2011), Triacylglyceride measurement in small quantities of homogenised insect tissue: comparisons and caveats. Journal of Insect Physiology, 57:1602-1613
  10. Armstrong, C., Thomas R., Price, E., Guglielmo, C., and Staples, J., (2011), Remodeling mitochondrial membranes during arousal from hibernation. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 84:438-449.
  11. Chung, D., Lloyd, G., Thomas, R., Guglielmo, C., and Staples, J., (2011), Mitochondrial respiration and succinate dehydrogenase are suppressed early during entrance into a hibernation bout, but membrane remodeling is only transient. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 181: 699-711.
  12. Springer, J., Price, R., E., Thomas, R., and Guglielmo, C., (2011), Muscle membrane phospholipid class composition in White-Throated Sparrows in relation to migration. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 123:116-120.
  13. Thomas, R., Foley, K., Mepham, J., Tichenoff, L., Possmayer, F., and MacFabe, D., (2010), Altered brain phospholipid and acylcarnitine profiles in propionic acid infused rodents: Further development of a potential model of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Neurochemistry, 113:515-529.
  14. Thomas, R., Guglielmo, C., and Bernards, M.A., (2010), Changes in lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant activities in seven herbs and spices based marinating sauces after cooking. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 23:244-252.
  15. Thomas, R. H., Price, E. Seewagen, C., Bernards, M., and Guglielmo, C., (2010), The use of TLC-FID and GC-MS/FID to examine seasonal variation and the effects of captivity and diet on the intact preen wax composition of White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis). Ibis, 152: 782-792.
  16. Gerson, A.L., Brown, J.C., Thomas, R., Bernards, M.A., and Staples, J.M., (2008), Effects of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids on mitochondrial metabolism in mammalian hibernation. Journal of Experimental Biology, 211: 2689-2699.
  17. Ranathunge, K., Thomas, R., Fang, X., Peterson, C., Gijzen, M., and Bernards, M., (2008), Soybean root suberin and partial resistance to root rot caused by Phytophthora sojae. Phytopathology, 98: 1179-1189.
  18. Thomas, R., Fang, A., Ranathunge, K., Peterson, C., and Bernards, M., (2007), Soybean (Glycine max L.) root suberin: anatomical distribution, chemical composition and relationship to Phytophthora sojae tolerance. Plant Physiology, 144: 299-311.
  19. Woods, F.M., Dozier, W.A., Ebel, R.C., Thomas, R.H., Nesbitt, M., Wilkins, B.S., and Himelrick, D.G. (2006), Fruit quality and antioxidant properties in Alabama-grown blackberries during fruit maturation.  International Journal of Fruit Science, 6(3):67-85.
  20. Thomas, R., Woods, F.M., Dozier, W.A., Ebel, R.C., Nesbitt, M., Wilkins, B.S., and Himelrick, D.G. (2005), Cultivar variation in physicochemical and antioxidant activity of Alabama-grown blackberries. Small Fruits Review, 4(1):57-71.
  21. Woods, F.M., Dozier, W.A., Ebel, R.C., Himelrick, D.G., Mosjidis, C., Thomas, R.H., Wilkins, B.S., and Pitts, J.A., (2005), Effect of maturity at harvest in relation to changes in antioxidant properties and ethylene in 'Chandler' strawberry fruit.  Small Fruits Review, 4:87-1074.Ebel, RC, Dozier, W.A., Hockema, B., Woods, F.M., Thomas, R., Wilkins, B.S., Nesbitt, M., and McDaniel, R., (2004), Fruit quality of Satsuma mandarin grown on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. HortScience, 39:979-982.
  22. Thomas, R. and Markhart, A., (2002a), Brassica rapa as a model to select for low root-shoot ratio plants grown in hydroponics. JAGRIST, 24(2):26-39.
  23. Thomas, R. and Markhart, A., (2002b), The effects of ethylene biosynthesis inhibitors on the root-shoot ratio of Brassica rapa Rbr. grown in hydroponics. JAGRIST, 24(2): 40-44.


  1. Zaeem, M., Nadeem, M., Ashiq, W., Ali, W., Gillani, S.M., Pham, H., Kavanagh, V., Elavarthi, S., Cheema, M., Galagedara, L., Thomas, R. (2017). Relationship between rhizosphere soil acid phosphatase activities and forage production in silage corn and soybean intercropping in cool climate. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology. 39(4), 540-586. doi: 10.1080/07060661.2017.1386378 (Abstract).
  2. Ali, W., Ashiq, W., Nadeem, M., Zaeem, M., Gillani, S.M., Kavanagh, V., Unc, A., Thomas, R., Cheema, M. (2017). Effects of phosphorus sources on soil phosphatase activity, phosphorus availability and dry matter production of corn silage. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology 39(4), 540-586. doi: 10.1080/07060661.2017.1386378 (Abstract).
  3. Ashiq, W., Ali, W., Nadeem, M., Zaeem, M., Gillani, S.M., Wu, J., Galagedara, L., Kavanagh, V., Cheema, M. (2017). Effects of phosphorus sources on soil phosphatase activity, phosphorus availability and dry matter production of corn silage[NM1] . Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology 39(4), 540-586. doi: 10.1080/07060661.2017.1386378 (Abstract).
  4. Cheema, M., Nadeem, M., Pham, M., Thomas, R., Galagedara, L., Kavanagh, V. (2017). Genotypic variations in root plasma membrane lipidome of silage corn grown under cool climatic production systems. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology (Abstract) 39(4), 540-586. doi: 10.1080/07060661.2017.1386378
  5.  Unc, A., Cheema, M., Thomas, R., Kavanagh, V., (2014), Soil based ecosystem services following land-use changes from forestry to agriculture; Future research opportunities in Newfoundland and Labrador. Soil Science Society of America Ecosystems Conference, Soils Roled in Restoring Ecosystem Services, March 6-9 Sacramento, CA.
  6. Thomas, R., Bernards, M., Drake, E., and Guglielmo, C. (2014), The potential health benefits of jerk spice: An indigenous Jamaican food ingredient. The sixth Annual Charles Town International Maroon Conference, Charles Town, Jamaica (Portland), Jamaica – June 19-23.
  7. Thomas, R., Meeking, M., Mepham, J., Tichenoff, L., Possmayer, F., and MacFabe, D. (2012), The enteric bacterial metabolite propionic acid alters brain and plasma intact phospholipid molecular species: implications in autism spectrum disorders. International Society for Autism Research
  8. Holbrook, S., Boon, F., Taylor, R., Thomas, R., Tichenoff, L., Ossenkopp, K., and MacFabe, D. (2012), The temporal relationship of behavioural, neuropathological and lipid fluctuations following a single intraventricular infusion of propionic acids in rats. International Society for Autism Research
  9. Mepham, J., Boon, F., Taylor, R., Thomas, R., Cain, P., Ossenkopp, K., and MacFabe, D.,  (2012), Timecourse of propionic acid induce lipid, neuroinflammatory and cognitive deficits in the Morris water maze-further development of a novel rodent model of autism. International Society for Autism Research
  10. MacFabe, D., Thomas, R., and Frye, R., (2012), Acyl-Carnitine abnormalities in autism children parallel abnormalities in a rodent model of autism. International Society for Autism Research
  11. Thomas, R., Mepham, J., Tichenoff, L., Boon, F., Possmayer, F., and MacFabe, D. (2011), Intracerebral and oral administration of propionic acid an enteric bacterial metabolite, alters brain carnitine and acylcarnitines in rodents consistent with autism spectrum disorders. Society for Neuroscience.
  12. Holbrook, S., Boon, F., Taylor, R., Thomas, R., Tichenoff, L., Ossenkopp, K., and MacFabe, D. (2011), Temporal effects of single intracerebroventricular infusions of propionic acid on behavioral, neuropathological and lipid changes in rats. Further development of a rodent model of austism. Society for Neuroscience
  13. MacFabe, D., Mepham, J., Boon, F., Taylor, R., Thomas, R., Cain, P., and Ossenkopp, K., (2011), Timecourse of propionic acid induce lipid, neuroinflammatory and cognitive deficits in the Morris water maze-further development of a novel rodent model of autism. Society for Neuroscience
  14. Thomas, R., Meeking, M., Mepham, J., Possmayer, F., and MacFabe, D. (2010)
  15. Alterations in plasma and brain lipid profiles: Further development of the propionic acid model of autism. Society for Neuroscience.
  16. Thomas, R., Foley, K., Mepham, J., Tichenoff, L., and MacFabe, D. (2010), Altered brain phospholipids and acylcarnitines in a propionic acid induced rodent model for autism spectrum disorder. International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  17. Thomas, R., Ranathunge, K., Gizjen, M., Peterson, C., and Bernards, M. (2010), Root suberin strengthens the partial resistance of soybean to root and stem rot caused by Phytopthora sojae. American Society of Plant Biology.
  18.  Thomas, R. Possmayer, F., Nie, H-Y., Foley, K.,Tichenoff, L., and  MacFabe,D.  (2009), The effects of short chain fatty acids on the brain fatty acid composition in the propionic acid rodent model of autism. Society for Neuroscience
  19. Thomas, R., Fang, A., Peterson, C., Anderson, T., and Bernards, M. (2006), Suberin as a determinate of Phytophthora sojae resistance in soybean. Phytochemical Society of America.
  20. Woods, F.M., W.A. Dozier, RC Ebel, D.G. Himelrick, C. Mosjidis, R.H. Thomas, B.S. Wilkins, and J.A. Pitts. (2004), Antioxidant and ethylene related changes in 'Chandler' strawberry fruit as influenced by maturity. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. annual conference, Austin Texas, July 17th - 20th.  HortScience, 39(4):807. 
  21. Thomas, R.H., F.M. Woods, W.A. Dozier, Jr., R.C. Ebel, M.L. Nesbitt, B.S. Wilkins, and D.G. Himelrick. (2004), Phsyiochemical and antioxidant changes in six Alabama-grown blackberry cultivars. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. annual conference, Austin Texas, July 17th - 20th.  HortScience, 39(4):807.


Published work got worldwide media attention

Links to newspaper articles on antioxidant paper 

The Times of India – Another reason to have a barbeque party!
 The Telegraph (UK) – Barbeque sauces 'are good for your health'
Metro (UK) – BBQ sauce can fight cancer 
Washington Times – Marinades help prevent cancer
Science Daily – Spice up your health this barbeque season
Medical News Today – This barbeque season spice up your health 
WN.com – Barbeque sauces good for health 
LF Press – Slather on those spicy BBQ sauces
Top News – Barbeque sauces are good for health
UPI News – Barbeque sauce rich source of antioxidants
World Health – A simple antioxidant boost for foods 

Grenfell related research Links

MUN Gazette – Food security

MUN Gazette – Bridging disciples

Grenfell News - New artist residence program fosters relationship between art and science

The Western Star – Researchers working to increase the forage quality of corn

Grenfell News – Soapmaking with natural, local ingredients

Highly Qualified Personnel


1.     Post-Doctoral Fellow:

a.     Thu Huong Pham 2016-2018 (Started Feb 2016)

b.     Natalia Prieto Vidal 2017-2019 (Started May 2017)

2.     PhD Students:

a.     Doyin Adigun, 2017-2021 (Start Jan 2017)

b.     Charles Mansful, 2017-2021  (Start May 2017)

c.     Ahamed Harasheh- 2018-2022 (Start Jan 2018)

3.     Masters Students:

a.     Mohamed Zaeem, 2016-2018 (Start May 2016)

b.     Tiffany Fillier, 2016-2018 (Start June 2016)

c.     Imani Maxwell 2017 -2019, (Start Nov 2017)

4.     Undergraduates:

a.     Evan Wheeler, Summer 2016, NSERC- USRA fellow

b.     Ryley Pumphrey,  Research Assistant, Summer 2015, Summer 2016, Summer 2016

c.     Mellisa O'Brien,  Research Assistant, Summer 2014

i.    Accepted to Medical School at Memorial University

d.     Natasha Lee, SWASP , Research assistant, (Fall and Winter 2016)

e.     Janieki Young (MUCEP), Research assistant, 2016-2017

f.      Zachary Porter, MUCEP , Research assistant, Summer 2017

g.     Ashley Hemmings, BERI Artist in Residence, Summer 2017

h.     Abira Mumtaz, Summer research assistant 2017

i.      Roxanne Kleinveldt, (MUCEP)  Research assistant- Fall 2017

Advisory committee:

1.     Waqar Ashiq (MSc - BEAS ), 2016-2018

2.     Shrusti Shah  (MSc- Biochemistry), 2016-2018

3.     Kamaleswaran Sadatcharam (MSc – BEAS), 2016-2018

4.     Waqas Ali (MSc- BEAS), 2016-2018)


Chemistry 1200 (Introductory Chemistry: Winter and Fall Semesters 2014-present

BEAS 600, (Graduate Research Seminar) Fall semesters (2016-present)

BEAS 600A, Issues in Boreal Ecosystem and Agriculture Sciences, Fall semesters (2016- present)

BEAS 6022, Plant Biochemistry (Fall 2017-onwards)

Graduate Studies

Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL
A2H 5G4, Canada

Office: FC4021
Phone: (709)639-6585
Email: nsimmons@grenfell.mun.ca

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