The University of Liberia on Friday, January 25, 2019, inaugurated a rapidly deployable diagnostic center on its Fendall Campus.
The Scientific research structure comprises three mobile units, including a Pharmacy, Laboratory and a Glove Box. The materials were donated by the Paul Allen Family Foundation through the Baylor College of Medicine, based in the United States.
Elena Petrova, Assistant Director on Technology Development, Baylor Global Health at the Baylor College of Medicine said the mobile lab was designed and assembled by the College to quickly respond to outbreaks such as Ebola. “We are so happy to provide you this tool and you will see all the equipment and imagine all the capabilities which this laboratory will give you,” Dr. Elena Petrova declared.
Dr. Petrova pointed out that the facility will need the expertise of trained faculty to work with students to get it functional. “We understand that facility is not everything, people should work here and they should be highly qualified skilled people.” She promised continued collaboration aimed at giving faculty and students hands-on skills so as to master what is needed to use the facility and to respond to any kind of crisis.
Dr. Petrova expressed hope that the deployable diagnostic center will be used for scientific research purposes. “We do not wish to have a crisis, although this was built to rapidly respond to crises such as virus outbreak. We truly believe that no crisis will happen anymore, so this center will be used to conduct scientific research that will solve problems”, Petrova noted.
In remarks, University of Liberia President Dr. Ophelia Weeks expressed delight over the opening of the center on the campus, adding that it has ‘anything you need’ to do molecular biology research. Dr. Weeks expressed optimism that the center will go a long way in achieving the University’s vision to be among the top twenty Universities in West Africa. She encouraged faculty and students to start to think about making ‘Maximum’ use of the mobile Laboratory.
Dr. Weeks, who is a Neuroscientist and former dean of the T.J.R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology of the University of Liberia, outlined the importance of having the Lab with the state-of-the-art mobile equipment installed on the campus of the University of Liberia. “I can’t appreciate this to say to the least,, I am sure many of you can, some more than others. As a researcher for more than thirty years, to have such facility with the magnitude of these equipment is a huge development.”
Dr. Weeks maintained that the self-contained mobile Lab will afford students at the University the opportunity to meet up with 21st century learning. She said the center will be recognized as a Centennial project, as it arrived at the beginning of the University’s Centennial l convocation year.
Dr. Weeks hopes that the opening of the lab will put the University on a trajectory that will take it further in the field of science. “We hope we will have people who will see the value of this center, and will be able to better write proposals, and grants that will bring funds to the University so that we can continue to do what these labs will allow us to do.” Dr. Weeks concluded.