A fruit of Collaborative Effort between Jimma University and Consortium of Flemish Universities from Belgium (JU-IUC-VLIR)
Materialization of the visions and missions of Jimma University is impossible without the availability of core research laboratories. Through the initiatives taken by voluntary experts of JU academia and VLIR-IUC (collaborative research project between Jimma University and consortium of Flemish Universities from Belgium), three advanced research and training laboratories were established namely; Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Laboratory of Mycobacteriology and Laboratory of Drug Quality Control .
Currently, the three laboratories have already gone functional and a number of multidisciplinary research projects are being undertaken. The university is undergoing huge expansion in graduate programs and investing substantial amount of budget to improve quality of training as well as the services to the community. The availability of these core labs is very much essential as they save time and the hard currency that could be paid to transport samples elsewhere and test them overseas. In the long run, the labs will be centers to attract external funds and collaborations. In the past, due to lack of advanced research laboratories, research endeavors of the university have been limited to operational researches. The establishment of these laboratories allows undertaking laboratory based basic and molecular level researches which were otherwise unthinkable. The purpose of these laboratories is to undertake multidisciplinary researches ranging from cell to organ and from atom to molecule levels.
Presently, available technologies in those core labs include: Fluerecent Microscopy, Culture to detect M .tuberculosis, BACTEC MGIT 960 TB detection system (using both solid and liquid media), high standard HPLC grade laboratory water purification system, high-tech chromatographic instruments (HPLC and GC, spectrophotometers like UV, etc), and molecular biology equipments like, PCR machines, genoplex, electropretic materials, blotting materials, etc. Moreover, a number of projects are going on using the facility of those core labs. Some of these ongoing projects include: Predictors of TB related IRIS, Drug resistance of TB, Added value of BACTEC MGIT liquid culture in diagnosis of TB Lyphadenitis, Evaluation of Fluorescent Microscopy, Evaluation of pharmaceutical regulatory approval process in Ethiopia, Development and validation of QC methods for pre-formulation and formulated drug products, anthelmintic drug efficacy and quality analysis, etc.
Creating these core laboratories (which we are almost through) at university level , has virtually enabled us to fulfill core facilities which provide internal users, collaborators and visitors with access to excellent facilities for high-throughput analyses including microarrays, protein production, mass spectrometry, drug quality analysis and production, certification through high quality system (GLP/GMP and using high tech instruments like HPLC), DNA sequencing, Recombinant Vaccines development, Biosensors, Monoclonal antibodies productions, Cell/tissue culture, gene-therapy, Xenotransplantation, Bioremediation, Production of next generation antibiotics, Forensics, Bioterrorism detection , advanced light and electron microscopes and chemical genomics, Line Probe Assay (LiPA), Spoligotyping facilities, and GeneXpert MTB/RIF, etc . Such an array of analytic facilities will undoubtedly serve a wide range of disciplines across the different Departments of the university as well as others outside. Thus, those core laboratories have the capacity to serve not only as core research laboratories at Jimma University but to be one of national centers. For example, LDQC is supposed to serve as a national center for pharmaceutical quality assurance and therapeutic drug monitoring. Laboratory of Mycobateriology is functioning as a first stage reference laboratory for mycobacteriology activities at both regional and national levels.
To this end, it is believed that these laboratories will create conducive atmosphere to attract different researchers, stakeholders and funding agents, to come together and work towards full realization of their potentials by way of producing high quality research, all this geared to improving quality of life.
Finally, as has been indicated above, the aforementioned core laboratories have been established with the research fund under the framework of VLIR-IUC-Jimma University collaborative programme during Phase-I. Jimma University on its part has provided space and infrastructure and purchased many high tech equipments. As we anticipate the inauguration of Phase II along with those core laboratories , we would like to take this opportunity to thank VLIR-IUC-JU programme for the successful completion of Phase-I .