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Wednesday, Apr 24, 2019

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Members of the Ohio University community will participate in the June 14 grand opening of the Center for Research on Health in Latin America.

Members of the Ohio University community will participate in the June 14 grand opening of the Center for Research on Health in Latin America.

Photo courtesy of: Mario Grijalva

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OHIO delegation to participate in grand opening of new research facility in Ecuador


A delegation of Ohio University students, faculty and staff will travel to Ecuador in June to take part in the grand opening of a new research facility and visit OHIO-related programs in the country.

The OHIO delegation will be visiting Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE), a well-respected university that OHIO has been partnering with since 2000. On June 14, PUCE will officially open its new Center for Research on Health in Latin America. 

One of the most advanced and prestigious research facilities in Latin America, the new facility will provide opportunities for OHIO and PUCE faculty and students to conduct research aimed to improve the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of major infectious and chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, cancer, Chagas disease, dengue fever and malaria. Researchers are currently working on the state-of-the-art equipment in this new facility studying the Zika virus and other health issues.

OHIO’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine has served as driving force in the PUCE partnership, which originated through a joint research project investigating Chagas disease. In 2001, OHIO and PUCE established an Infectious Disease Research Laboratory in Quito, and that facility has provided educational and research opportunities for OHIO faculty and students.

OHIO faculty member Mario Grijalva, who is also the director of the Infectious and Tropical Disease Institute, has served as the lead for the partnership with PUCE and played a key role in the planning and development of the new facility.

“The new facility of the Center for Research on Health in Latin America will promote the creativity of researchers and the capacity of institutions to generate knowledge and provide training greatly needed to combat infectious and chronic diseases,” Grijalva said.

The 100,000-square-foot research facility will be able to accommodate 22 permanent research groups and 15 support personnel, as well as visiting researchers and students. Several other OHIO faculty members have also traveled to Ecuador in recent years to work on research projects with PUCE. In addition, several staff members and researchers at the new facility have either earned their degrees or received postdoctoral training at OHIO.

“Our new research facility rests on a foundation made solid by 16 years of collaborative activities between the School of Biological Sciences at PUCE and the Infectious and Tropical Disease Institute at OHIO,” Grijalva said. “Together, we are creating an international platform in Ecuador that expands opportunities for interdisciplinary and intercultural scientific research and education.”

In addition to taking part in the opening ceremonies in Quito, OHIO faculty and staff will be meeting with PUCE leaders to discuss new areas of potential collaboration. 

Several members of the OHIO delegation will also travel to the Loja Province in Ecuador to visit several communities where OHIO’s Healthy Living Initiative is making a difference. The Healthy Living Initiative, which involves OHIO faculty, staff and students, has been assisting with new drinking water systems and new programs to fight Chagas and other tropical diseases in the communities.

This article was provided by Ohio University’s Office of Global Affairs and International Studies.