Seeding Labs award brings boost to scientific research and learning at Ashesi

June 22, 2020

Ashesi University has been selected as a 2020 recipient of a Seeding Lab’s Instrument Access award. Through the award, the University’s Engineering Department will receive scientific equipment from the Boston based NGO to support the University’s work in scientific exploration and research.

Seeding Labs makes high-quality laboratory equipment and supplies available to outstanding university departments and research institutes in emerging economies through the flagship Instrumental Access program. As one of the 18 awardees from 10 countries this year, Ashesi will leverage the tools for increasing science research – especially in bioengineering – and strengthen labs for teaching and learning.

“Our 2020 Instrumental Access awardees were selected for their potential to solve problems and change lives through science,” says Christina Viola Srivastava, Director of Programs at Seeding Labs. “We welcome them to our Instrumental Access network and look forward to working with each awardee to strengthen their infrastructure.”

Dr. Elena Rosca, who drove the Seeding Labs application at Ashesi, has been helping build new Bioengineering courses into the University’s Engineering program since 2017. After working with a team of students who won two medals at the 2017 International Genetically Engineering Machine competition in Boston, Dr. Rosca saw real potential in broadening access to bioengineering classes on campus.

“I was so impressed by how quickly our students, who had no background in molecular biology, were able to learn and apply the new knowledge,” shared Dr. Rosca. “It was a strong example of effective learning, and seeing the student team’s success made me wonder how much more we could do in our labs and classrooms.”

The Engineering department has since taken steps to strengthen bioengineering research and learning, as part of a broader research push on campus. In 2019, the University completed construction for a Research and Learning Lab to support this push, and in 2020 a synthetic biology course was added to the Engineering program.

“The Instrument Access award will support the continued development of science research labs at Ashesi,” shared Dr. Rosca. “This will help us develop and introduce new science courses to our students, and also support the development of additional bioengineering research. Most importantly, we are hoping this support will help us broaden our research impact in Ghana and beyond.”

With a call for more robust science research in Africa, and as the fight against COVID-19 highlights the critical role of higher education, the award also deepens Ashesi’s ability to contribute more effectively to this continental shift.

“In the face of COVID-19 and the need for more research into infectious diseases, Seeding Labs’ award will help us work more closely with some of the nation’s leading institutions both as a research and testing center,” shared Dr. Rosca. “We are also exploring possibilities for the study of infectious diseases while using synthetic biology to delve deeper into drug and health technology.”


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