NORTH HAVEN — Medical students and staff at Quinnipiac University began this semester in a new $2 million state-of-the-art research facility.
The 6,000-square-foot laboratory opened in August as part of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine on the North Haven campus, which houses the university’s graduate programs.
Dr. Richard Zeff, chair of medical sciences, said the lab supports faculty research and student education.
The department of medical sciences includes 30 faculty members who teach the medical school curriculum, Zeff said. Faculty will be able to conduct research in areas of interest, including cell and molecular biology, physiology, immunology, and neuroscience.
Faculty also will be able to develop lab experiences for medical students.
“Over time, as faculty develop their teaching relative to their scholarship interest, they begin to get their research underway,” Zeff said.
It’s also a chance for students to extend their education.
Students “really enjoy the opportunity to get out of the classroom and think about science and medicine, doing actual application exercises,” he said.
The open-space lab is equipped for a variety of work, including the study of protein, DNA, and RNA analysis, and microbial cell growth. There also will be labs for animal care, specifically mice.
“These small animals have been extremely important for us to understand certain types of human disease,” Zeff said.
Dr. Shari Meyers, director of laboratory sciences, oversaw the state inspection process. Meyers came on board in June.
“When I came, some of the equipment was out, some of it was still in boxes, and nothing else existed,” she said. Her job included organizing and evaluating equipment and materials to make sure everything was working properly.
The lab passed a two-hour inspection by the Department of Public Health on Aug. 16 and opened the next day, Meyers said. The first class in the lab was held on Aug. 30.
Faculty must provide Meyers with all aspects of proposed experiments to make sure they pass safety requirements. She also utilizes a 500-page manual of guidelines and best practices that all labs are expected to follow, including state regulations from DPH, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Zeff said he anticipates summer will be a busy time in the lab.
“The med students in particular will have this as an opportunity to pursue their research interests,” he said.
Meyers said she will be applying for grants to help fund the lab, including from the National Science Foundation to fund teaching and outreach.
Outreach programs could include bringing in students from underserved communities, as well as teachers from local schools.