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PC3 Lab officially opened

Friday 7 June 2013 8:04am

PC3 lab opening image
Professors Kurt Krause (centre) and Greg Cook (right) show Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Blaikie and Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne through the University's new PC3 laboratory yesterday. Work will commence in the lab in July. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

Otago’s new state-of-the art containment laboratory was officially opened at a ceremony yesterday afternoon – and researchers will soon be using it for cutting edge research into tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.

The three-room, physical containment level three (PC3) laboratory was shipped to Otago from Europe in 2011 and craned onto the roof of the Microbiology Building.

Professor Gregory Cook of Microbiology, who will use the laboratory for his research into tuberculosis, used yesterday’s ceremony as an opportunity to thank several members of general staff who have ensured the lab ticked all the boxes.

They were Property Services’ Compliance and Maintenance Systems Administrator Robert McEntyre, Microbiology and Immunology’s ICT Manager Allan Clark, Human Resources Biological Compliance Officer Michelle McConnell and Microbiology and Immunology Compliance Manager Dr Megan Coleman.

“It is really exciting to have the lab ready to use,” Professor Cook says. “It is very positive for the University.”

Without a PC3 laboratory much of Otago’s infectious diseases research has had to be conducted in non pathogenic bacteria that serve as a model for the real disease-causing organisms. This work then had to be replicated by someone else in another laboratory away from Otago.

Now Otago scientists will be able to carry out this work here in the new laboratory.

Professor Cook says the lab will enhance the ability of Otago researchers in this field to attract funding, improve the retention of top scientists and attract those from around New Zealand and overseas who wish to do this type of work.

“It will also make us more competitive internationally in terms of bidding for grants.”