MRC Unit the Gambia at LSHTM inaugurated a new Data Center and Entomology Laboratory on Monday 16th July 2018.
The MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM’s IT infrastructure provides the backbone for critical information processing and analyses needed for the sustenance and expansion of medical research. The purpose of the Data Centre is to accommodate the growth in computing data and application. The Data Centre is equipped with network and storage upgrades that will address the information needs of our science and all new activities in alignment with our quinquennial plan as well as adequately meet the needs of the unit for the next 10-15 years.
To support research in malaria control and other vector-borne diseases, the Entomology Laboratory has been built at our main site in Fajara. This puts MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM in a strategic position to attract research funding and collaborations to conduct more clinical trials. The new laboratory is a secure facility divided into three sections, a room for conducting the direct membrane feed assays (DFMA), another for holding uninfected adult mosquitoes and a third for rearing mosquitoes.
In recognition of their valuable service to MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM, the new Data Centre was named after Dr. Maimuna Mendy and the Entomology Laboratory after Ida Secka.
Ida Secka started working for MRC Unit The Gambia in 1974 as a field worker in Keneba within the Nutrition Theme. In 1975, she moved to Fajara to start the first insectary breeding of mosquitoes. Ida managed the insectary from 1975 to 1982 before joining the Rotavirus project team. Ida joined the malaria programme from 1986 to 2009 managing the insectaries in Farafenni, Pakaliba and Wullikunda before her retirement in 2013.
Dr Maimuna Mendy completed higher degree studies in Virology (PhD) at the University of London in 1994. In addition to her background in molecular virology, infectious disease and cancer, she has over 25 years’ of experience in assembling and managing longitudinal cohort studies in Africa, managing biological resources and coordinating the biobank activities for several scientific projects. Dr Mendy has a broad background of capacity building in Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) settings in the area of biobanking, laboratory and field research for epidemiological based studies and since 2010 she has expanded her interest in biobanking and now has a role in coordinating the Biobank and Cohort Building Network for LMIC (BCNet).