Inauguration of the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory in Cambodia: new capacities for this major training and scientific research platform

On April 27, was inaugurated the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) in Cambodia.

Inauguration of the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory in Cambodia: new capacities for this major training and scientific research platform

This inauguration follows renovation work and the strengthening of the technical capacity of the laboratory. This renovation project was coordinated by the Mérieux Foundation. It has received 300,000 euros of financing from Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux, an independent organization operating under the aegis of the Institut de France.

The inauguration ceremony of this laboratory was presided by the Cambodian Minister of Health, Mam Bunheng, in the presence of: the French Ambassador to Cambodia, Jean-Claude Poimboeuf; the Rector of the University of Health Sciences, Saphonn Vonthanak; the President of the Mérieux Foundation, Alain Mérieux and the Director General of the Mérieux Foundation, Benoît Miribel.

Other participants in the ceremony included the secretaries of state, advisers and director generals of the Health Ministry; members of the management, staff and students of the UHS and the scientific partners of the laboratory, including the different departments of the Health Ministry, national institutes and hospitals as well as the international partners of the UHS.

Mission: to contribute to the research priorities of the university

The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory in Cambodia plays a major role in the scientific training of the country’s health professionals. The new facilities will allow this 120m2, BSL-2 biosecurity laboratory to contribute to the research priorities of the UHS, notably: clinical research, infectious diseases and training for students in medical biology.

The laboratory’s new units include:

  • the first bio-bank for storing biological material for UHS research projects;
  • and three units dedicated to molecular biology, a cutting edge analysis technique which will broaden the scope of research and services carried out by the laboratory.

Within the framework of this renovation project, an extremely modern maintenance system has been installed providing remote monitoring and 40% energy savings compared with the former system.

A laboratory open to Cambodian researchers in order to conduct their external projects

The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory is open to Cambodian researchers who are able to conduct their external projects there. The Mérieux Foundation is supporting the university in seeking research projects involving the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory, notably for an epidemiological project on hepatitis B and C in Cambodia, but also for other public health challenges in Cambodia such as projects covering resistance to anti-tuberculosis and anti-malarial drugs.

The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory was opened in 2005 within the Faculty of Pharmacy in Phnom Penh and operates under the supervision of the UHS to which it belongs. As an annex to the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory, there is also a room dedicated to virology and a 256m2 practical work room for training courses, notably in microbiology. These two annex rooms were equipped in 2008, thanks to the support of the Mérieux Foundation in collaboration with the “Defense Science Organisation” of Singapore.