ZED study site in Western Kenya
We operate a field laboratory based in Busia County in western Kenya, on the border with Uganda. The region supports a high human population density, and a mixed crop-livestock farming system. The human and animal populations of the region carry a heavy burden of endemic and epidemic diseases, including zoonoses. The study site encompasses a range of ecological settings, moving from the Lake Victoria system in the south to a semi-montane system on the lower slopes of Mt Elgon in the north.
Our high quality field laboratory was initially established with project funding from the Wellcome Trust, and served several projects funded by Wellcome Trust, AUSAID-CSIRO, the CGIAR and the Medical Research Council (UK). At present, it is the principal field location for the ZELS ZooLinK project, funded by the BBSRC, MRC, ESRC, NERC, DSTL and DFID (all UK funders). The facility is managed through a collaborative agreement with the Kenyan Department of Veterinary Services, the Busia County Veterinary Services, the International Livestock Research Institute and the University of Liverpool. The laboratory is equipped to BSL-2 standard and handles both human and animal samples, and thus serves as a ‘One Health’ laboratory facility that jointly serves several research projects. From the lab, field activities are implemented and managed, and diagnostic work and sample processing is undertaken. We are always open to new collaborative requests from external researchers who wish to use this setup.
The Busia facility has two laboratory areas – one for processing animal samples and one for processing human material, both of which operate at BSL-2 standard (appropriate flow hoods are in place in each lab). We have 2 large capacity -40C biomedical freezers and an option to run a -80C freezer when required. We run a large capacity autoclave and water deionizer. We operate and maintain several refrigerated centrifuges and other standard bench-top laboratory equipment. We benefit from an international supply chain for consumables and reagents. We are able to undertake all routine parasitological investigations on human and animal samples, as well as certain more advanced tests, including ELISA and PCR based diagnostics (eg real-time PCR capability with a separate molecular preparation room). There is a post-mortem facility for animals, a meeting room and kitchen. Our laboratory protocols meet approved international standards of Health and Safety, and we are regularly inspected in this regard by the relevant department of the International Livestock Research Institute. We are supplied with 3-phase grid electricity backed up by a generator. Water supply is a combination of rainwater capture and mains water supply through a meter (and there is also a back up well). The lab is connected to broadband internet and is a wifi hotspot.
Field site & Lab