Two JKUAT students from the Schools of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences have been awarded opportunities for medical electives and masters programmes in Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University in the United States.
Reportedly, JKUAT and Purdue had joined forces to advance Biomedical Engineering through a collaboration initiated with the signing of a memorandum of understanding in August 2023.
The partnership, led by Dr. Eddy Odari, Senior Lecturer in the Medical Microbiology Department at the College of Health Sciences (JKUAT), and Prof. Tamara Kinzer-Ursem, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering at Purdue, aims to foster research and development in the field.
Dr. Odari, who spent time as a visiting scientist at Purdue, highlighted the mutual benefits for both institutions.
“Purdue seeks to conduct preclinical and clinical trials in developing countries and JKUAT’s College of Health Sciences (COHES) provides diverse expertise across disciplines,” he stated.
The Senior Lecturer noted that this collaboration aligns with JKUAT’s plans to introduce an undergraduate degree program in biomedical engineering under the College of Engineering and Technology (COETEC).
“Discussions in 2022 laid the groundwork for curriculum development, and there is now consideration of jointly offering a postgraduate course with Purdue,” Dr. Odari highlighted.
During a visit to JKUAT on November 6, 2023, the Purdue team, including Prof. Natasha Duncan, explored potential areas for implementation under the MoU.
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Prof. Robert Kinyua emphasized JKUAT’s commitment to global collaborations, citing existing partnerships with institutions in Asia, Europe, and America.
The Purdue team engaged with JKUAT faculty, exploring collaborative opportunities, particularly in the development of handheld diagnostic tools.
Prof. Johnson Kinyua, COHES Principal, identified potential collaborations across various schools, such as nursing’s involvement in affordable point-of-care diagnostics.
Eng Charles Kabubo, representing Principal COETEC, highlighted applications in assessing concrete quality for building structural integrity.
Dr. Kagira, Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Animal Science, advocated for handheld diagnostic devices in rural areas for disease diagnosis in animal husbandry.
Chairman of the Rehabilitative Sciences Department Dr. Matheri Mwangi presented plans for an Institute of Non-communicable Diseases, seeking Purdue’s support.
In response, Dr. Kinzer-Ursem pledged Purdue’s support in shaping new program curricula and providing experienced faculty. The collaboration between JKUAT and Purdue holds the promise of advancing healthcare, technology, and education not only in Kenya but also beyond.
By Kamau Njoroge
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