Basseterre, St. Kitts– Leaders from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) and the Federation of Saint Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Nov.13, to commemorate the next phase of RUSVM’s research program, the construction of a 19,000 sq. ft. Research and Pathology Building.
The Research and Pathology Building represents a USD $9.5 M investment in the RUSVM program and will feature 11,000 sq. ft. of laboratory space, which will consist of five laboratories with the capacity to expand in the future. Additionally the building will include a necropsy facility with a viewing gallery to enhance student learning, and a 3,000 sq. ft. vivarium. The building will be designed to BSL2 Biosafety Standards and is expected to be complete during the first quarter of 2016.
“Our commitment to research is key to the future of veterinary medicine, which will involve collaborations among healthcare providers worldwide, addressing global healthcare issues and recognizing the interconnectivity of animal and human health,” said Elaine Watson, DSc, PhD, FRCVS, RUSVM dean. “This building will support the educational efforts that RUSVM is already known for, and provide up-to-date lab space for our researchers, enhancing the academic program.”
Dean Watson joined RUSVM almost three years ago, initiating a strategic refocus of RUSVM’s priorities—strengthening the use of research as part of the educational program, internationalizing the student body, and developing postgraduate master’s and PhD programs. RUSVM has been focused on the recruitment of leaders in their research fields, collaborations and partnerships with top universities, institutes and industry, throughout the globe, to transform the school.
“This facility will help facilitate multidisciplinary One Health research and provide opportunities for greater research collaborations within the Caribbean, benefiting the lives and the community in which we live, and beyond,” said The Honorable Nigel Carty, Minister of Education, Information, Agriculture, Marine Resources and Cooperatives for St. Kitts and Nevis.
Research in the facility will include:
- Improved understanding and control of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, such as leptospirosis, dengue and chikungunya that are serious problems in our region causing disability and death of the local population while also threatening tourism
- Development and evaluation of treatments in animal models of human disease
- Protection of threatened and endangered species and ecosystems in the Caribbean, for example marine turtle conservation research, as well as control of invasive species such as the mongoose and monkey
RUSVM’s location in St. Kitts, a part of the Eastern Caribbean, is a region rich in contrasting ecosystems and socio-economic situations, public health issues and close animal-human interactions. The location provides the ideal backdrop for conducting surveillance and research programs of strategic importance. RUSVM’s Research Centers advance the productivity and standing of research and research training, supporting a research-informed educational program for RUSVM students.
“The future of veterinary medicine, my future, will be impacted by veterinary research, research that future RUSVM students will be a part of,” said Ashley Danowski, RUSVM student government association president. “This is exciting, it is an opportunity for RUSVM to lead and discover—this is only a preview of what is yet to come.