student in lab
STEP-UP students introduced to the new laboratory. (photo courtesy of the John A. Burns School of Medicine)

Assisted by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, the College of Micronesia opened a new biomedical research laboratory in the agriculture building on its national campus at Palikir, Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia.

The new research facility, which opened on April 30, is the fourth training laboratory established under the Pacific Short-Term Education Program for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP) program administered by UH Mānoa. Similar facilities were established at the American Samoa Community College, the Northern Marianas College and the College of the Marshall Islands.

“The research training program we are rolling out is unprecedented in most of our target communities across the Pacific, where biomedical research infrastructure and research training are largely nonexistent,” said George Hui, director of the Pacific STEP-UP program and a researcher in JABSOM’s Department of Tropical Medicine and Medical Microbiology. “It is essential to diversify the biomedical and healthcare workforce with research scientists who are culturally competent and responsive to the social needs of underrepresented persons.”

Four College of Micronesia undergraduates and four students from local public high schools across Micronesia were selected to take part in this year’s Pacific STEP-UP Summer Research program at the new facility.

“The range of research opportunities and the quality of research outcomes will be vastly improved through the establishment of this exceptional laboratory,” said College of Micronesia President Joseph M. Daisy. “We are grateful for the extraordinary generosity and donation of equipment by the STEP-UP Program, without which this new research lab would not be possible.”

The Pacific STEP-UP Program encompasses the State of Hawaiʻi; the US-affiliated (flagged) territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands; and the US-associated (non-flagged) territories that include the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Another Pacific STEP-UP research laboratory facility is planned for the Republic of Palau (Palau Community College) this year.

—A UH Mānoa news release