The University of Arizona announced that Quidel Corp., a major provider of rapid diagnostic testing solutions, cellular-based virology assays and molecular diagnostic systems, has committed to give $1 million for scholarships that support tomorrow’s scientists and health professionals and to make an additional $1 million investment in sponsored research projects.
“The company began a relationship with the university as a COVID-19 testing partner when we established our Test, Trace, Treat protocol,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “As the Quidel team learned more about the university’s priorities, they chose to deepen the partnership with a focus on the future. The innovative programs Quidel is supporting will inspire and enable STEM students and foster important research in the health sciences. I am very grateful to Quidel for their incredible partnership.”
Of the $1 million gift for scholarships, half will benefit the BIO5 Institute’s KEYS Research Internship program. The remainder will establish the Quidel Global Health Scholarships for students in the College of Medicine – Tucson, College of Medicine – Phoenix, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
The annual KEYS Research Internship is a training program for Arizona high school students interested in developing STEM skills. Interns gain experience with real-world application by completing research projects guided by scientists in UArizona labs. Additionally, KEYS aims to increase the talent pool and diversity of students pursuing STEM degrees and careers. Another goal is to have those students attend the state’s public universities, and join the Arizona workforce, in high percentages.
“The KEYS program exemplifies our mission as Arizona’s designated land-grant university and our delivery of hands-on, experiential learning at a premier research institution. With roughly 60% of KEYS students coming from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the STEM workforce, accessibility is absolutely a touchstone of the program,” said Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, senior vice president for research and innovation. “Support from Quidel will enable us to continue leading cutting-edge research programs while also preparing the next generation of scientists.”
Quidel’s gift adds to the KEYS to the Future Endowment, which keeps the program free and accessible.
“This gift will help ensure that qualified students from across the state can pursue an opportunity like KEYS without concern for the costs of on-campus housing, course credit, transportation, lost income and other expenses,” said Lisa Romero, executive director of public affairs, communications and engagement at the BIO5 Institute.
The new Quidel Global Health Scholarships are intended to prepare students to build and lead the future of health care to enhance the well-being of people around the globe. Recipients will possess the diverse talents, experiences and perspectives to help achieve this goal, with the scholarship covering up to the full cost of tuition.
“The University of Arizona Health Sciences is committed to providing students with the training and experiences they will need to build and lead the future of health care,” said UArizona Health Sciences Senior Vice President Michael D. Dake. “Through Quidel’s generous gift, more students will have an opportunity to become part of the next generation of health care professionals and meet needs that are growing and evolving across the country and around the world.”
Quidel Corp. is collaborating with researchers across the university to define and develop the projects the company will sponsor with the additional $1 million.
“Our mission at Quidel is to advance diagnostics to improve human health and empower people to take charge of their health and well-being,” said Douglas Bryant, president and CEO of Quidel Corp. “Sustainable success in this dynamic field requires the skills and ingenuity of our team today as well as the vision to invest in mentoring the health care innovators of tomorrow. Our partnership with the University of Arizona is an ideal blend of financial support and hands-on experience in laboratory settings that will fuel discovery and yield tangible contributions to society.”
This relationship provides an example of a company partnering with the university to achieve common goals, said John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation.
“Quidel is prioritizing global health and empowering students who will become leaders in science- and health-related fields,” Roczniak said. “I’m grateful for their trust in the University of Arizona, where we share this vision and are committed to stewarding their investment.”
PHOTO: KEYS 2019 intern Noah Rios from Sunnyside High School working with Dr. Anita Koshy in her lab.