Wichita State’s Molecular Diagnostics Lab honored for pandemic heroism


Wichita State University’s Molecular Diagnostics Lab has been awarded the Jiggs Nelson Quality of Life 2022 award for its lifesaving and heroic work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award, which included a $500 gift, was presented to MDL staff at the Wichita Medical Research and Education Foundation’s Healthcare Ethics Conference, which was attended virtually on Wednesday, March 9.

“The MDL played a key role in identifying people infected with COVID with a rapid turnaround time, allowing them to isolate and quarantine much sooner, effectively reducing the spread of the virus,” Teresa Carter, CFO of the WMREF, in her nomination letter. “Their vision to insert the university lab into the community’s fight against the virus is unique and a wonderful use of local expertise and resources for the community, as well as providing hands-on once in a lifetime experience for their teaching staff and students.”

The MDL was established in October 2020 in Wichita State’s efforts to keep Kansas open for business by rapidly identifying, quarantining, and treating COVID patients and mitigating the spread of the virus. The high-throughput lab has the capacity to process roughly 32,000 specimens per week with test results in less than 24 hours.

“MDL is so grateful to be recognized for our hard work during the pandemic,” said Sarah Nickel, assistant professor of medical laboratory sciences and the technical director of MDL. “There have been so many difficult moments over the past couple of years, but we were always able to continue to push through knowing that our work was making a big impact.  It is truly an honor to receive the Jiggs Nelson Quality of Life award.”

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