From the fridgecubator to important discoveries in tuberculosis

Blog, Scientist Success Stories

Dr. Hector Ricardo Morbidoni: University of Rosario, Argentina

“We have implemented a method for rapid determination of drug resistance in tuberculosis. The method shortens from 45 days to 4 days the time required and will be added to our public health service that provides coverage to a population of 1 million people.”Dr. Hector Ricardo Morbidoni, University of Rosario, Argentina

$10,000 turned into equipment worth almost $60,000

“I returned from the USA in 2003; at that time, Argentina was in its worst economic crisis ever. With several years of post-doctoral training, I was unable to start working. I contacted philanthropic organizations and asked them for help. Two organizations, the Sustainable Science Institute and Seeding Labs, answered the call. Thus I obtained equipment and consumables as well as the award of a small grant. Ten thousand dollars turned into equipment worth almost $60,000.”

Inventing improvised equipment for first-class research

In 2003, Dr. Ricardo Morbidoni completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and prepared to return to his native Argentina to study drug-resistant tuberculosis. This disease affects thousands in his country and hundreds of thousands of people in the developing world each year. Unfortunately, limited resources in Argentina left him under-equipped to do cutting-edge research. Dr. Morbidoni worked out of an almost empty room and improvised equipment as best he could. His great innovation was an incubator made from a used refrigerator— a “fridgecubator.”

In partnership with the Sustainable Sciences Institute, Seeding Labs was able to find the equipment Dr. Morbidoni’s needed and send it to him. Today, Dr. Morbidoni works out of a fully functioning laboratory, receives funding from American agencies to continue his tuberculosis research, collaborates with colleagues in the US and France, trains students, and has published data in international journals.

Implementing a method for rapid determination of drug resistance in tuberculosis

Best of all, he reports: “We have implemented a method for rapid determination of drug resistance in tuberculosis. The method shortens from 45 days to 4 days the time required and will be added to our public health service that provides coverage to a population of 1 million people.”