By the time that Eduardo Sanchez heads to work in the morning, he’s already been up for hours—reading and preparing for the discussions, quizzes, and tests he takes as part of a master’s program in biotechnology at Northeastern.
But he won’t touch that classwork again until after 11 at night, after he ends his shift as one of the scientists who ensures Northeastern’s Life Sciences Testing Center runs like a well-oiled machine to process thousands of coronavirus tests on a daily basis.
In July, when Sanchez joined a then-four-person team as a lab technician, the systems and instrumentation that sustain the lab today were still being designed. Then they needed to be validated in order to acquire the licensing that would allow the lab to conduct the diagnostic analysis and process the human samples necessary to test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.
Now, nearly 10 weeks into its operations, and thanks to the determination of Sanchez and other scientists with experience working in other clinical laboratories, the state-of-the-art facility has been the engine of an ambitious testing operation that has allowed Northeastern’s campus in Boston to re-open—and remain open—this fall.