Northern Michigan University’s clinical laboratory sciences department has received an automated immunoassay analyzer valued at $127,000 through a donation from Abbott’s “Labs are Vital” program. This large instrument will provide research opportunities for NMU faculty and allow students to be trained on the same equipment they will find in most hospital laboratories. “These analyzers are workhorses for hospital chemistry labs,” said Kevin Foley, the new head of clinical laboratory sciences. “They are used to measure analytes in blood and serum; analytes such as cholesterol, hormones, metabolic products, vitamins—anything we can target with antibodies. “Very few universities have them because they’re so expensive. In fact, NMU is one of only four in the world to receive an analyzer from Abbott. The company has generously donated a variety of state-of-the-art instruments, but this is the biggest award they give. We had to apply for it and show that we have a quality, accredited program that would integrate the analyzer into its curriculum.” The gift was announced recently at the annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC). Foley said the instrument should be set up and operational within the semester. NMU also receives the reagents—chemicals—used with the analyzer and technical support from Abbott. The company’s “Labs are Vital” program is a multi-pronged, multi-year global education and awareness initiative designed to highlight the critical role that laboratory professionals play in health care. It also addresses issues facing laboratories today, such as the shortage of qualified personnel. NMU offers 13 degrees in its clinical laboratory sciences program, ranging from certificate to bachelor’s degrees, and has intern and practicum affiliations with about 20 medical facilities, including Mayo Clinic.