The Making of a COVID Lab: ASU Biodesign Clinical Testing Laboratory
“The Making of a COVID Lab” represents a multidisciplinary team honors project, the largest ever to be supported by the Barrett Honors College, comprised of 38 students who competed to enter the project in August 2020. The project was conceived and lead by Dr. Carolyn Compton, the Medical Director of the ABCTL, but was team-taught by expert faculty from more than seven different schools, colleges, and institutes across ASU including the School of Life Sciences, the Hugh Downs School of Communications, the Sidney Poitier New American Film School, the WP Carey School of Business, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and the ASU Biodesign Institute. The project comprises a detailed academic study of the critical aspects of the establishment, regulatory certification, expansion, and operation of a high-complexity, high-throughput clinical (medical) testing laboratory for the diagnosis of Sars-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The process afforded students a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity. In designing the project, the ABCTL was deconstructed into key component elements falling under 6 specific domains: legal and regulatory issues, business operations, scientific and technical solutions, communications challenges, training and management requirements, and information technology solutions. The team of students working in each domain performed extensive research on a specific subtopic relevant to laboratory medicine, in general, and/or the ABCTL, in specific, to become the subject matter expert for the project. The 7th team of students, under the direction of experienced documentary film makers from the ASU faculty and staff were charged with creating a short documentary film intended for a general audience that told the story of the ABCTL, guided by the expertise of their colleagues on the project to assure the veracity of the film subject matter.
This Project Report documents the accomplishments of an extraordinary group of students, faculty, and staff at the Arizona state University, who participated in a year-long, multidisciplinary, first-of-its-kind academic endeavor entitled “The Making of a COVID Lab.” The lab that is the focus of this project is the ASU Biodesign Clinical Testing Laboratory, known simply as the ABCTL.
Under the direction of Dr. Carolyn Compton, a group of seven Barrett honors students have embarked on a truly unique team thesis project to create a documentary on the process of creating a COVID-19 testing laboratory. This documentary tells the story of the ASU Biodesign Clinical Testing Laboratory (ABCTL), the first lab in the western United States to offer public saliva testing to identify the presence of COVID-19.