The Mobile Malaria Project team crossed four countries in a specially converted version of Land Rover’s most versatile full-sized SUV. They successfully tested the latest portable genetic sequencing technology in remote off-grid locations for the first time – even generating data for their partners while driving. Driving a Discovery developed by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations and led by Dr George Busby, the team worked with local scientists to extract and analyse DNA in remote locations, generating useful genetic data within hours. Scientists usually have to wait weeks for data after obtaining, preparing and dispatching samples to overseas laboratories for analysis.
“Malaria affects millions of people all over the world every year. At Jaguar Land Rover we’re passionate about using our technology to help experts in their field make a real difference and the Land Rover Bursary is a great example of this. We’re really proud the unique Discovery developed by our Special Vehicle Operations team has helped prove that remote DNA sequencing is possible even in hard-to-reach locations.”
Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Medical Officer
“The Discovery was the perfect tool for the job. It took the different terrains in its stride and carried all our kit with ease and performed as a mobile laboratory. Without the support of the Land Rover Bursary we simply wouldn’t have been able to make this important step of proving the viability of remote DNA sequencing in the field of malaria prevention.”
Project leader Dr George Busby
Fresh from this success, Land Rover has announced the winners of the 2019 bursary, an all women team, who will travel through remote rural East Africa with the aid of a bespoke Discovery. They will gather evidence on the factors influencing farmers’ adoption of pest management technologies, focusing on fall armyworm, a highly destructive pest threatening food security.
Applications for the 2020 Land Rover Bursary – which will be the first to use the new Defender will open on 1 September. The closing date for entries is 30 November 2019. To find out more about the Land Rover Bursary or begin an application, click here: www.rgs.org/LandRover Bursary.