Since 1988, the Department of Chemistry has operated a laboratory facility to test blood and urine samples from racing horses for detection of performance enhancing drugs. With the help of the Jamaica Racing Commission, the facility has grown into a 3,000 sq.ft. laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation. The instruments include Gas Chromatograph (CG) and High Performance Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC) with varieties of detectors including single quad and ion trap mass spectrometric detectors and Super Conducting Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometers. Additionally the Department of Basic Medical Science engages the students doing advanced Biochemistry in the testing of body fluids as part of their routine laboratory practicals.
UWI, Mona has the expertise and the facility to detect drugs at the level of parts per trillion. Our Chief Analyst has been trained abroad to analyzed various synthetic and natural steriods and our analytical capability is on par with international standards. Our Pesticide Research Laboratory has also been recognized by UNDP/UNEP and has been designated as a laboratory to analyze Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS).
At present, sports authorities in Jamaica are sending urine samples on a random basis to testing laboratories abroad at a great expense. However, given our experience with the racing industry, UWI, Mona is well positioned to set up a drug testing facility for Jamaica and the region. Further, in Biochemistry and Physiology as well as Sports Medicine, the capability exists to develop a testing centre for a range of additional athletic needs, including Bio-mechanics.