February 7, 2011 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

In Nigeria, the kidnap of a professor of pathology at the University of Uyno last month caused work stoppages by academic union members in protest of the government’s failure to protect medical faculty from the recent rash of kidnappings. Pathologist Dr. Memfin Ekpo was abducted by gunmen during a church service on January 16. His family was contacted by the kidnappers and asked to pay a ransom of 50 million naira (about $329,000). This demand was later reduced to 20 million naira. As of press time, Dr. Ekpo had not been freed by the kidnappers.

MORE ON: Kidnap

Pathologist Memfin Ekpo’s abduction was the sixth of a faculty member working at the University of Uyo, which is the largest university in Nigeria. Faculty and workers at the university are upset at the failure of local and national security forces and police to find the kidnappers, as well as to prevent further such kidnappings. Their work stoppages are intended to pressure law enforcement authorities to both find and free Dr. Ekpo and to prevent further kidnappings of faculty members. It is not known if pathology associations in other countries have provided any support or have made public comments in response to Dr. Ekpo’s kidnapping and continuing captivity.


In tandem, General Electric Co., and Omnyx, LLC, its digital pathology joint venture, announced that they will build a Pathology Imaging Center of Excellence in Toronto, Canada. The center is intended to further develop digital pathology solutions and act as a resource in the adoption of digital pathology worldwide.


  • Sysmex America, of Mundelein, Illinois, announced three new executive promotions. Robert Degnan will serve as Executive Vice President, Commercial Operations. Ralph Taylor will serve as Executive Vice President, Marketing, Business Development, and Medical/ Scientific Affairs. Andrew (Andy) Hay is now Vice President of Sales.
  • Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories, LLC, of Santa Barbara, California, hired Wayne Wecksler, Ph.D., to be its new General Manager. Wecksler previously was General Manager for the Van Nuys laboratory of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated.

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