Abdullah Alqarihi is a PhD student researcher at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute’s first doctoral program in translational research. He’s conducting hands-on research to create an antibody that will fight off a fatal fungal infection.

“[In] some pictures, you can see they lose this kind of cheek and they lose the nose and some of them.. It’s just viral. Mortality and morbidity [are] just so high with this disease,” Alqarihi said.

Alqarihi is passionate about finding a solution for Mucormycosis. The doctoral program allows him to work and learn from professionals as they search for scientific solutions to medical problems.

But, the building Alqarihi works in is aging.

That’s why he and other researchers are looking forward to the coming months. In March, LA BioMed will open a new 78,000 square foot building for students, researchers, scientists and biomedicine startups to create vaccines and other medicines for the future.

“That gives us the chance for our students to interact with people who are turning discoveries into new diagnostics, new therapies and new devices,” Dr. David Meyer, CEO of L.A. Biomedical Research Institute said.

The building will include an 18,000 square foot incubator with a wet lab, dry lab and a freezer farm for storing tissue samples.

Back at the lab, Alqarihi works with his mentor and professor, Ashraf Ibrahim. Ibrahim said they aren’t far off from creating an antibody that will help patients who contract the infection.

“It’s pretty much a sentence of death if somebody gets this disease, so we’re hoping with this antibody in hand, in addition to antibiotics that we give to patients, that we are going to have a much better handle on the disease itself,” Ibrahim said.

Finding a solution is the reason why Alqarihi went into biomedicine in the first place.

“When I finish my PhD, I will not stop here. I will take it further to the next step,” Alqarihi said.

He plans to finish the 4-year doctoral program and continue his work in the new building until he brings a vaccine, antibody or medicine into the pharmaceutical market.