MDI Biological Laboratory
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MDI lab pledges to offer haven for Ukrainian scientists fleeing the war

A Bar Harbor lab is pledging to offer haven for Ukrainian scientists fleeing from the 2-month-old war devastating their country.

That announcement from the MDI Biological Laboratory comes after the Biden administration said Friday it will streamline entry into the U.S. for Ukrainians fleeing the war. The U.S. expects to take in 100,000 refugees from Ukraine and about 15,000 have come since the Feb. 24 invasion, according to the Associated Press.

The MDI lab routinely supports visiting scientists and researchers during the summer. Now it will work with refugee centers in Europe and U.S. immigration officials to bring Ukrainian scientists and their families across the Atlantic.

“We can all see the human costs mounting in Ukraine. MDI Biological Laboratory has a longstanding reputation as a gathering place for international scientists conducting biomedical research. Now we seek to provide temporary housing and laboratory space to our Ukrainian colleagues who are fleeing a terrible war that has taken thousands of lives,” said Hermann Haller, the lab’s president who has extensive experience working with Russian and Ukrainian scientists.

In addition to working with the U.S. to get the scientists and their families humanitarian parole here, the lab will support the scientists’ travel to the U.S. and provide them with housing.

“The worldwide scientific community is an example of true international diplomacy. Scientific collaboration knows no geographic boundaries,” Haller said Friday.

More than 4 million Ukrainians have fled their country in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency. That number could continue to rise as Putin has redeployed his military into eastern Ukraine for an offensive concentrated on separatist areas in the Donbas.

Christopher Burns

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