March 3, 2020

Experts on coronavirus

Author: UCR News
March 3, 2020


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John Barton: Assistant professor of physics. A computational biophysicist, he has extensive experience studying viral evolution and uses various methods to predict how different mutations affect viral replication.

Brandon Brown: Associate professor and epidemiologist in the School of Medicine. Brown, whose research focuses on infectious diseases, has been featured in numerous national and international news outlets, speaking about coronavirus misinformation, the dangers of flu, and his experience with SARS quarantine. (No TV or radio interviews.)

Mona Eskandari: Assistant professor of mechanical engineering and BREATHE Center at the School of Medicine. Her research focuses on lung biomechanics, understanding the material mechanics of pulmonary tissue and how disease degenerates the structure, which in turn affects lung function. COVID19 causes changes to the lungs and respiratory distress due to fluid build-up, even in asymptomatic patients, and her lab seeks new approaches to improve diagnostic testing.

Adam Godzik: Professor of biomedical sciences. He and his team are analyzing the genome and proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in order to identify possible drug targets and drug binding sites.

Karine Le Roch: Professor of molecular, cell and systems biology and director of the Center for Infectious Disease and Vector Research. Le Roch, an expert on malaria and the parasite that causes the disease, can talk about antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine, and their potential efficacy for the treatment of coronavirus.

Jiayu Liao: Associate professor of bioengineering. He is looking for a new approach in human immunity to fight the flu and other emerging viruses. His work focuses on our own body's genes and responses to flu viruses and how our body can "ignore" a virus rather than disable it. Liao can talk about the challenges of finding effective vaccines and treatments for influenza and other respiratory viruses. 

David Lo, MD: Senior associate dean and distinguished professor of biomedical sciences. He is developing safe, inexpensive, and accessible vaccines throughout the world, particularly through needle-free vaccine delivery.

Sonja Lyubomirsky: Professor of psychology. Lyubomirsky has been widely quoted in the media for her research into kindness, gratitude and connection, all factors in increasing happiness and how people cope with crisis. Her lab is currently comparing digital social interactions with face-to-face interactions, which carries major implications for people's well-being.

Juliet Morrison: Assistant professor of microbiology and plant pathology. Morrison researches how emerging and re-emerging viruses antagonize innate immune pathways to promote their replication. She also studies the dynamics of lung immune cell populations during influenza and other respiratory virus infections. Her lab's goal is to translate their findings into host-targeted respiratory virus therapeutics.

Maurizio Pellecchia: Professor of biomedical sciences. Pellecchia and his collaborators are looking into targeting SARS-CoV2 viral entry mechanisms. SAR-CoV2 is the coronavirus causative of the COVID19 pandemic.

Kate Sweeny: Professor of psychology. Sweeny's research focuses on the worry associated with periods of uncertain waiting. She also has researched the strategies people employ to reduce anxiety during these periods. She is currently preparing to publish on quarantine-related anxiety among people from the Wuhan province.