covid-19 virus
March 3, 2020

Experts on coronavirus

Author: UCR News
March 3, 2020


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Brandon Brownprofessor and epidemiologist in the School of Medicine

Brandon Brown

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.)


Richard M. Carpiano, professor of public policy and sociology

Richard Carpiano

A medical sociologist, Carpiano studies population health issues, analyzing how social factors influence the physical and mental health of people around the world. He is available to comment on the social impacts of the pandemic and policy responses to it, protests against shelter-in-place orders, public opinion, and misinformation, among other topics.


Kim Yi Dionne, associate professor of political science

Kim Yi Dionne

Dionne has studied several disease outbreaks, including HIV/AIDS and the West African Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016, tracking different responses to those outbreaks by governments and the general public. She is available to comment on these topics as well as the relationship between disease, stigma, and othering, and its effects.


Mona Eskandari, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and BREATHE Center at the School of Medicine 

Mona Eskandari

Eskandari's 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 

Adam Godzik

Godzik 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. 


Gloria González-Rivera, professor of economics

Gloria González-Rivera

An expert on volatility forecasting, risk management, and agricultural markets, González-Rivera can speak on limiting the economic damage of rare and destabilizing events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


Jana Grittersova, associate professor of political science and cooperating faculty member in the Department of Economics

Jana Grittersova

Grittersova studies the political economy of international finance and previously worked as a central banker at the National Bank of Slovakia and as an economist at the European Commission. She is available to comment on how the coronavirus is impacting Europe and the economic measures being taken there to counteract the damage.


Karine Le Roch, professor of molecular, cell and systems biology and director of the Center for Infectious Disease and Vector Research

Karine Le Roch

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 Liaoassociate professor of bioengineering

Jiayu Liao

Liao 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. 



Aerika Loyd, developmental psychologist

Aerika Loyd

Loyd leads UCR's Youth Health and Development Lab, and can speak to the emotional impacts on children of the coronavirus pandemic, including where it involves hormonal changes, social pressure, and remote learning. "In my experience, there's nothing scarier to a kid than when the adults they love are pretending everything is fine, and the kid knows it's not," Loyd says.


David Lo, MDdistinguished professor of biomedical sciences

David Lo

Lo is developing safe, inexpensive, and accessible vaccines throughout the world, particularly through needle-free vaccine delivery. 


Sonja Lyubomirsky, distinguished professor of psychology

Sonja Lyubomirsky

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

Juliet Morrison

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.


Scott D. Peganprofessor of biomedical sciences

 Viral outbreaks pose a persistent threat to the public. The development of antiviral therapeutics for coronaviruses as well as other emerging and neglected disease has been underwhelming over the past decades. Pegan’s approach involves gaining a greater understanding of the mammalian innate immune response and how it is modulated by often-fatal human pathogens such as certain nairoviruses and coronaviruses..


Maurizio Pellecchiaprofessor of biomedical sciences

Maurizio Pellecchia

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


Ashish Soodassociate professor of marketing

Ashish Sood

Sood has extensive experience in researching the diffusion of innovations, new products, and new technologies and contagion effects in consumers. Sood and his co-authors are working on models to predict the efficacy of aggressive lockdown measures and developing metrics, guidelines, and benchmarks to guide healthcare professionals and policy makers.


Kate Sweenyprofessor of psychology

Kate Sweeny

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.