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The Sum Total: A Collection of COVID-19 Stories Across COS

When COVID-19 emerged as global threat, it demanded action. The Northeastern College of Science heard the call.

A fleet of professors, researchers, technicians, staff, and students overnight became mobilized to fight on the front lines of science. Together, and in every discipline of science, they were able to make significant contributions to the collective good: developing epidemic models, serving as advisors to local and national government, studying the structure of the virus, assisting with contact tracing, developing systems for on-campus testing, and more. Even as pandemic continues, so does their work.

Thanks to [email protected]‘s exceptional team of journalists and photographers, we are now able to present a retrospective of their work, through the first six months of COVID-19.


| March 2, 2020

How Can We Stop The Spread Of False Rumors About COVID-19? Better Math.

Alessandro Vespignani is Sternberg Family distinguished university professor of physics, computer science, and health sciences, and director of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Research from the Network Science Institute uses mathematical equations to track how “social contagions” spread. This data shows how to follow false news and rumors about COVID-19, and why gossip spreads like a disease itself.

Featuring: Jessica Davis (PhD student), Alessandro Vespignani
Topics: Mathematics, Network Science


| March 6, 2020

Closing Borders Can Delay, But Can’t Stop the Spread of COVID-19, New Report Says

The Network Science Institute published a study showing that closing boarders and travel bans might slow the spread of COVID-19, but will not stop the spread. Their study used Wuhan travel bans as an example for America

Featuring: Jessica Davis (PhD student), Ana Pastore y Piontti, Alessandro Vespignani
Topics
: Network Science


| March 20, 2020

Here’s Why Washing Your Hands With Soap for 20 Seconds Protects You From COVID-19

Thomas Gilbert explains the simple chemistry behind why washing your hands with soap is so effective at killing virus’s and bacteria. This goes into why the twenty second rule is important, and how soap as a lipid can fight the lipid casings of bacteria that water can’t dissolve.

Featuring: Thomas Gilbert
Topics: Chemistry and Chemical Biology


| March 27, 2020

He’s Preparing the ER for a Surge of COVID-19 Patients. There’s Nowhere Else He’d Rather Be.

Abhishek Mogili is a Biology co-op student helping prepare hospitals for the incoming onslaught of patients. Acting as an extra set of hands, he helps brace for impact with COVID, a common theme among pre-med co-ops.

Featuring: Abhishek Mogili (Co-op student)
Topics: Biology


| April 1, 2020

Here’s How to Combat the Feat Caused By a Barrage of COVID-19 News

David DeSteno explains how rumors and fear, while useful, can get blown out of proportion. DeSteno goes on to show how this applies to the pandemic, and how to combat this unnecessary fear.

Featuring: David DeSteno
Topics: Psychology


| May 15, 2020

The Coronavirus Might Have Hidden Weak Spots. Machine Learning Could Help Find Them.

Chemists at northeastern research possible weak points the COVID-19 virus might have. Using machine learning, coupled with knowledge of the disease’s amino acids, Mary Jo and Penny could locate these weak points, helping create possible vaccines down the line.

Featuring: Penny Beuning, Mary Jo Ondrechen
Topics: Chemistry and Chemical Biology


| June 1, 2020

When My Brothers Table Needed Help, the Marine Science Center Faculty Stepped Up

Volunteers work at My Brother’s Table, the largest soup kitchen on Boston’s North Shore, to provide meals for takeout and delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

The Marine Science Center had taken notice that food shelters had less volunteers during the pandemic, and was struggling to help feed people especially when the home style dining they cherished became impossible. The researchers working at the MSC stepped up to keep meals flowing for those in need.

Featuring: Torrance Hanley, Randall Hughes
Topics: Marine and Environmental Science


| June 3, 2020

COVID-19 Misconceptions Are Hard to Fight. Cognitive Psychology Might Help Spot Why People Get the Coronavirus Wrong.

John Coley explains how misconceptions about COVID arise, and why psychologically they make sense. He goes on to explain how to fight these misconceptions with that same psychology.

Featuring: John Coley
Topics: Psychology


| July 27, 2020

Scientists Still Don’t Have all the Answers About the Coronavirus—and That’s a Sign of Progress

As researchers study SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 at breakneck speeds, one key aspect to keep in mind is that the research is happening while everyone watches. “The public is getting front-row seats to the scientific method, probably in a way they never imagined they would’ve experienced,” says Samuel Scarpino, who runs the Emergent Epidemics Lab at Northeastern.

Featuring: Sam Scarpino
Topics: Marine and Environmental Science


| August 5, 2020

Northeastern’s Life Sciences Center is a Cutting Edge Laboratory That Will Process the University’s Coronavirus Tests

The Northeastern Life Science Center receives permission to process the university’s coronavirus tests. This tremendous project is led by Jared Auclair, an assistant professor of biotechnology.

Featuring: Jared Auclair
Topics: Biotechnology


| August 6, 2020

How to Talk to Others About Healthy Habits Like Face Masks and Distancing

William Sharp discusses the stresses “mask vs no mask” interactions can cause, and shares how to start the important conversations surrounding them. It is always better to be aware of what everyone is comfortable with going into a public event.

Featuring: William Sharp
Topics: Psychology

 

October 25, 2020
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‘To Benefit the Earth and Those Upon It.’ Announcing the 2020 Muckenhoupt Scholarship Winners.

Congratulations to Allison Noble and Haley Bayne, this year’s recipients of the Dr. Carl Muckenhoupt Scholarship!

The Muckenhoupt Scholarship is awarded each year to Northeastern undergraduate students who will use their training in science “to benefit the environment of the earth and those upon it.” The 2020 recipients were chosen from an impressive pool of academically exceptional and environmentally inclined students.

Allison Noble (’21), Marine Biology

Allison Noble (2021) is a Marine Biology student who has worked on several projects with the Marine Science Center, including research internships in the Hughes Lab and the Kimbro Lab.

Noble says she has most appreciated the opportunities to do field work in a diverse array of different ecosystems, especially the oyster reefs in both Florida and Rhode Island. Her work studying stony coral tissue loss disease was featured in a news feature earlier this year.

Noble’s latest project, in collaboration with Jeriyla Kamau-Weng, another Northeastern student, is development of the Marine and Environmental Sciences Peer Mentoring program. The program — the first of its kind in the College of Science — will be launched in the fall and already has over sixty participating students!

This summer, Noble volunteered at the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, NY for the third year in a row, and participated in a virtual internship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researching soundscapes in areas with varying levels of habitat degradation at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Her sound ecology work will continue this Fall with a co-op at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution researching sensory and sound ecology on coral reefs.

Allison Noble in Bocas Del Toro. Photo by Tim Briggs

 

Hayley Bayne (’20), Environmental Science

Haley Bayne (2020) is an Environmental Science student with interests in sustainability, ecology, and science communication.

She has enthusiastically seized opportunities for study and field research abroad during her undergraduate degree. One of her favorite experiences was a Dialogue course in Iceland, where she explored local geology and was inspired to consider ways that sustainable energy practices in place in that country could be and applied in the United States.

Bayne also worked in the Rosengaus Lab studying antifungal mechanisms in termites, where she honed her research skills, mentored younger students, and produced a research paper which will be published later this Fall.

Last year, she was invited to attend a research conference in the Netherlands, where she was able to attend lectures as well as network with researchers at the top of their fields. Bayne is currently taking virtual classes at Northeastern in addition to exploring new interests and developing her skills in science communication and lab research.

Congratulations to both of these scholars on receiving the 2020 Muckenhoupt Scholarship and for all of their exciting research! With co-op and research experiences throughout their time at Northeastern, these students With co-op and research experiences throughout their time at Northeastern, Bayne and Noble are well prepared to make a positive impact with their future work.

 

Hayley Bayne in Iceland. Photo courtesy of Hayley Bayne.

 

October 23, 2020

In the Trenches at Northeastern’s Coronavirus Testing Center by Day, Hitting the Books at Night

By the time that Eduardo Sanchez heads to work in the morning, he’s already been up for hours—reading and preparing for the discussions, quizzes, and tests he takes as part of a master’s program in biotechnology at Northeastern.

But he won’t touch that classwork again until after 11 at night, after he ends his shift as one of the scientists who ensures Northeastern’s Life Sciences Testing Center runs like a well-oiled machine to process thousands of coronavirus tests on a daily basis.

In July, when Sanchez joined a then-four-person team as a lab technician, the systems and instrumentation that sustain the lab today were still being  designed. Then they needed to be validated in order to acquire the licensing that would allow the lab to conduct the diagnostic analysis and process the human samples necessary to test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

Now, nearly 10 weeks into its operations, and thanks to the determination of Sanchez and other scientists with experience working in other clinical laboratories, the state-of-the-art facility has been the engine of an ambitious testing operation that has allowed Northeastern’s campus in Boston to re-open—and remain open—this fall.

Read the full story here

October 22, 2020