ARCS Foundation honors and acknowledges ARCS Scholars and Scholar Alumni who are contributing to the fight against COVID-19
Science has never been more important than today, and ARCS Scholars and Alumni are responding to the current national challenge in remarkable ways. From mass-producing personal protective equipment in the face of a national shortage to developing a low-cost ventilator to curating new testing methods, ARCS young scientists are making valiant efforts to aid the US and its citizens.
Rachael Aber @RachaelAber ARCS Scholar 2019-20 at Oregon State University
Rachael is involved in the TRACE-COVID project at Oregon State University that involves door-to-door community surveillance to gather the information that is essential to slowing the spread and minimizing the impact of the disease.
Korey Brownstein, PhD ARCS Scholar 2013-16 atWashington State University
Dr. Brownstein is working on the exaggerated health claims regarding dietary supplements in relation to COVID-19. His team, NatureClaim, will compete in the 2020 Social New Venture Challenge.
Lauren Ching ARCS Scholar 2019-20 at University of Hawaii at Manoa
Holly Dixon, PhD @MyLifeAsHolly1 ARCS Scholar 2015-18 at Oregon State University
Dr. Dixon is working as COVID-19 Senior Health Advisor for Oregon Health Authority (OHA), where she helps organize the health inquiries that OHA receives from community partners, citizens, clinicians, legislators, the governor’s office, and others.
Andy Hoffer, PhD ARCS Scholar 1968-69 at Harvey Mudd College
Dr. Hoffer founded Lungpacer Inc. in 2009 and is testing methods to protect and/or rescue the diaphragm muscle from muscle atrophy that ensues in patients who are mechanically ventilated. In April 2020, the FDA gave Dr. Hoffer emergency approval to use the Lungpacer technology to help speed up recovery in patients who were ventilated due to COVID-19. Read more here.
Jenny Liu ARCS Scholar 2017-20 at Northwestern University
Jenny is a part of a team at Northwestern University that’s investigating the workings of COVID-19. So far they have determined that viral adhesion proteins act as a hinge in attaching to the cells of an infected person.
Kelsey Lyberger @K_Lyberger ARCS Scholar 2019-20 at University of California, Davis
Kelsey and a colleague were the first to apply a model developed by Imperial College London during the European epidemic to estimate the true number of infections in the United States. You can read her paper on medRxiv here.
Sean MacAvaney @MacAvaney ARCS Scholar 2019-20 atGeorgetown University
Sean used ARCS funding to develop an algorithm that searches for COVID-related scientific articles and that was scored as one of the top entries in a competition by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. A publication on his work is awaiting peer review.
Melanie MacMullan @MelanieUSCChemE ARCS Scholar 2018-20 atUniversity of Southern California
Melanie is working to help develop a test detecting antibodies against COVID-19. This technology will enable improved contact tracing and contribute to vaccine development by illuminating which antibodies against the virus are most prevalent in the population. You can read more here.
Katie McConnell @KeitiMar ARCS Scholar 2017-20 atOregon State University
Katie is volunteering in a COVID-19 diagnostics lab in Chile, utilizing the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques learned at Oregon State University.
Erin Murray, PhD ARCS Scholar 2003-07 at Emory University
Sergey Negrashov, PhD @SNegrashov ARCS Scholar 2017-18 atUniversity of Hawaii at Manoa
Sergey has aided in helping alleviate the national shortage of personal protective equipment by designing and mass-producing mask making kits. He has organized a volunteer effort, Aloha Mask, with over 500 sewers and more than 60 drivers to equip 8,000+ healthcare workers and first responders. You can read more here.
Dr. Newman is actively involved in the COVID-19 response clinically and in research. Dr. Newman is caring for patients with coronavirus in the ICU. Her COVID-related research includes work on the clinical coordination and design of the Seattle Flu Study.
Gabrielle Pastenkos, DVM, PhD @GPastenkos ARCS Scholar 2012-15 atWashington State University
Alexandra (Sasha) Perebikovsky, PhD @APerebik ARCS Scholar 2018-20 atUniversity of California, Irvine
Dr. Perebikovsky and two other colleagues have developed a low-cost ventilator that can be produced for $100 or less. The ventilator, affectionately named VentiVader, is portable, easy to operate, and relies on compressed air that is found in every US hospital. You can read more here.
Manu Platt, PhD @DrPlattLab ARCS Scholar 2000-01 atMorehouse College
Dr. Platt is exploring COVID-19 at the cellular level. His research is taking an unbiased approach to identify multiple other proteases that are able to activate this viral spike protein using bioinformatics analyses based on the protein sequence, and then will validate those predictions experimentally. You can read more here.
Kate Sabey@Kate_Sabey ARCS Scholar 2019-20 atUniversity of Georgia
Sanjay Srivatsan @SRsrivatsan ARCS Scholar 2017-20 at University of Washington
Sanjay is the lead scientist in the development of a dry-swab COVID-19 test that does not rely on costly reagents that have limited availability. He is also a contributor to the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network to help provide and scale-up Coronavirus testing in the Pacific Northwest. You can read more here.
Fred Streitz, PhD @Fred_Streitz ARCS Scholar 1982-83 atHarvey Mudd College
Fred is on a temporary assignment serving as the Department of Energy Liaison to theFEMA Data and Analytics Task Force. He is helping coordinate FEMA's access and utilization of computational resources to aid in the COVID-19 response. You can learn more about his accomplishments in August.
Jevin West, PhD @JevinWest ARCS Scholar 2006-08 atUniversity of Washington
Jiarong Zhou ARCS Scholar 2019-20 atUniversity of San Diego
Jiarong is developing nanosponges to neutralize coronaviruses by wrapping a thin layer of human-derived cell membrane onto nanoparticles to mimic the external appearance of the cell. While these biomimetic nanosponges are several times smaller than the origin cell, they have been shown to successfully divert SARS-CoV-2 away from infecting host cells. You can read an abstract of his work that has been published by the American Chemical Society here.