COVID-19 Scholar Achievements

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 at Washington 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

Lauren is working on integrated COVID-19 testing and research at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Tropical Medicine Clinical Lab, which she helped establish. Read her paper on principles for detecting SARS-CoV-2 here.


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.

Vivian Dugan, PhD 
ARCS Scholar 2004-05 at University of Georgia

Dr. Vivian Dugan is Deputy Director of the Influenza Division at CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases where she provides vision, leadership, and direction for the division.  She is at the forefront of managing the US response to the global Covid pandemic. 

ARCS Scholar Andy Hoffer Harvey Mudd

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.  

Katie Labgold @KatieLabgold
ARCS Scholar 2018-20 at Emory University

Katie recently published a paper that proposes a new method for handling missing race and ethnicity information for surveillance of racial and ethnic disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic. Read her paper 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 at Georgetown 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 at University 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 at Oregon 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 

Dr. Murray is currently serving as the Epidemiology Team Lead in the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 response.

Sergey Negrashov, PhD @SNegrashov
ARCS Scholar 2017-18 at University 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.

Kira Newman, MD, PhD @KiraNewmanMDPhD
ARCS Scholar 2013-16 at Emory University

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 at Washington State University 

Dr. Pastenkos supports COVID-19 surveillance and research at the California National Primate Research Center, where scientists are working to develop treatments and a potential vaccine.

Alexandra (Sasha) Perebikovsky, PhD @APerebik
ARCS Scholar 2018-20 at University 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 at Morehouse 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 at University of Georgia 

Along with ARCS Scholar Cecelia Sanchez, Kate is analyzing pandemic data. They are working together as members of a COVID-19 Portal Team at University of Georgia

Cecilia Sanchez, PhD 
ARCS Scholar 2016-19 at University of Georgia

Along with ARCS Scholar Kate Sabey, Dr. Sanchez is analyzing pandemic data. They are working together as members of a COVID-19 Portal Team at University 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 at Harvey Mudd College 

Fred is on a temporary assignment serving as the Department of Energy Liaison to the FEMA 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 at University of Washington 

Jevin is the co-founder of DataLab and the Director of the Center for an Informed Public at University of Washington. His most recent work on the misinformation surrounding the current COVID-19 crisis was featured in Wired.

Jiarong Zhou
ARCS Scholar 2019-20 at University 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.