How Our Scholars Played Heroic Roles in the Pandemic
Graduate Center scholars have been at the forefront of research to understand the virus and the larger pandemic.
In the past two years since COVID-19 changed our lives in ways big and small, Graduate Center scholars have been at the forefront of research to understand the virus and the larger pandemic, as well as efforts to help first responders and vaccination campaigns.
Professor John Dennehy (GC/Queens, Biology) has been working with New York City to gather data on COVID-19 from wastewater. His latest research, conducted with Professor Monica Trujillo at Queensborough Community College, discovered new strains of coronavirus that haven’t yet been found in humans.
Pivoting to remote classes changed the way we teach and made our faculty and students reevaluate their approaches in ways big and small. Several shared the innovative new teaching strategies that they plan to keep using.
Professor Núria Rodríguez-Planas (GC/Queens, Economics) has been investigating how the pandemic affected CUNY students’ well-being and income and how university initiatives could help them overcome hardship.
How have vaccinations become divisive? Professor David R. Jones (GC/Baruch, Political Science) offers a detailed picture of this polarization of public opinion on vaccines, including when it emerged and how much it has intensified.
Professor Andreas Kottmann (GC/City College, Biology) is conducting research that seeks to provide insights into severe neurological complications of new strains of coronavirus.
Alumnus Dennis Liotta (Ph.D. ’74, Chemistry), now a professor of organic chemistry at Emory University, co-invented the antiviral drug Molnupiravir, which was the first antiviral drug issued an emergency use authorization by the FDA to treat COVID-19.
After schools closed to in-person learning, Professor Wendy Luttrell (Urban Education, Psychology, Sociology) gathered a team of students and alumni and formed the Urban Education Research Collective, which conducted a groundbreaking survey of parents.
In one of several International Horizons podcasts focused on the pandemic, Ralph Bunche Institute Director and Professor John Torpey (Sociology, History) interviewed Stephanie Salyer of the Africa CDC about the unique challenges facing Africa in its battle against the coronavirus.
Professor Elizabeth Cohn (GC/Hunter, Nursing) was one of the first registered nurses to volunteer at a pop-up vaccination site in Westbury, New York.
Many of our nursing students and alumni were on the frontlines to save lives and shared their stories of tragedy and triumph.
Shortly after the shutdown, the Sensor CAT initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), led by Professor Rein Ulijn (GC/Hunter, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Nanoscience), hosted a webinar for more than 100 scientists to spur the development of sensor technology to fight COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics.
Professor Setha Low (Psychology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Anthropology) was honored with an award from the Center for Active Design for her work on COVID-proofing public spaces and buildings.
Ph.D. student Olivia Ildefonso and alumna Celeste Wilson (Ph.D. ’19, Earth and Environmental Sciences), launched the COVID-19 and Cages Mapping Project, which visualizes data about prison releases related to the pandemic.
Scientists at the Advanced Science Research Center donated hundreds of gloves and other PPE gear to help protect New York City health care workers and first responders.
Just weeks into the pandemic, President Robin L. Garrell drew this pastel image called COVID Sisyphys, which was later chosen to grace the cover of the political science journal Polity. Garrell explained that it “explores how individuals experience isolation and confront challenges that feel insurmountable.”
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