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Across the world, scientific laboratories are ramping down in the face of COVID-19. At Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute, some brain scientists are pivoting from their own research and launching new efforts to combat the novel coronavirus. "Lab in the Time of Coronavirus" explores these projects and the daily lives of the researchers behind them.
May 13, 2020 @ 11:42 am

Making a COVID-19 Home Test


As America loosens its COVID-19 restrictions, many worry that a second wave of the virus will emerge. To avoid this scenario, scientists around the country are developing new coronavirus tests. Being able to track who is infected, before symptoms emerge, could help to curb transmission of the virus and keep infection rates under control.


At Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute, a group led by scientist Andrés Bendesky is coming together to develop a home test: one that we could use to check ourselves once a week or even every day. The researchers behind the test, which has shown promise in the laboratory, plan to try it out at the Zuckerman Institute. Their work could help to keep people safe as the Institute and the nation ramp up activities.

May 7, 2020 @ 10:07 am

Research, Going Viral


In the midst of the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, a new forum has emerged that brings together leading researchers, physicians and scholars from across the world. Every week, they’re sharing the latest research with a speed and openness unthinkable before the virus: at Columbia’s weekly Virtual COVID-19 Symposium.

What are U.S. physicians learning from doctors in Italy? How can scientists develop treatments that keep up with the virus’ ability to mutate? What do we know about keeping healthcare workers healthy? How are people spending their money during the pandemic? Tune in to this week’s episode of Lab in the Time of Coronavirus to learn about this unique gathering, the questions it tackles and the collaborations it fosters.


April 29, 2020 @ 12:30 pm

Scientists, Mobilized


How did a young Columbia researcher organize hundreds of young scientists to combat coronavirus in a matter of days? It all started with a call for help sterilizing hospital masks. The overwhelming response he received laid the foundations for a veritable army of volunteers, called Columbia Researchers Against COVID-19 (CRAC). 


This episode of Lab in the Time of Coronavirus follows the evolution of CRAC and introduces some of the many projects supported by this grassroots organization – from making use of its members’ scientific expertise to catalogue COVID samples for research studies, to drawing on their enthusiasm to wash scrubs and keep healthcare workers safe.

April 22, 2020 @ 12:24 pm

Virus Blocker


Crisis is the mother of invention. In response to the COVID-19, smart minds across the world are creating new healthcare devices and innovations that may outlast the pandemic itself.

This episode of Lab in the Time of Coronavirus explores a new piece of equipment designed to protect doctors during procedures that help patients breathe: a COVID-proof box that shields against the virus, and filters infected air to trap virus particles. Working hand-in-hand with doctors, a team of scientists and engineers developed the device at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute — and in makeshift workspaces set up in their homes. Together, they hope it will guard healthcare workers against viruses and other infectious agents even after the current crisis has ended.

April 13, 2020 @ 6:02 pm

Facing the Crisis


A team of young brain researchers. A laboratory workspace turned into a factory. 3D printing face shield parts to keep healthcare workers safe.

Lab in the Time of Coronavirus
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