Covid Information Commons: Lightning Talks (July 2021)


On Friday, July 16th, 2021, five researchers studying a wide range of topics on the global pandemic presented their work as part of the ongoing COVID-19 Research Webinar series organized through the COVID Information Commons (CIC). The COVID Information Commons is an NSF-funded project organized by the Big Data Innovation Hubs, led by the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub at Columbia University.

Each speaker shared their unique insights and research results with our community. This month’s event featured Prof. Babatunde A. Ogunnaike of the University of Delaware, Prof. Eugene T. Richardson of Harvard Medical School, Prof. Liqi Alex Lai of Cornell University, Prof. Marc Riedel of the University of Minnesota, and Aditya Kulkarni who is a student at the University of Minnesota. Aditya was the 3rd place winner in the inaugural CIC Student Paper Challenge competition, and you can read further about his research on our website. Their research topics were diverse, touching on, for example: predictive modeling and optimal control frameworks, the social epidemiology of COVID-19, the effect of calcium dependence on SARS-CoV-2 fusion peptides, computer analysis of immune responses to viral infections, and human mobility patterns related to COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Each researcher’s presentation highlighted the insights gained from their NSF- or NIH-funded research and illustrated the importance of interdisciplinary efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Videos of each Lightning Talk are available on the CIC website. A full recording of the webinar is also available on the CIC website. 

The webinar concluded with a Q&A session where the researchers answered questions from members of our community. We would like to express thanks to our audience for participating in this webinar and for asking insightful questions on the research topics discussed. 


The next CIC COVID-19 Research Webinar will be held on Wednesday, August 18th from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. (EST). Register to attend the August webinar and hear about other NSF- and NIH-funded research projects concerning COVID-19. 

Speaker Lineup for the August CIC Webinar:

Zhenlong Li, University of South Carolina: Monitoring the Spatial Spread of COVID-19 through the Lens of Human Movement using Big Social Media Data. Funded by NSF Engineering / Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.

Samson Qian, University of California, San Diego: Generating Explanations for Chest Medical Scan Pneumonia Predictions. COVID Information Commons Undergraduate Student Paper Challenge 2nd Place Winner.

Deborah Salon, Arizona State University: Investigating Attitudinal and Behavioral Changes in US Households Before, During, and After the COVID-19 Pandemic. Funded by NSF Engineering / Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.

Sarah T. Stahl, University of Pittsburgh: Efficacy of a Healthy Lifestyle Intervention to Prevent Depression in Older Spousally-bereaved Adults-Supplement. Funded by NIH / Office of the Director and NIA – National Institute on Aging.

Massood Tabib-Azar, The University of Utah: Colorimetric COVID-19 Detection Using Aptamers. Funded by NSF Engineering / Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems.

Ali Vahdati, East Carolina University: A Computational Model for Multiscale Investigation of Regional Lung Dynamics. Funded by NSF Engineering / Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.


How else can you stay in touch with the CIC Community and receive updates about future events or opportunities?

Email us at info@covidinfocommons.net and let us know what you’re interested in hearing about next!