Researchers studying COVID-19 share insights at first COVID Information Commons Community webinar

“Your site and the ability to come together is marvelous. I thank you especially for thinking about this and bringing us together.  People will be able to use your site as a proper, safe, true information source.” —Nora Garza

Researchers, students, and leaders from government, industry, and nonprofits convened on September 16, 2020 for the first monthly webinar for the COVID Information Commons Community. The COVID Information Commons (CIC) is a platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration across COVID research efforts. NSF Rapid Response Research investigators Erick Jones (University of Texas at Arlington), Howard Stone (Princeton University), Michael Pazzani (University of California San Diego), Albert Hsiao (University of California San Diego), Sirish Namilae (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University), Dominique Duncan (University of Southern California), Debbie Kim (University of Chicago), Nora Garza (Laredo College), Gabriela Solis-Cavazos (Laredo College), and Ajitesh Srivastava (University of Southern California) presented five-minute lightning talks on their research examining different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the many research questions and findings discussed, attendees learned about optimizing the supply chain to increase the accessibility of COVID-19 therapies for underserved urban communities, quantifying factors that impact particle transmission through speech and breathing, evaluating the impact of remote learning on STEM education, and modeling the progress of the pandemic to inform resource allocation.

Although the topics varied, it was clear that the researchers and attendees shared a common goal: advancing scientific discovery to support communities given the wide-ranging implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the webinar, researchers answered attendees’ questions and provided links to their published fundings, and several attendees proposed partnership opportunities. 

At the end of the webinar, Nora Garza, VP for Resource Development at Laredo College and PI on RAPID award “Using Real Life COVID-19 data to teach quantitative reasoning skills to undergraduate Hispanic STEM students,” commented, “Your [the CIC] site and the ability to come together is marvelous…our students and our faculty and others will begin to find these collaborative opportunities…so thank you for bringing us together…people will be able to use your site as a proper, safe, true information source.”

The next CIC lightning talks and Q&A webinar will be held on Friday, October 16, 2020, 12:00-1:00 PM ET. The featured researchers will present on topics including the decontamination of n95 masks, the effects of social isolation on older adults, and best practices for sharing data on patients with COVID-19. Register for the October webinar, sign up for the CIC mailing list, and join the CIC Slack channel to keep up-to-date with upcoming events and opportunities and engage with the COVID Information Commons community.