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Rochester biologists selected for ‘rapid research’ on COVID-19

National high priority program funds two projects to better understand how coronavirus interacts with proteins in human cells.

Two members of the University of Rochester’s Department of Biology have received expedited funding awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study biological processes involved in COVID-19.

As labs reopen across the University, Dragony Fu, an assistant professor of biology, and Jack Werren, the Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Professor of Biology, will apply their expertise in cellular and evolutionary biology to research proteins involved in infections from COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The funding is part of the NSF’s Rapid Response Research (RAPID) program to mobilize funding for high priority projects.

“At this point, combating this pandemic is an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ situation,” says Elaine Sia, professor and chair of biology. “Researchers in the biology department at the University, like biologists everywhere, have been learning all we can about the SARS-CoV2 virus.”

By better understanding the specific biological mechanisms and proteins involved in COVID-19 infection, scientists will better be able to develop effective treatments and vaccines to fight the disease.

Learn more about Dr. Fu and Dr. Werren’s NSF-funded Covid-19 research projects.

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