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COVID-19: Science, Stories, and Resources

Member Perspectives

As people around the world are affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Biophysical Society is sharing stories from members about how their lives and research have been impacted.

    

How COVID-19 is Affecting Students: University of Lethbridge & University of Montana Student Chapter

As people around the world are affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Biophysical Society is sharing stories from members about how their lives and research have been impacted. 

Tyler Mrozowich, Corey Nelson, and Trushar Patel, University of Lethbridge

Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

The recent coronavirus (a.k.a. COVID-19) pandemic has been an adjustment for those of us involved with wet-laboratory-based research at the University of Lethbridge. The university is closed and only essential personnel has been allowed access for research work (e.g. researchers working with COVID-19 work, researchers finishing up long-term experiments, and individuals in charge of animal care facilities). Thus, for the most part, as graduate students, we have had to find ways to utilize our time productively. Within our group, the graduate students and postdoctoral researchers have an idea of what being productive away from the lab means, since most of us have upcoming presentations, committee meetings, comprehensive and PhD transfer exams, catching up with literature, and designing new experiments. Another excellent use of our time has come from writing review articles. The vast research that goes into writing a review article is a fantastic opportunity for graduate students to develop their knowledge. We suspect that in the coming months we will see a very large influx of new review articles from researchers across the globe. We find it extremely important to maintain regular contact with everyone in the lab. Lab meetings still occur at the same time, albeit over Zoom, and there is a strong encouragement to have a webcam, which we feel is very important. Social isolation affects everyone differently, and there is a stronger feeling of being connected when you can visually interact with your colleagues rather than just over audio. A steady contact through a group chat also seems to be a great way to stay connected, whether to discuss research-related topics or just goofing off and trying to get a laugh, making sure everyone still feels like they are a part of a group. We strongly believe that, while everyone is working on their individual projects, we are still a team, and although it has been a few weeks since we have seen each other in person, we are all still connected.

Our chapter had planned to hold an event with local schools for Biophysics Week. It is disappointing that the event had to be canceled, as we were looking forward to the opportunity to interact with the community. When the conditions improve, our chapter will look to introduce the community to the world of biophysics.

One of our more “unique” methods of coping with this social isolation has come from Dr. Trushar Patel and Dr. Borries Demeler who together host “Zoom Pub” each Friday at 5:00 pm. This is a social gathering organized over Zoom, where we can come to see everyone, chat, share a laugh, and indulge in a beverage of choice. Everyone is encouraged to join, from undergrads through to department chairs (and we have had the pleasure of having all of them participate). So far, everyone has enjoyed getting together and having a laugh, and we plan to continue the Zoom Pub tradition throughout the quarantine. It is important to try to have a semblance of normal day-to-day activities during this unprecedented time.

With that being said, we would like to send our gratitude to all healthcare professionals working tirelessly to provide medical care to millions in need, as well as all employees of essential services who are continuing their operations to provide for the needs of communities. From grocery store workers to delivery workers, waste management to essential service providers and everyone else. It is important to remember that we are all in this together, and we will get through this together…. well, not too close together, at least 6 feet apart. 

 

Would you like to share your experience in this difficult and uncertain time? Email your perspective to [email protected]



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COVID-19: Science, Stories, and Resources

Header Image Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS