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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.

    

Seeking Inspiration from Historical Role Models to fight COVID-19

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.

Giulia Palermo, University of California, Riverside & member of the BPS Committee for Professional Opportunities for Women (CPOW)

Riverside, California, United States

In the last weeks, we have been experiencing an unprecedented phenomena triggered by the outbreak of COVID-19, which is severely infecting the world population, with many victims in my native land, Italy.   

As scientists in this difficult time, we have to teach and pursue research from home, far from our beloved lab, to preserve public health and avoid the spread of COVID-19. We are transitioning to smart working, facing many challenges. This difficult time requires an effort in increasing our motivation for science, to keep going and continue being passionate about biophysics. As the PI of my lab, I am being positive and I am trying to stay close to my students through daily Skype sessions and chatting very frequently. I feel very fortunate because my lab is responding very well to this emergency. My students and post-docs are tremendously motivated to do well and to drive their future and I feel very proud of them. I know however that if this time will be prolonged, it might be difficult for them to stay updated. 

In my effort of inspiring them, I though about Rita Levi-Montalcini, a brilliant female Nobel laureate, honoured for her work in neurobiology. During the Second World War, after being bombed in Turin, she reconstructed her lab in a small refuge in the Asti hills, because she did not want to interrupt her research. And it was there when she had the idea to study the nervous system in chicken embryos, which she later on investigated at Washinghton University in St. Louis. She is certainly an amazing role model and has been a fantastic mentor for women in science. 

This unique example of dedication to science should inspire us and be in our mind an example to follow in difficult times. Of course we are much more lucky than Rita Levi-Montalcini. We have the support of the University and of very professional staff members, which is helping us in dealing with the difficulty of staying away from our lab. But if we think of what she did in her very difficult historical moment, this example can inspire us to face any challenge arising from remote work. 

 

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