Biology

Researching COVID-19 Evolution

Ursinus students join a multi-institutional interdisciplinary research team to investigate the COVID-19 virus.

The current COVID-19 pandemic resulting from the SARS-CoV-2 virus has changed our world. The virus has evolved since it first left China in late 2019/early 2020 and traveled around the world. Ursinus students Kailey Martin (’21) and Britney Dyszel (’22) joined faculty member Dr. Rebecca Roberts (Biology) to participate in a weeklong boot camp hosted by the Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine at Rutgers University. The goal is to bring together teams of interdisciplinary researchers with complementary skills and interests to investigate the virus. Carried out completely remotely, participants are interacting with experts and learning how to use various bioinformatics tools to answer pertinent research questions. All of the research is focusing on the SARS-CoV-2 main protease. The main protease is essential for viral activity and is a promising drug target. In other words, by understanding the differences in this protease structure resulting from the rapid evolution, we will be that much closer to developing an antiviral medicine to help COVID-19 patients.