/ Modified apr 21, 2020 2:07 p.m.

UA faculty share expertise, ideas in COVID-19 research group

They aim to help bolster ongoing efforts to flatten the curve and improve future responses to pandemics.

Not long after the University of Arizona closed its campus, faculty tapped into their various expertise to see how they could help bolster state and local efforts to flatten the curve. It led to the creation of the COVID-19 Research Coordination Group that now includes more than 100 members from all areas of study on campus.

“We have faculty from the law school, and the business school, and engineering and the medical campus all talking together,” Elizabeth Cantwell said.

Cantwell leads the university’s office for Research, Innovation and Impact. She explained that some of the group’s ideas in action have included looking into how to 3D print hospital masks and other personal protective equipment. The UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health also produced a video for first responders about how they can protect themselves from exposure to the virus.

Cantwell said the group’s response to the current pandemic establishes a crucial network that can activate when the next crisis occurs.

“We all think that this is not the last pandemic the globe will see. The reason you have large research universities that are state funded is so that when we have real challenges, when our resilience in one way or another is challenged, we can reach in and bring those capacities to the fore,” Cantwell said.

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