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Posts tagged as “COVID-19”

LSS 101: Developing a New SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine; Expression of Host Cell Genes That Modulate SARS-CoV-2 Entry

In today’s episode, we continue our series of interviews with scientists who have decided to use their expertise in their respective fields to help further research into the biology of SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

First off, you’ll hear Esther Racoosin’s interview of Dr. Matthew DeLisa, a Professor of Engineering at Cornell University.  For 4 years, his laboratory has been using bacterial Outer Membrane Vesicle (OMV) technology to develop a universal influenza vaccine. Recently, DeLisa’s lab has been using that to design a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

To learn more about Dr. DeLisa’s research, visit


In today’s second interview, Esther speaks with Dr. Cedric Feschotte, Professor in the Cornell Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.  Researchers in Dr. Feschotte’s lab study how mobile DNA elements, such as transposons and endogenous viruses move around in genomes. 

Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he and post-doctoral fellow Dr. Manu Singh and Dr. Vikas Bansal of the Max Planck Institute in Tubingen, Germany, began study studying host cell expression of genes called SCARFs.  That acronym stands for SARS CoV-2 and Coronavirus-Associated Receptors and factors.   SCARFs include cellular factors both facilitating and restricting viral entry.

To learn more about SCARFs, visit

To find out more about research in Dr. Feschotte’s lab, visit

Producer: Liz Mahood

Associate Producer: Esther Racoosin

Interviews of Dr. Matt DeLisa and Dr. Cedric Feschotte: Esther Racoosin

Music: Joe Lewis; Blue Dot Sessions

LSS 100: How Humans Perceive the Risk of Contracting COVID-19; Feline Coronaviruses

MTA Deploys PPE Vending Machines Across Subway System
(photo courtesy of Creative Commons; MTA Photos; CC by 2.0)

In today’s episode, we explore how people perceive the risk of contracting COVID-19. We also discuss how humans can avoid passing COVID-19 to their beloved cat companions.

First off, you’ll hear Candice Limper’s interview of Cornell Professor Dr. Katherine McComas. She is a Professor of Communications in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and studies how people communicate about health, science, and environmental risks.

Dr. Alison Stout (photo courtesy of Dr. Stout)

In the second half of today’s show, you’ll hear Candice Limper’s interview of Dr Alison Stout, a veterinarian who is pursuing her Ph.D. in Virology. She is a student in Dr. Gary Whittaker’s lab in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. In the interview, Dr. Stout talks about her research on feline coronaviruses and how humans can avoid passing SARS CoV-2 to their pets.

Producer: Liz Mahood

Associate Producer: Esther Racoosin

Interviews of Dr. McComas and Dr. Stout: Candice Limper

Music: Blue Dot Sessions

LSS 94: Research Inspired by the COVID-19 Pandemic

In today’s episode, we interview scientists about new areas of research and exploration that were initiated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Jennifer Surtees (photo courtesy of Dr. Surtees)

First off, Janani Hariharan interviews Dr. Jennifer Surtees, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University at Buffalo, and Co-Director of UB’s Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence. Dr. Surtees recently sequenced dozens of SARS-CoV-2 isolates, obtained from the Erie County Department of Public Health.

During the interview, Surtees discusses how the SARS-CoV-2 RNA sequences reveal the geographical origins of the different viral isolates. You can hear about what SARS-CoV-2 genomes look like, how genomics can inform public health guidelines, and how to access a public database that contains information on SARS-CoV-2 strains from around the world.

To learn more about Dr. Surtees’ research, go to

Dr. Jason Guss (photo courtesy of Dr. Guss)

Later in the show, Esther Racoosin speaks with Dr. Jason Guss, a former graduate student of the Cornell Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering. Guss, together with fellow Cornell alum Dr. Apoorva Kiran, established Iterate Labs.

Iterate Labs initially developed wearable devices that could improve workplace ergonomic safety.  Now the devices are being modified to provide location awareness to prevent spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus in manufacturing workplaces. They also facilitate contact tracing when and if a worker contracts the virus. To learn more, visit

Today’s show concludes with an overview of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability new rapid-response grants that are funding a variety of COVID-19-related Cornell research projects. To learn more, visit


Producer: Liz Mahood

Co-Producer: Esther Racoosin

Interview of Dr. Jennifer Surtees: Janani Harihanan

Interview of Dr. Jason Guss: Esther Racoosin

Overview of Cornell Atkinson Center COVID-19 grants: Candice Limper

Music: Joe Lewis; Blue Dot Sessions

LSS 93: Research Amid COVID-19

Dr. Kaylin Ratner (photo courtesy of Dr. Ratner)

In today’s show, we speak with a scientist whose research was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also talk with a researcher who is using social media as outreach for scientists and the public who would like to learn more about microbial biology.

First, Jeff Pea interviews Dr. Kaylin Ratner, a recent PhD graduate in the Cornell College of Human Ecology. They discuss her study following a cohort of Cornell undergraduates that began their studies in 2016. She planned to survey the cohort at the end of their senior year, but these plans were altered after Cornell closed its campus due to the COVID-19 shutdown. One of her published studies can be found here

Dr. Ana Maria Porras (photo courtesy of Dr. Porras)

Later in the show, you’ll hear Smaranda Sandu’s interview of Dr. Ana Maria Porras. Dr. Porras is a Cornell Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, and a researcher in Dr. Ilana Brito’s laboratory in the Cornell Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering.

In the interview, Dr. Ana Maria Porras discusses her research on the gut microbiome. She also speaks about her use of social media as a way to promote science. Porras serves as a AAAS If/Then ambassador, which is a program that encourages young women to enter STEM fields (

This interview initially aired on Sandu’s podcast, “Tidbits of Research” (

Producer: Liz Mahood

Interview of Dr. Kaylin Ratner: Jeff Pea

Interview of Dr. Ana Maria Porras: Smaranda Sandu

Music: Joe Lewis, Blue Dot Sessions