CoSE faculty offer expertise to the public amid pandemic

Woman on laptop computer in a research lab
Assistant Professor of Biology Pleuni Pennings

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty members throughout the College of Science & Engineering have been offering their expertise to the public to help people understand and cope with the effects of the virus — as well as to take advantage of this challenging moment in time to produce positive change.

For those finding themselves affected mentally, Assistant Professor of Psychology Melissa Hagan provided tips for managing anxiety in SFGate, from moderating your news intake to keeping in close touch with your friends and family.

Meanwhile, Assistant Professor of Biology Pleuni Pennings has commented in several news articles about the genetics, evolution and spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including in the New York Times and LiveScience. She also weighed in on how researchers can responsibly speak about the virus in WIRED Magazine, and has along with several colleagues produced her own videos explaining the spread of COVID-19 in an easy-to-understand way.

In the same department, Professor Ravinder Seghal explained to the digital magazine Undark the impact the pandemic will have on field research around the globe. “Without the continuity of yearly monitoring of populations, we don’t have the data we need for long-term study,” he said.

And Professor of Geography & Environment Jason Henderson offered a perspective of his own in an editorial published in the San Francisco Public Press. In it, he explained how the current time presents an opportunity to reconsider transportation in the city of San Francisco in a way that’s friendlier to walkers and cyclists, as well as being more conducive to social distancing. “There has never been a more urgent or opportune time to reimagine our public streets and provide for public health,” he wrote.