Researchers across the University of Arizona are answering the call to provide answers and aid.

Press Kit

How can we prevent and control the spread of a novel virus?

The virus now known as SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in Wuhan, China, in mid-November of 2019. Since then, the global death toll as a result of COVID-19, caused by this virus, continues to climb. As the world faces this unprecedented and dynamic viral pandemic, researchers across more than a dozen University of Arizona colleges are answering the call to provide answers and aid.

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James C Alwine, Ph.D.

Visiting Professor Immunobiology

Expertise: All aspects of virology

Dr. Alwine’s is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Immunobiology at UA, and an Emeritus Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  After 38 years at the University of Pennsylvania he retired to Tucson.  During his research career he studied polyoma viruses, HIV and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV).  He has studied all aspects of virus-host interactions including transcriptional activation by viral proteins, analyzed viral RNA processing particularly polyadenylation signals and how they functioned.  During the latter prt of his career he focused his research on understanding the means by which viruses alter cellular signaling, especially stress signaling, and modify cellular metabolism.  He was been among the first to study: how HCMV alters the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway to resist inhibition by cellular stress; how HCMV alters the signaling pathways of the unfolded protein response for the advantage of the viral infection; and how HCMV utilizes these events to alter cellular metabolism.  With over 40 years of experience he provides a very broad knowledge of virology.

Deepta Bhattacharya, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Immunobiology

Expertise: Immune responses to vaccines and infections

Deepta Bhattacharya received his Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Indiana University. He earned his Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology and immunology from the University of California, Berkeley. For his postdoctoral fellowship, he trained at Stanford University studying stem cell biology. In 2008, he began his own lab at Washington University in St. Louis, first as an Assistant Professor and then as a tenured Associate Professor.  Dr. Bhattacharya returned in 2017 to his birthplace of Tucson to join the Department of Immunobiology, where his lab continues to study both stem cells and antibody responses to infections and vaccines. Dr. Bhattacharya has received numerous honors, including the New York Stem Cell Foundation-Robertson Investigator award and American Cancer Society Research Scholar award. His lab is currently funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Monica Casper, Ph.D.

Professor, Gender and Women's Studies
Public Health
Associate Dean, SBS

Expertise: Sociology of health and illness; trauma studies, women's health and reproduction; disability studies; environmental studies; health disparities; gender-based violence; critical animal studies

Monica J. Casper, Ph.D. is Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Inclusion in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Public Health at the University of Arizona. She is also an affiliated faculty member in the School of Sociology and in Africana Studies, and is co-founder of the UA Consortium on Gender-Based Violence. She has published several books, including the award-winning The Making of the Unborn Patient: A Social Anatomy of Fetal Surgery; The Body: Social and Cultural Dissections; and Critical Trauma Studies: Understanding Violence, Conflict, and Memory in Everyday Life. Her current research focuses on biopolitics of infant mortality and maternal health; traumatic brain injury; and global politics of elephant trauma and rescue. She is founding co-editor of the successful NYU Press book series “Biopolitics: Medicine, Technoscience, and Health in the 21st Century” and founding co-editor of the newly launched UA Press Book Series, “The Feminist Wire Books: Connecting Feminisms, Race, and Social Justice,” as well as a managing editor of The Feminist Wire and publisher of TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism. She is a prolific creative writer with publications in numerous literary journals.
More information can be found at

George Frisvold, Ph.D.

Professor, Agricultural & Resource Economics

Expertise: Regional Economic Development, International Trade, Environmental Economics, Economics of Water

George Frisvold received his bachelors and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining the University of Arizona in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in 1997, he was a Visiting Research Scholar at India’s National Institute of Rural Development, a Lecturer at The Johns Hopkins University, and Chief of the Resource Policy Branch at USDA’s Economic Research Service.  From 1995-6 he served as a Senior Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisors with responsibility for agricultural, natural resource, and international issues.  He is currently an associate editor for the journals Water Economics and Policy and Pest Management Science.   Among topics he has covered over the past 10 years in his Economics of Policy Analysis course at the University of Arizona, is the economics of invasive species and pandemic disease control.

Charles P. Gerba, Ph.D.

Professor of Environmental Microbiology, Dept. of Environmental Science

Expertise: Environmental transmission of coronaviruses; Testing of new disinfectants against conravirues; moleding the spread of infectious agents in indoor environments 

Chuck Gerba is a professor in the Departments Environmental Science (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences); Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Environmental and Community Health (College of Public Health) at the University of Arizona. He obtained his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Miami, Florida and was a faculty member in the Department of Virology and Epidemiology at Baylor College of Medicine from 1974 to 1981. He conducts research on the transmission of pathogens by water, food and indoor and domestic environments. He has been an author on more than 600 articles including several books in environmental microbiology and risk assessment. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Water Association. 

Felicia Goodrum, Ph.D.

Professor of Immunobiology

Expertise: Virology

I earned my Ph.D. from Wake Forest University and then completed my postdoctoral training at Princeton University. I joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 2006 and I am currently a Professor of Immunobiology. My work in viral persistence has been recognized by a Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences award and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. I am a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. I was elected the 2021 President of the American Society of Virology. In addition to research and teaching at the University of Arizona, I am passionate about scientific outreach and write opinion editorials on science, education and society.

Michael Grandner, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Expertise: Sleep

Dr. Grandner is a licensed Clinical Psychologist certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Director of the Sleep and Health Research Program, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, Medicine, Nutritional Sciences, and Clinical Translational Science at the University of Arizona. His clinical work focuses on non-medication treatments for sleep disorders. His research examines the relationship between sleep and obesity, diabetes, heart disease, daytime functioning, and longevity. His work has received awards from the Sleep Research Society, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American Heart Association, and other organizations. He is author or co-author on over 150 academic publications. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and the mental health task force for the NCAA. He is a frequent consultant and speaker on the issue of sleep health and has been invited multiple times to the National Institutes of Health and the US Congress to discuss the role of sleep in health and functioning. Dr. Grandner’s work has been featured in television, radio, and print media, in over 50 countries

George W. Hammond, Ph.D.

Director and Research Professor, Economic and Business Research Center, Eller College of Management

Expertise: Economics, Economics of Arizona, Phoenix, and Tucson, Forecasting

George W. Hammond is director of the Economic and Business Research Center in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. He has decades of experience analyzing and forecasting state and local economies. His analysis has significant influence, reaching over one thousand decision makers each year through conferences, publications, and press contacts. These have included NBC Nightly News, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Bloomburg BusinessWeek, the New York Times, and local media.

David T Harris, Ph.D.

Director, UAHS Biorespository

Expertise: Biobanking, Biospecimen collection and Testing

Dr. Harris is a graduate of Wake Forest University where he obtained BS in Biology, Mathematics and Psychology.  He earned his Doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology in 1982.  In 1989 Dr. Harris joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in the Department of Immunology.  Dr. Harris established the first cord blood bank in 1992.  He currently serves as the Executive Director of the University of Arizona Biorepository, as well as Director of Quality at the GMP Laboratory.  His research interests include stem cells and regenerative medicine. 

Rain Liu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor/ Dept. of Communication

Expertise: Persuasion and social influence; health and risk communication; environment communication

Rain Wuyu Liu is an Assistant Professor of Communication. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Southwest University in China, she came to the U.S. and received her M.A. in Public Relations from the University of Miami (2012) and her Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University (2017). Rain’s research interests span the areas of persuasion, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, and social influence. Specifically, her research focuses on the impacts of social norm messages on health and environment information processing, attitude change, and health and conservation behavior promotion. She is also interested in the interplay between cultural values and beliefs with the social normative influence in shaping individuals’ attitudes and behaviors. Her other research interests include research methods and statistics, strategic communication, and campaign designing. Rain has extensive experience of working on grant-funded research projects, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) project conducted among Tibetan herders in Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Other projects were funded by agencies such as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research. Her publications have appeared in journals such as Environmental Communication, Communication Studies, Intercultural Communication Studies, New Media and Society, American Behavioral Social Scientist, Sustainability, and Computers in Human Behavior.

Douglas A. Loy, Ph.D.

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering & Chemistry and Biochemistry

Expertise: Polymer Science, 3D printing

Currently a Professor with a split appointment with the departments of Materials Science & Engineering and Chemistry & Biochemistry, Doug is a fifth generation Arizonan and alumni of the University of Arizona (BS in Chemistry, 1983).  He received a Masters in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University in 1986 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California, Irvine in 1991.   He subsequently joined Sandia National Laboratories, becoming a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff before moving to Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2003 where he led the Polymer and Nanomaterials Synthesis Team in the Polymer and Coatings Group.   In 2005, he joined the faculty at the University of Arizona where he has continued investigating fundamental and unconventional sol-gel chemistries, synthesis of new polyarylenes by Diels-Alder polymerizations for gas separations and fuel cell electrolytes, tetrazine polymer chemistry, new materials for energy storage, and 3D printing of polymers, thermosets, glass and semiconductors.  He is a member of BIO5, Arizona Center for Accelerated BioMedical Innovation Fellow, and the 2017 Inventor of the Year in Physical Sciences at the U of A. He is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications and proceedings, 7 book chapters, 60 conference proceedings, and 16 patents.

Matthias Mehl, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology

Expertise: Social Interactions, Wellbeing, and Health

Matthias Mehl is a social and personality psychologist with interest in the conceptualization and measurement of how social processes affect health and wellbeing. Methodologically, he uses research methods for studying daily life and has helped pioneer novel methods of real-world data collection. One of these methods involves the unobtrusive sampling of ambient sounds via a mobile recording device called the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR). He has extensively published and given workshops on real-world psychological research methods and co-edited the Handbook of Research Methods for Studying Daily Life. He is a tenured Full Professor of Psychology at the University of Arizona where he also holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Communication, the Division of Family Studies and Human Development, the Arizona Cancer Center, and the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute. His research has been funded, among other sources, by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, and the Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity (IARPA). He is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. 

Krishna Muralidharan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

Expertise: Additive manufacturing and 3D printing, computational materials engineering

Krishna Muralidharan is a faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and co-directs the Additive Manufacturing Initiative at the University of Arizona. He leads and manages multiple funded projects at the intersection of manufacturing, 3D-printing, defense, energy, space science and materials science.

Janko Nikolich-Zugich, M.D., Ph.D.

Bowman Professor and Head, Department of Immunobiology
Co-Director, University of Arizona Center on Aging
University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson

Expertise: Immunobiology & Gerontology

Bowman Professor and Head, Department of Immunobiology and Co-Director, Center on Aging
University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona

Dr. Nikolich-Zugich is internationally recognized as a leading immunologist and gerontologist. He received his M.D., MSc and Ph.D. in Immunology from Belgrade University.  1987-1990, Research Associate, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, laboratory of Dr.M.J. Bevan, FRS, NAS, HHMI. 1990-2001, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY - Assistant&Associate Member,  Concurrently, Assistant (1990-1996) and Associate Professor (1996-2001), Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences. 2001-2008, Professor and Senior Scientist, OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute; 2008-present, Bowman Professor and Head, University of Arizona Department of Immunobiology and the Arizona Center on Aging (co-Director).  Chair of the Board and CEO, American Aging Association, Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association.

Dr Nikolich investigates, in mouse and human models: (i) basic mechanisms of immunity and how these mechanisms decline and deteriorate with age to erode protective immunity against infection; (ii) how persistent infections such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), modulate immunity and healthspan with aging; (iii) how we can devise methods to correct or ameliorate immune dysfunction by means of new vaccines, immunomodulatory and metabolic intervention and/or immune rejuvenation; and (iv) whether and how different longevity extension treatments can improve function of the immune system while still providing longevity/healthspan benefit. 

Sairam Parthasarathy, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine

Expertise: Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine

Sairam Parthasarathy, M.D. serves as the Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine; Director, Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences, UA Health Sciences; Medical Director, Center for Sleep Disorders, Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. He is a NIH- and PCORI-funded researcher with interest in noninvasive ventilation in the home and the study of sleep in critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilation. He has previously served as Chairperson of the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board and Sleep Research Network. He has recently served as a Special Advisor to the NIH/NHLBI in the lung division and is currently on the editorial board of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 

Christopher Robertson J.D., Ph.D.

Associate Dean, College of Law

Expertise: Law, bioethics, and policy, including insurance, quarantine, FDA, rationing, human subjects research

Christopher Robertson is Associate Dean for Research and Innovation, Professor of Law, and founder of the Regulatory Science Program at the University of Arizona. He is affiliated faculty with the Petrie Flom Center at Harvard, the NYU Langone Health Working Group on Compassionate Use and Pre-Approval Access (CUPA), and the Uniform Law Commission. He is cofounder of Hugo Analytics, which provides data-driven insights into jury behavior. Robertson's more than 50 articles have been published in leading outlets from the New England Journal of Medicine to the Journal of Legal Analysis, and featured in the national media such as Wall Street Journal, NBC News, NPR, STAT, and the Washington Post. Robertson has co-edited two books, Nudging Health: Behavioral Economics and Health Law (2016) and Blinding as a Solution to Bias: Strengthening Biomedical Science, Forensic Science, and Law (2016). In 2019 Harvard University Press published his book, Exposed: Why our Health Insurance is Incomplete and What Can Be Done About It. Robertson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, and earned a doctorate in Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis.

David A. Sbarra, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology, Director of the Laboratory for Social Connectedness and Health

Expertise: Close relationships and health, divorce, loneliness, psychological consequences of social isolation; stress physiology and stress management

David Sbarra is a professor of psychology and licensed clinical psychologist. At UArizona he directs the Laboratory for Social Connectedness and Health and has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers on the topics of relationships and health, divorce, and the physical health correlates/consequences of psychological stress.

Armin Sorooshian, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Professor, Global Change Graduate Interdisciplinary Program
Professor of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
Professor of Public Health
Professor of Optical Sciences
University Distinguished Scholar in Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Armin received a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona (2003) and a Ph.D in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology (2008). He completed a postdoc with the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), which involved research with Colorado State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He has been a professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Arizona since 2009, with courtesy appointments in Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, the College of Optical Sciences, and the College of Public Health. Armin is both a University Distinguished Scholar and a da Vinci Fellow.

Ryan Sprissler, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist, University of Arizona Genetics Core, Clinical Services. Founding Member, Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine

Expertise: Clinical Genetic testing, Neurogenetics

Dr. Sprissler is Lead Scientist managing the University of Arizona Genetics Core facility specializing in cutting edge genomic technology and clinical genetic testing. A founding member of the Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine, Dr. Sprissler leads and collaborates on numerous efforts to better understand the role of genetics in a vast array of disease states with a specific expertise in neurogenetics. With over 15 years of experience in genetic assay design, validation and testing Dr. Sprissler strives to translate genetic research discoveries directly to patients. He is a current member of the Association for Bioresource Facilities (ABRF), the Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA) & the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Esther Sternberg, M.D.

Andrew Weil Chair for Research in Integrative Medicine; Research Director, Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine; Director, UA Institute on Place, Wellbeing & Performance; Research Professor, Medicine (CoM) & Psychology (CoS, Dept Psychology)

Expertise: Stress & immune system; design and health; designing for wellbeing; mind-body science; place & wellbeing, sweat biomarkers

Internationally recognized pioneer in mind-body/brain-immune interactions, sweat biomarker detection, and design and health, Dr. Sternberg is Research Director, Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, Founding Director, UArizona Institute on Place, Wellbeing & Performance, Inaugural Andrew Weil Chair for Research in Integrative Medicine, and Research Professor of Medicine and Psychology. She develops and applies non-invasive devices to measure health, wellbeing and performance from molecules to environment. Her U.S. General Services Administration studies showing optimal healthy spatial layout, temperature/humidity, and sound are informing healthy building design standards. Previously, Sternberg was Senior Scientist and Section Chief at the National Institutes of Health (1986-2012). She has authored >225 scholarly articles, 2 popular books, edited 8 technical books, received the highest NIH, HHS, and FDA awards, including recognition by the National Library of Medicine as one of 339 women who “Changed the Face of Medicine;” Honorary Doctorate in Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin; member (2013-2018) and Chair (2018) NLM Board of Regents. She advised the U.S. Surgeon General; U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory; U.S. Army Research Laboratory; U.S. Green Building Council; Australian Green Building Council; Vatican, on built environment impacts on health. She received her M.D. from and trained in rheumatology at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Daniel Sullivan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Psychology

Expertise: Psychological, sociological, and political reactions to coronavirus (and other environmental hazards); stress and chronic stress

Daniel Sullivan received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Kansas in 2013. His research concerns stress and trauma in the context of environmental hazards, such as natural disasters and environmental contamination. He is the author of Cultural-Existential Psychology from Cambridge University Press, and nearly 100 scholarly articles and chapters. He is a recipient of a Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science.