By Jackie Curnick, Staff Council Communications Committee
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many questions and challenges, and also opportunities for faculty and staff researchers to use their expertise and put forth solutions. At the University of Iowa, members of the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC) have been providing critical research and resources throughout the pandemic.
Some examples of this research include the work of Dr. Patrick O’Shaughnessy, who investigated disinfection methods for N95 masks so that the masks could be re-used in the absence of a steady supply. Dr. O’Shaughnessy also collaborated with Dr. Peter Thorne, and (P&S staff member) lab manager Dr. Xuefang Jing, and researchers from the Veterans Administration to evaluate the performance of 3D printed respirators. Using the Exposure Science Facility, the team is testing the efficiency of the material to capture particles and comparing these rates to the standard N95 masks.
Other EHSRC members have supported vulnerable communities and provided critical resources. Dr. Kelly Baker contributed to the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub, which is a free service that supports low and middle income countries to implement hygiene interventions that can slow the spread of the virus. And Dr Renee Anthony, Director of the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, provides practical information to farmers about preventing the spread of COVID-19 while being able to continue work. Dr. Anthony also served as an advisor for the University of Iowa COVID-19 planning team.
For more information about the work of EHSRC members in relation to COVID-19 visit https://ehsrc.public-health.uiowa.edu/covid-19/