The closure of Bergen Community College’s STEM Student Research Center during the pandemic did not stop a group of biology students from conducting research. Their topic? The very thing that prevented their on-campus work: COVID-19.
The scientific community took notice, publishing their article, “Microbiology of COVID-19: Chronicle of an Announced Pandemic,” in American Pharmaceutical Review, a leading pharmaceutical industry review journal for business and technology.
Under the supervision of Bergen biology professor Dr. Luis Jimenez, students Anna Maciejewska, Brittany Cardona, Yara Abazah, Hadassah Haricha and Tae Min Kim conducted research on COVID-19 by comparing the current pandemic with other human coronaviruses to understand the differences and similarities leading to possible therapeutic treatments. Students identified two key findings: higher temperatures did not stop the spread of the virus during the summer months and best practices such as social distancing and mask usage slowed increases in COVID-19 cases.
“The students demonstrated an amazing capacity to adapt to the challenging educational environment by using computer technology and other analytical tools to understand the microbiology of the current pandemic and ascertain the epidemiology of COVID-19 in New Jersey and around the world,” Jimenez said.
The students not only appreciated Jimenez’s guidance, but the opportunity to have their work published in a peer-reviewed journal that may influence public health.
“It is a huge honor for me to be able to work on this project and see it published,” Abazah said. “I hope that our research can inform and help.”
Another, Maciejewska, called the research and its publishing “my own definition of living the American Dream.”
Read the research here.
Grant funding by the National Science Foundation has supported research opportunities at Bergen Community College.