MSI PIs Active in Fight Against COVID-19


From the beginning, researchers at the University of Minnesota have been active in the effort to understand and fight SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Many have stepped out of their customary research areas in order to solve problems related to the coronavirus. Several of these researchers, including MSI PIs, are featured in a story in the Fall 2020 issue of the U of M Foundation’s Discovery magazine: ‘The Audacity to Do Something.'

MSI PIs featured in the story:

  • Jakub Tolar (Dean, Medical School; VP, Clinical Affairs; professor, Pediatrics) realized very early that the pandemic was something we hadn’t seen before and that the U of M would need to start work immediately to fight it. Dean Tolar uses MSI resources to analyze RNA-seq data as part of his research into Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa, a serious genetic disorder that causes the skin to be extremely fragile.
  • Mark Osborn (assistant professor, Pediatrics; Masonic Cancer Center) is developing a test for COVID-19 that is fast, requires no specialized equipment, and can identify different strains of the virus. Professor Osborn uses MSI for research that supports the development of therapeutics for genetic disorders.
  • David Odde (professor, Biomedical Engineering; Masonic Cancer Center) creates computer models in order to understand basic cellular processes, such as cell division, polarization, degeneration, and migration. He is using these modeling techniques to predict which drugs might be most effective against COVID-19.