PSPG Students Working on COVID-19

Some of our students have had the opportunity to work on COVID-19. See below for a snapshot of some of those efforts:

  • Kathleen Keough (Conklin/Pollard labs) is working on predicting risk to other species via comparative genomics. Preprint: Broad Host Range of SARS-CoV-2 Predicted by Comparative and Structural Analysis of ACE2 in Vertebrates.
  • Jeffrey Kim (Guo Lab) is using a zebrafish model to understand the possible connection between RAS inhibitor blood pressure medications and COVID. As COVID spreads through the RAS pathway enzyme ACE2, there are many heated debates ongoing as to whether these blood pressure medications should be continued or discontinued upon COVID infection. Because it is a commonly used blood pressure medication, the general public are also asking questions on whether it increases the risk of COVID expression. By treating RAS medications to zebrafish and conducting gene expression analysis, we can determine the effects these medications have on the pathway and what happens if these medications are discontinued.
  • Bianca Vora and Megan Koleske (Giacomini lab) are working on investigating which drugs (out of those being tested for efficacy against COVID-19 in clinical trials) cause a drug-drug or a drug-nutrient interaction by inhibiting a drug/vitamin transporter in the intestine, liver, and/or kidney. This work has important implications for COVID-19 patients who are older or suffer from another disease (i.e. cancer) and are taking medications for management of their disease/other comorbidities which could be affected by co-administration of a drug used for COVID-19 and cause adverse events or lack of efficacy (i.e. worsening of disease).
  • Jackie Ernest and Emma Hughes (Savic lab) have been involved in making dosing recommendations for repurposing drugs for COVID-19 clinical trials. Jackie and Emma are co-first authors in a paper on dose optimization for hydroxychloroquine: Optimizing Hydroxychloroquine Dosing for Patients With COVID‐19: An Integrative Modeling Approach for Effective Drug Repurposing.
  • Serena Tamura (Ahituv lab) has been volunteering at the UCSF-CZ BioHub extended clinical lab as a first response scientist for COVID19 testing since shelter in place started. She has been conducting RNA extractions from the patient swab samples, running the qPCR tests, making new test kits and managing the liquid handling robots that arrays the patient samples.
  • Mikayla Richter (Fattahi/Kroetz labs) is working on drug repurposing for covid19: Androgen Regulates SARS-CoV-2 Receptor Levels and Is Associated with Severe COVID-19 Symptoms in Men.
  • Janice Goh (Turnbaugh lab) returned home to Singapore to serve as a Volunteer Pharmacist with Singapore Healthcare Corps
  • Emily Connelly (Craik lab) is generating bsl2 cell models of sars-cov-2 replication and entry
  • Tia Tummino (Shoichet lab) is working with the QCRG (QBI Coronavirus Research Group) using Nevan Krogran's AP-MS PPI map to chemoinformatically predict drugs that can inhibit the viral hijacking of human cells. Nature: A SARS-CoV-2 protein interaction map reveals targets for drug repurposing.
  • Megan Lo (Jura/Klein lab) is working with the QCRG (QBI Coronavirus Research Group).
  • Lauren Cech is working with Dr. Sulggi Lee and various colleagues within UCSF, at Stanford, and Case Western to assess the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic potential of several drugs to treat patients within a COVID-19 adaptive clinical trial.