COVID-19 Updates

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Bringing a Child into the World, While the World Battles COVID-19
It was Halloween 2019 when Gene Yeo, PhD, and Corina Antal learned they were going to have twin girls. “We were beyond excited,” said Antal.

But they also learned that day that their daughters were monoamniotic (MoMo) twins, which means the fetuses shared a single placenta and amniotic sac. It’s an extremely rare type of pregnancy, occurring in just 1 in 60,000 pregnancies.

Pregnancies with MoMo twins are considered very high risk because of heightened dangers of umbilical cord entanglement and compression. This meant Antal would be under close supervision by her medical team. “I had to go to the clinic for ultrasounds every two weeks and knew I would be hospitalized several weeks before delivery for fetal monitoring.”

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Yeo is a professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and Antal is a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. “As scientists, we were not only reading all the studies we could find on MoMo twins, but we were now learning all we could about COVID-19,” said Yeo.
One-Time Treatment Generates New Neurons, Eliminates Parkinson’s Disease in Mice
Xiang-Dong Fu, PhD, has never been more excited about something in his entire career. He has long studied the basic biology of RNA, a genetic cousin of DNA, and the proteins that bind it. But a single discovery has launched Fu into a completely new field: neuroscience.
San Diego's scientific and medical institutes collaborate on large-scale research program to study spread of COVID-19
A consortium that includes many of San Diego's top medical and scientific research institutes has launched a large-scale COVID-19 screening effort to better understand the spread and prevalence of the virus in the local community, with an initial focus on evaluating healthcare workers and first responders.

Known as the San Diego Epidemiology and Research for COVID Health (SEARCH) alliance, the cross-institutional collaboration is co-led by scientists and clinical researchers at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine, Scripps Research and University of California San Diego.

SEARCH's core research team consists of the following members of the San Diego scientific and medical communities:

Kristian Andersen, PhD, Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research

Lauge Farnaes, MD, PhD, Assistant Medical Director at Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine

Rob Knight, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering and Computer Science & Engineering, and Founding Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego

Louise Laurent, MD, PhD, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine

Gene Yeo, PhD, MBA, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Co-Director Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Graduate UC San Diego School of Medicine
UC system awards $2M to CA COVID-19 researchers
More than $2 million in emergency funding is being distributed to California researchers to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 among vulnerable communities.

On Wednesday, the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, announced the recipients of its emergency research funding. UC San Diego researcher Pradipta Ghosh, MD, said she will use the UCOP money her center received to infect lab-grown human lungs with the COVID-19 virus to discover the potential causes of the virus’s fatality. “Growing stem cells out of tissues is not a trivial matter,” Ghosh said. “It costs a huge amount of money and we are happy UCOP gave us some money to do this research — $50,000 is a drop in the bucket and we have also reached out” to the National Institutes of Health.
Helping San Diegans Return to Work
UC San Diego donors Jean and Gary Shekhter are leading support for a collaborative COVID-19 screening effort by key research institutions in the region.

The Shekhters gave $350,000 to the UC San Diego COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to help fund SEARCH—San Diego Epidemiology and Research for COVID-19 Health, a collaborative research study that aims to help local businesses and employees return to work safely by screening community members for presence of the coronavirus. The SEARCH alliance is co-led by UC San Diego, Scripps Research and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. Other research partners include the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Biocom. At UC San Diego, SEARCH is led by researchers Gene Yeo, PhD, Rob Knight and Louise Laurent.
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