Wide range of U-M research focuses on coronavirus pandemic


Research projects and innovations related to COVID-19 have ramped up quickly across the University of Michigan, spurred by doctors, public health experts, scientists, economists and engineers, and encouraged by research leaders.

Even though the university paused most of its massive laboratory and clinical research operations in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus, hundreds of people from many of U-M’s 19 schools and colleges have connected virtually to start new projects, or adapt their existing work, to address many aspects of the global health crisis.

Dozens of these projects are listed on the new U-M COVID-19 Research Index, and more will soon be added. The projects listed are in various stages of development, from planning to fully launched, and some will require additional regulatory review or funding before proceeding.

Some studies, including tests of promising drugs in patients, are already underway or being planned at Michigan Medicine.

Patients seeking COVID-19 care at U-M hospitals and clinics may have access to new drugs and devices through clinical trials that will also produce much-needed data to inform care elsewhere. Analyses of data and best practices from COVID-19 care at U-M is already fueling the development of guides for teams caring for COVID-19 at hospitals anywhere.

Other projects, like modeling work by several School of Public Health faculty, are helping policymakers in Michigan and India make informed decisions on policies regarding social distancing, resource management and economic impact and recovery.  

Meanwhile, U-M has committed to providing the infrastructure needed for many longer-range studies. These include efforts to identify and develop potential targets for vaccines and treatments, optimize prevention and care strategies, develop new technologies, predict the virus’s effects on individuals and communities, and measure and respond to a wide range of societal effects from the pandemic.

“These are indeed challenging times, but I am confident the generation of scientific knowledge across the University of Michigan will play a critical role as we work together to find solutions to this pandemic,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research.

U-M is the nation’s largest public research university, with an annual research spending budget of more than $1.6 billion. Michigan Medicine is one of the nation’s largest academic medical centers, with 1,000 hospital beds on its main medical campus, a COVID-19 field hospital being developed, and a network of outpatient care facilities and partnerships with other health care institutions.


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