Lei Su’s benchwork at Harvard University might have stopped — but thanks to careful preparation and collaboration tools, his team is keeping its research going.
I am a research fellow at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, studying epigenetics and diabetes. Over the past few weeks, I’ve received e-mails from the medical school, the university, Harvard-affiliated hospitals and principal investigators in my laboratory and elsewhere at the institute. All these messages are about paring down research activities and preparing for life outside the laboratory for at least six to eight weeks in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
Since 14 March, lab animals have had to be killed, our core RNA-sequencing research facility has rejected all new samples, academic trips and reagent orders have been cancelled, and everyone who can has started working from home. (The exceptions are individuals who must be on campus to look after the remaining animals and gas supplies, and those helping to wind down long-term experiments that can’t just be ‘turned off’.) Schools and libraries in Massachusetts are now closed, and my eight-year-old child is urging me to take her to the playground — which I do, while practising social distancing, to prevent us both becoming phenomenally bored. Read more.