UC Davis announces two new COVID-19 live video series

UC Davis announces two new COVID-19 live video series

Photo Credits: KATHERINE FRANKS/ AGGIE

New series updates public on COVID-19 research

To provide the public with regular updates on COVID-19 research by UC Davis clinicians, veterinarians and faculty, the university launched two new series to be broadcasted on social media platforms. One of these series, “UC Davis LIVE: COVID-19” features Soterios Johnson, the director of humanities, arts and cultural partnerships at UC Davis, as the host. 

The UC Davis LIVE series has been in production and was broadcasted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, covering topics such as the Ebola outbreak and research surrounding it, according to Johnson. Although the LIVE series team went on a hiatus due to stay-at-home orders, they decided to develop the COVID-19 series after seeing all of the relevant research being done by the university during this pandemic. 

“One of the things that we focus on is letting people know how much interdisciplinary collaboration happens between researchers who are working in totally different fields who normally wouldn’t work together,” Johnson said. “One of the really great things about how UC Davis is able to get people to collaborate is that […] it can lead to really exciting and novel approaches to solving problems.”

The first episode of this bi-weekly series aired May 7 where Johnson interviewed guests UC Davis School of Medicine Dean Allison Brashear, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Dean Michael Lairmore and Vice Chancellor for Research Prasant Mohapatra. Topics discussed included the importance of collaboration between disciplines, recent research in each field and the role of UC Davis amid the pandemic. 

“Being a Research-1 university, we should share our research efforts to the world,” Mohapatra said via email. “In addition, being a public university, we should avail all possible channels of communication with the general public to educate them about the pandemic situations and the progress being made to address the challenges.”

Future topics that may be discussed include antibody testing, vaccine development and virus tracking, according to Johnson. People can watch the discussion live via Facebook or YouTube and are able to submit questions through Facebook.

“People can have access to these brilliant minds who are working on these really challenging problems to find out answers to the questions that they have,” Johnson said. “I think it’s a really great way to share the expertise with the outside world on topics and the work that they’re doing that may not have had public exposure yet.”

The other series, set to begin in late May, is titled “Deans Discuss: COVID-19” and features a discussion between Brashear and Lairmore about the contributions their schools are making to COVID-19 research. Lairmore stated that both schools have a long history of collaborating and that this pandemic has further solidified their partnership.

“Dean Brashear and I know each other quite well and have frequent meetings, so it was easy to arrange a project like this,” Lairmore said via email. “We have held calls and emails to organize, but for the most part we take pride in knowing about the research and clinical programs in our Schools and feel comfortable talking about the subject.”

Lairmore hopes that this new series will provide accurate information based in real-time to inform both the campus community and the general public about the impact of each school. Because UC Davis has both a medical school and a veterinary school, researchers in various disciplines can focus on a common problem and come up with a creative solution, according to Lairmore.

“The advantage we have is a very comprehensive campus that includes not only veterinary medicine and medicine, but also agriculture, engineering, and biological sciences,” Lairmore said. “When these disciplines come together the magic happens, we call this One Health.”

Both series can be accessed from the UC Davis channel on YouTube.

Written by: Michelle Wong — science@theaggie.org