Researchers with the University of Iowa Institute for Clinical and Translational Science view images from a computerized tomography (CT) scanner in this file photo from Jan. 13, 2020. Photo by Justin Torner, the University of Iowa. 

How has the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic changed research happening at Iowa universities? The Business Record reached out to the three regent universities to see how faculty and administrators are adjusting for priority research; plus, a senior student’s perspective as he finishes his year at Drake University.

What does it take to keep research teams safe? (Insider)
University: University of Iowa
Who: Marty Scholtz, vice president of research

When Marty Scholtz thought about the University of Iowa’s research community rising to a challenge, he recalled the floods of 2008. “It was a monumental event on campus and shut down a lot of buildings and access. We had to pivot how we ran as a campus,” said Scholtz, vice president of research at UI. The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Iowa mid-March is forcing the university to pivot yet again. 

Teaching public health in times of crisis (Insider)
University: University of Northern Iowa
Who: Disa Cornish, associate professor of public health and education

In the University of Northern Iowa’s Health, Recreation and Community Services Department, Disa Cornish and her colleagues are training the next generation of public health advocates in Iowa — a generation that is witnessing firsthand a larger-than-life fight against COVID-19. Cornish shared with the Business Record how an ongoing pandemic influences teaching public health students. 

Computer scientists launch new search tool for COVID-19 researchers (Insider)
University: Iowa State University
Who: Hridesh Rajan, interim chair of the Department of Computer Science and Kingland  Professor of Data Science
Team members: Yijia Huang, Rangeet Pan, Jianqiang Zhang and Tomislav Jelesijevic, ISU; Robert Dyer, Bowling Green University; and Simon Galetta, Des Moines University.
Status: Project ongoing

After the White House called on researchers nationally to assist in COVID-19, Hridesh Rajan realized that the large body of published papers on coronaviruses and other epidemiology studies could offer “game-changing insights” for medical researchers — but first, those researchers spend hours trying to find the right papers. Existing databases for published papers indexed keywords found throughout the papers, so one piece of published research with the term “coronavirus” written in passing during the introduction would be surfaced no matter how relevant the actual research is. 

Drake University student shares industry struggles as he prepares to graduate (Insider)
University: Drake University
Who: Xavier Lechleitner, senior, major in entrepreneurial management and marketing

Xavier Lechleitner is finishing his senior year of college at Drake University at home in Edgar, Wis., on his family’s cattle farm. When Lechleitner’s operations management class asked students to submit a video blog exploring the pandemic’s reach, Lechleitner focused close to home.