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Virtual WN@tL: “Making the Virus Causing COVID-19 Safe for Research”

February 24 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

Speaker: Rebecca Hutcheson

Description of talk: The virus that causes COVID-19 must be studied by scientists in high biosafety containment facilities, slowing the progress of research. The Sugden lab is tackling this issue by engineering a safer version of the original virus that will used at a lower biosafety level. This new system will improve the safety for scientists studying the virus, make research easier, and will serve to accelerate research that will help to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bio: Rebecca Hutcheson is a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is from Georgia, where she earned her BS in biochemistry and molecular biology from Mercer University in 2015. Following her undergraduate work, she spent a year teaching in Thailand then returned to science and entered the Cellular and Molecular Pathology PhD program at UW with a focus on virology and cancer biology. Rebecca is a member of Bill Sugden’s group, where the lab is currently working to develop a safer derivative of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that has caused the recent COVID-19 public health crisis.