CSUN biology research immersion class tackles COVID-19 vaccine design

Every spring semester class at CSUN has had to retool to cope with the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic; but Biology Professor David Bermudes’s research immersion course may be the only one that has made the pandemic’s cause, and its possible solution, the focus of a revamped curriculum.

Since physically distanced learning began in March, students in Bermudes’s Full Immersion Research Experience, a component of the BUILD PODER program, have been studying the molecular structure of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, with an eye to vaccine development using engineered bacteria, one of Bermudes’s scientific specialities. CSUN Today has the full story, including interviews with students in the class, who are looking forward to seeing their work in a preprint article in the coming weeks:

“With this class, we have learned how to do the research online and use those tools and to apply them into our experiments,” [senior microbiology major Carolina] Gonzalez said. “Even though we can’t be in class, we can learn new things, and we can apply them and solve big problems. Even though [the pandemic] is a bad experience, out of all of my classes, this is the one I’m taking more from, because I have learned so many things.”

Image: The structure of a coronavirus. Bermudes’s class has been targeting the “spike” glycoproteins of SARS-Cov-2, which may provide the basis for an immune response activated by a vaccine. (Wikimedia Commons)