Here’s what it takes to test a COVID-19 vaccine with clinical trials

In last week’s presidential debate, President Donald Trump claimed that a COVID-19 vaccine is only weeks away in the United States—a timeline that is at odds with some of the top scientists in his administration. Mansoor Amiji, University Distinguished Professor in pharmaceutical sciences and chemical engineering at Northeastern, explains why vaccines take so long to develop and distribute.

Northeastern researcher is just happy to be reunited with axolotls as campus reopens

James Monaghan, an associate professor of biology, wants to find out how to improve healing therapies for people by studying the axolotl, a peculiar salamander with some of the most powerful abilities on the planet to repair and regrow injured body parts. Six months after the pandemic forced his lab to pause, Monaghan and his team are back at it. “That was the longest I’d gone without interacting with an axolotl since my first day of graduate school,” he says.

The coronavirus might have weak spots. Machine learning could help find them.

What makes SARS-CoV-2 so infectious? The answer is in its proteins. Mary Jo Ondrechen and Penny Beuning, professors of chemistry and chemical biology, are using machine learning to investigate these proteins and begin to understand how to slow the spread of the virus.

Hospitals are bracing for a surge of COVID-19 cases. This model can help them get ready for staff and equipment shortages.

Engineering professor James Benneyan helped create a tool to calculate when hospitals might run out of essential resources, such as staff and ventilators, as COVID-19 cases peak.

Bans on large gatherings? Stay-at-home orders? Which ‘social distancing’ policies are actually working?

Bans on large gatherings. Restaurant and bar limits. School cancellations. Babak Heydari, an associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, found out which state policies work best to keep people at home.

Network scientists identify 40 new drugs to test against COVID-19

Researchers at Northeastern mapped the way proteins within human cells behave after a cell is hijacked by the virus to find new and existing drugs that might be able to fight COVID-19. The team is now working with other experimental researchers to begin testing those drugs.

Here’s how nanoparticles could help us get closer to a treatment for COVID-19

Northeastern chemical engineer Thomas Webster is sending nanoparticles to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention learn more about the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

How can we stop the spread of misinformation about COVID-19? Better math.

Rumors travel fast, just like all information on the internet. Northeastern professor Alessandro Vespignani and doctoral student Jessica Davis want to model how those rumors spread, as well as the conditions that allow for their propagation.

Physicists may have accidentally discovered a new state of matter. The possibilities are endless.

“Imagination is the limit,” says Swastik Kar, an associate professor of physics. “It could change the way we can detect and communicate signals. It could change the way we can sense things and the storage of information, and possibilities that we may not have even thought of yet.”

Who’s regulating the autonomous weapons systems that are changing the nature of warfare?

There’s little to no regulation or public debate over the use of artificial intelligence in weaponry, two Northeastern researchers found. That needs to change—and quickly, they say.

Last Updated on January 5, 2021