DMSE professors receive research funding to address COVID-19

DMSE Professors Angela Belcher and Rafael Gomez-Bombarelli have received funding for their respective projects, which focus on addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness (MassCPR) initiative, based at Harvard Medical School, was conceived to both battle the myriad effects of SARS-CoV-2 and prepare for future health crises. Now, MassCPR has announced more than $16.5 million in funding to support 62 research projects, all with the potential for significant impact in fighting the pandemic on several fronts. Professor Belcher will receive support for her research proposal, “Novel nanocarbon materials for life-development of distributable textiles that filtrate/neutralize dangerous viruses/bacteria to protect medical professional and civilians from virus pandemic disease.”

The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab is also funding 10 projects at MIT aimed at advancing AI’s transformative potential for society. The research will target the immediate public health and economic challenges of this moment, but could have a lasting impact on how we evaluate and respond to risk long after the crisis has passed. Professor Gomez-Bombarelli's project utilizes machine learning. Researchers will represent molecules in three dimensions to see if this added spatial information can help to identify drugs most likely to be effective against the disease. They will use NASA’s Ames and U.S. Department of Energy’s NSERC supercomputers to further speed the screening process.