Resilience: How COVID-19 Challenged the Scientific World

Collage of researchers featured in the story

Over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed a seemingly untold human, social, and economic wave of devastation.

For a longform feature, Resilience: how COVID-19 challenged the scientific world, researchers at the Morgridge Institute for Research and the University of Wisconsin-Madison reflected on what has collectively happened and how it impacted their science. Biochemistry assistant professor Tim Grant and biomolecular chemistry professor Josh Coon are featured.

Those conversations held notes of promise, resilience, and lessons learned from a damaging and challenging experience. They shared the unique opportunities they pursued to contribute directly to pandemic science, and ways they might approach their research differently in the future.

But the startling reality is that global pandemics will continue. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted — critically — the need to double down on basic research with new approaches and “space race” level investments to better understand, prevent, and stop the next deadly outbreak.

It is a global shared story that has impacted our local community in a variety of ways — a story about people coming together to fearlessly tackle the unknown.

“Here you have all of these people who are basic researchers who made a change in what they were doing, because they knew society needed it,” says Brad Schwartz, chief executive officer at the Morgridge Institute. “To me, this was a huge win. It demonstrated their commitment: ‘here’s a chance for me to do something good, and I’m going to do it.’”

As an independent research organization, the Morgridge Institute for Research explores uncharted scientific territory to discover tomorrow’s cures. In affiliation with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Morgridge supports researchers who take a fearless approach to advancing human health in emerging fields such as regenerative biology, metabolism, virology and medical engineering. Through public programming, Morgridge works to inspire scientific curiosity in everyday life. Contact Mariel Mohns, mmohns@morgridge.org or Brian Mattmiller, bmattmiller@morgridge.org with questions about this piece.