Biomedical and social science awards across chancellor units  


The work of School of Arts and Sciences faculty members to study the coronavirus and understand its impact has garnered internal research awards from Rutgers University.

The awards for biomedical and social science research were announced earlier this month by the Rutgers University Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. A total of 35 projects were selected from a pool of over 150 applications across all Chancellor’s Units. Nearly half of those are led by or involve SAS faculty and staff.

They range from studying the molecular structure of the virus to examining mental health interventions for college students to exploring the impact of COVID-19 in prison populations and among immigrant detainees.

“I want to congratulate all of the Arts and Sciences faculty members who have won research awards from Rutgers University Chancellor Units,” said SAS Executive Dean Peter March. “These critical projects will create new knowledge that could lead to effective treatment of the virus; improved mental health approaches to help students and the public at large; and systemic reforms to alleviate the pandemic’s impact on vulnerable populations.”

The 35 projects are supported by the Offices of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research at RBHS; Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor for Research & Academic Affairs at Rutgers-New Brunswick; Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor for Research & Academic Affairs at Rutgers-Newark; and Senior Vice President for Research and Economic Development.


The following projects are led by or involve School of Arts and Sciences scholars:


Computational Tools for COVID-19 Mpro Inhibitor Design and Precision Medicine: Darrin York and David Case, chemistry and chemical biology (CCB).

Democratizing Joint Multiscale Modeling of Movement, Policy, and Spread of Infectious Diseases: Mubbasir Kapadia, computer science; Benedetto Piccoli, mathematics, RU-Camden; Sarah Allred, psychology, RU-Camden.

The Essential Role of Protein Motions in Therapeutic Design: Understanding how Dynamics Regulate SARS-CoV-2 spike RBD-ACE2 Interactions: Jean Baum, CCB.

Fragment-based Ligand Discovery Against SARS-CoV-2 Papain-like Protease: Nilgun Tumer, plant biology; Sagar Khare, CCB, Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine (IQB); Xiao-Ping Li, plant biology.

Genetic Analysis of Susceptibility to and Severity of COVID-19 Infection: Tara Matise, genetics; Steven Buyske, statistics.

Modifying Protein Conformational Dynamics to Improve the Adaptive Immune Response: an Orthogonal Approach to Generate a SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine: Stephen Anderson, molecular biology and biochemistry (MBB); Elliot Campbell, MBB, Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM); Lisa Denzin and Derek Sant’Angelo, Child Health Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Structural and Small-Molecule Binding Studies of SARS-CoV-2 Polyproteins and Proteins: Edward Arnold, CABM, CCB.; Jason Kaelber, IQB.

Super-effective Face Masks with Internal Decontamination of Virus Particles: Joachim Kohn, CCB; Sanjeeva Murthyand and Kim-Phuong Le, New Jersey Center for Biomaterials.



Artificial Intelligence, Pandemics, and Mental Health: Vivek Singh, computer science and School of Communication and Information; Vincent Silenzio, School of Public Health; Sara Pixley, Center for Cognitive Science.

Brief Scaleable Mental Health Intervention for College Students: Shireen Rizvi, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology; Evan Kleiman, psychology.

COVID-19 and New Jersey Prisons: Brittany Friedman and Paul Hirschfield, sociology and criminal justice; Alexis Karteron, Rutgers School of Law-Newark.

Migrant Detention, Deportation, and COVID-19 Transmission: Public Health and Safety Challenges in New Jersey / Putting Stories to Work: Ulla Berg, anthropology, Latino and Caribbean studies (LCS); Emily Purcell, anthropology; K. Sebastian León, criminal justice, LCS; Sarah Tosh, sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice, RU-Camden; Cati Coe, sociology, anthropology and  criminal justice, RU-Camden; Joanne Gottesman, Rutgers School of Law-Camden; Leslie Kay Jones, sociology; Catherine Lee, Sociology; Randi Mandelbaum Rutgers School of Law-Newark; Domino Morel, political science, RU-Newark; Tim Raphael, arts, culture, and media, RU-Newark; Louisa Schein, anthropology and women's, gender, and sexuality studies.

Mitigating the Impact of Parental Substance Use, Parenting Stress, and Child Maltreatment During the COVID-19 Epidemic: Emily Bosk, sociology and School of Social Work.

Society and Covid-19, an Interdisciplinary Response to the Social Contradictions and Historical Trends Exposed by the Pandemic: Sadia Abbas, English, RU-Newark; Sean Mitchell, sociology and anthropology, RU-Newark;  Samah Selim, African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian languages and literatures; Antonio Vázquez-Arroyo, political science, RU-Newark; Andrew Perrin, University of North Carolina; Paul Amar, University of Califronia, Santa Barbara; Raza Rumi, Ithaca College; R.A. Judy, University of Pittsburgh.