PARAMUS, N.J. – The closure of Bergen Community College’s STEM Student Research Center during the COVID-19 pandemic did not stop a group of biology students from conducting research on the very topic that prevented their on-campus work: COVID-19. The scientific community took notice, publishing their article, “Microbiology of COVID-19: Chronicle of an Announced Pandemic,” in American Pharmaceutical Review, a leading pharmaceutical industry review journal for business and technology.
Under the supervision of Bergen biology Professor Luis Jimenez, Ph.D., of Fair Lawn, students Anna Maciejewska, of Garfield; Brittany Cardona, of Hasbrouck Heights; Yara Abazah, of Caldwell; Hadassah Haricha, of New Milford; and Tae Min Kim, of Fort Lee, conducted research on COVID-19 by comparing the current pandemic with other human coronaviruses to understand the differences and similarities leading to possible therapeutic treatments. Students identified two key findings: higher temperatures did not stop the spread of the virus during the summer months and best practices such as social distancing and mask usage slowed increases in COVID-19 cases.
“The students demonstrated an amazing capacity to adapt to the challenging educational environment by using computer technology and other analytical tools to understand the microbiology of the current pandemic and ascertain the epidemiology of COVID-19 in New Jersey and around the world,” Jimenez said.
The students not only appreciated Jimenez’s guidance, but the opportunity to have their work published in a peer-reviewed journal that may influence public health.
“It is a huge honor for me to be able to work on this project and see it published,” Abazah said. “I hope that our research can inform and help.”
Another, Maciejewska, called the research and its publishing “my own definition of living the American Dream.”
Grant funding by the National Science Foundation, the current 3SP STEMATICS program and previously by the STEM GPS Graduate Path for Success program support research opportunities.
For more information on the students’ research, visit https://www.americanpharmaceuticalreview.com/.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.
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