Lab technician working in a lab

From New York to Abu Dhabi to Shanghai—and numerous places in between—NYU doctors, nurses, chemists, biologists, engineers, data scientists, economists, urban planners, and many others are working round the clock to provide care, produce supplies, and imagine new possibilities for keeping COVID-19 in check.

Through scholarship, community service, public health guidance, operational changes, and more, our greatest minds are leveraging the University's global network and resources to limit the suffering caused by the virus. Check back here for a frequently updated collection of these efforts as we salute our University colleagues who are working at the front lines of the global crisis.

Latest Efforts and Contributions

April 2, 2020

NYU Entrepreneur Develops Robotic Testing for COVID-19

Digital Illustration of Robotic Testing Machine for COVID-19

NYU Innovation Venture Fund portfolio company, Opentrons (cofounded by Will Canine, Tisch ITP '15), produces robotic lab automation workstations that are currently being used for COVID-19 testing. Opentrons' workstations plate samples, perform the RNA extraction, and execute the RT-qPCR preparation. Working with CDC-affiliate labs and hospitals around the world, their systems can deliver 10x the testing throughput of facilities running COVID-19 testing that need to immediately scale up to automated operations. Their workstations are going through the process for Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA.

April 1, 2020

Capturing 3D Data to Pinpoint Surfaces Likely to Carry COVID-19

money into machine


NYU researchers are capturing highly detailed three-dimensional data on human movements and behaviors – particularly around medical facilities, public transportation systems, and essential services – to document the complex landscape of “surface vectors” and thus opportunities for COVID-19 transmission. 

Working under a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research grant, the team, led by Debra Laefer of NYU Tandon and CUSP and Thomas Kirchner of NYU School of Global Public Health, is advancing epidemiological analysis beyond the two-dimensional concept that has been in use since 1854, when cholera cases were mapped.

March 31, 2020

Experimental AI Tool Predicts Which Patients with Pandemic Virus Will Develop Serious Respiratory Disease

ai lung scan

An artificial intelligence tool accurately predicted which patients newly infected with the COVID-19 virus would go on to develop severe respiratory disease, a new study has found. 

The work was led by NYU Grossman School of Medicine and NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, in partnership with Wenzhou Central Hospital and Cangnan People's Hospital, both in Wenzhou, China.

Published online March 30 in the journal Computers, Materials & Continua, the study also revealed the best indicators of future severity and found that they were not as expected.

“While work remains to further validate our model, it holds promise as another tool to predict the patients most vulnerable to the virus, but only in support of physicians’ hard-won clinical experience in treating viral infections,” says corresponding study author Megan Coffee, MD, PhD, clinical assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Disease & Immunology within the Department of Medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

March 30, 2020

Modeling Outcomes of the Epidemic

empty classroom

Professor Joshua Epstein (Global Public Health) and colleagues are using mathematical modeling to understand the virus's potential impact on different economic and social factors. For instance, they released an analysis showing that closing schools nationwide could result in more than $50 billion in lost productivity and could negatively impact the health care workforce, based on a model that was previously published in PLoS Currents. Epstein and colleagues have also estimated how many people will recover from COVID-19 and will likely be immune, and therefore can safely get back to work to help to restart the economy.

March 27, 2020

NYU Answers Desperate Need for Medical Face Shields with Low-Cost, Quick-Production Design

woman in mask


Responding to a nation-wide shortage of protective personal equipment that is particularly acute in New York, faculty and researchers from across NYU have developed plans to distribute a new protective personal equipment (PPE) face shield design for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The shield can be produced and assembled in under one minute, delivering a unit at a fraction of the time it takes for those produced using 3D printing. While the team has already produced over 100 of the masks at small-scale and deployed them to emergency rooms, production at scale will begin the week of March 30, 2020, with capabilities to produce close to 300,000 shields within two weeks of materials arriving at production sites. The New York City Economic Development Corporation is funding the first round of production.

The New York University COVID-19 Task Force — which includes the NYU School of Global Public Health, health care providers at NYU Langone Health, and engineers at NYU Tandon School of Engineering — will work in collaboration with the Open Face PPE Project to make the process, from design to end-use in healthcare settings, available to all for free. The Task Force will specifically call on smaller manufacturers to get involved as they have the resources to more quickly ramp up production.

March 24, 2020


NYU's COVID-19 Task Force Innovates Facemasks, Ventilators, and More


Led by Steve Kuyan, Grant Fox and Uriel Eisen of the NYU Tandon Future Labs and Sayar Lonial (Tandon), the NYU COVID-19 Task Force focuses on developing rapid-response solutions to critical issues facing our healthcare system, including designing, manufacturing, and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical support equipment/devices to New York City hospitals as our city battles the pandemic. The task force draws from across the University including Courant, Global Public Health, and Langone to mobilize expertise and resources in engineering, medicine, public health, entrepreneurship and computer science.

NYU's COVID-19 Task Force has created a prototype face shield that is quick and inexpensive to produce, and is working on a method for splitting a single ventilator to serve multiple patients

They have already created a prototype face shield that is quick and inexpensive to produce, which can provide added protection to hospital workers and extend the life of face masks. For this, they are working with NYC agencies and a grassroots network of manufacturers to scale production and meet demand. The task force is also working on a method for splitting a single ventilator to serve multiple patients, which is being reviewed by the State health commissioner's office. Once approved it can be widely used by hospitals, and the MakerSpace can help them 3D print the required parts if necessary. Their latest effort involves 3D printing parts for powered air purifying respirators that are being used at NYU in lieu of N95 masks.

Quicker Testing

Physics professor David Grier has developed and patented technology for holographic detection of protein binding, including antibodies, which can allow for highly accurate COVID-19 testing performed in less than half an hour with minimally trained personnel and inexpensive reagents.

Grier was awarded $200,000 from NSF RAPID for undertaking research to adapt this technology to test for viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The award supports the personnel who will be developing the research-style proof-of-concept into a platform for diagnosing viral infection, and also will provide the supplies needed to do the work using existing equipment. 

Physicist David Grier has developed technology for highly accurate COVID-19 testing that can be performed in less than half an hour with minimally trained personnel.

March 23, 2020

Viral Sequencing

genetic helix

Professor Elodie Ghedin (biology, Global Public Health) is conducting viral sequencing from patient samples in order to help with disease surveillance. The NYU Genomics Core at the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology is helping with data analysis and processing, and COVID-19 research is being prioritized on the NYU HPC Prince cluster.

Evaluating Drug Candidates

The NYU Chemical Biology Initiative has already begun a multi-pronged approach to the design, synthesis, an initial evaluation of drug candidates. The Hamilton lab has joined these efforts, and the initiative includes experts in the computational design of molecules (Paramjit Arora, Kent Kirshenbaum, Yingkai Zhang), synthesis of drug candidates (Arora, Kirshenbaum, Dirk Trauner), and expression of proteins and biochemical assays (Arora, Tania Lupoli, Nate Traaseth) and structural biology (Traaseth). 

Labs Across Campuses United

Laboratories across campus are working to redirect their materials, equipment, and personnel to assist with the shortage of supplies. Over 90 individuals including faculty, postdocs, PhD students and technicians with expertise in molecular biology and programming have signed up to volunteer and assist with efforts at the School of Medicine.

NYU's chemistry and biology departments are helping efforts to manufacture hand sanitizer, assemble masks, sanitize PPEs, and more.

Efforts in the chemistry and biology departments are also being undertaken to manufacture hand sanitizer, assemble masks, sanitize PPE, develop spray that will allow detection by taste (or lack thereof), if a respirator is an appropriate fit for a healthcare worker, and make biochemical reagents. Dentistry is making available an apparatus for nucleic acid isolation required for the COVID-19 PCR Test that will double the pace of testing.