By Michelle Koidin Jaffee
Laboratories in the McKnight Brain Institute are beginning to reopen under Stage 2 guidelines of UF’s Research Resumption Plan and researchers are re-engaging with studies that have been interrupted since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the first week of June, an increased number of investigators were permitted to return to the lab, where they are pursuing much-needed advances for life-altering conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to brain cancer to cognitive aging.
While the coronavirus crisis brought normal routines across the world to a sudden halt, patients suffering from other diseases both prevalent and rare have continued to hope and await progress for new understanding and treatments — a reality not lost on researchers, who are encouraged by the steps toward reopening.
“Those patients are still very real and need us to move the research forward,” said Christina von Roemeling, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate working on brain tumor research in the lab of UF neuro-oncology expert Duane A. Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D.
Von Roemeling is among the investigators who have returned to the MBI to begin the process of ramping up toward previous capacity. Under Stage 2, labs may now allow one person per 250 square feet of space, with 6 feet of social distancing between people. Masks must be worn at all times unless a researcher is in an office with the door closed.