COVID-19: the impact on research

A multidisciplinary panel of scientists addressed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on research. Catch up on the highlights of this discussion now.

On Friday 12 June, BioTechniques hosted a Twitter chat with a panel of researchers at different career stages – Carika Weldon (@CarikaElshae), Fay Lin (@xiaofei_lin), Jack Gilbert (@gilbertjacka) and Laura Boykin (@laura_boykin) – to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on science research.


Twitter chat for the impact of COVID-19 on research #TalkSARSCoV2

Find out more about our the panel involved in our Twitter chat #TalkSARSCoV2 to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientific research.

Check out some of our highlights from the Twitter chat:

What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on you and your team?

Jack has been working on COVID-19 research from early on in the pandemic:

Fay highlighted the impact of the pandemic on mental health:

What adjustments have you had to make due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Carika completely changed her career trajectory, moving from nanopore sequencing to leading Bermuda’s testing response to COVID-19 and becoming the government’s science advisor:

She also highlighted the potential knock-on impact of the UK’s response to the pandemic:

Fay recognized the challenges of adjusting to working in a home environment, and shared some pointers:

What has your line of research been able to tell us about SARS-CoV-2?

Jack was able to use his background in the study of how bacteria in our bodies and the surrounding environment can influence health and disease:

Do you think the focus on COVID-19 could take away from the study of other crucial areas?

The panel believed that while some focuses have shifted, this should be short-term and not impact funding allocations. Many scientists have been able to maintain focus on their areas of research.

What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on the integrity of the scientific method?

Carika highlighted the potential flaws of the scientific method when it comes to making urgent and important decisions:

Jack, who is also Editor in Chief of the peer-reviewed journal mSystems, stated there is a careful balancing act between ensuring research is thorough and legitimate and publishing with urgency:

What lessons can be learnt from COVID-19?

The panel’s key belief is that much can be learnt in academia on how to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of colleagues and students. They also touched on the importance of preparation and the key role of lab-based research.

If we could go back and re-do how we’ve dealt with the pandemic, what would you like to see change?

Correcting misinformation, improved diversity and representation, and more rapid testing were the key alterations the panel would make:

What does the future look like for your research now, considering this pandemic?

Jack highlighted how the pandemic restricting travel and forcing work from home is something that individuals should consider continuing:

If you could provide one take-home message from this Twitter chat, what would it be?

Laura touched on the disparities that exist in scientific research that have been magnified by the pandemic:

And the BioTechniques Editors’ favorite take-home message is: