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Tufts University School of Medicine

Scientists Turned Volunteers

Neuroscientist Jamie Maguire stands outside the State Public Health Laboratory in Jamaica Plain where she and five other Tufts researchers have been volunteering.
Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 8:00pm

Soon after the pandemic reached Boston, a group of researchers from Tufts School of Medicine and Tufts Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences started talking about what they could do to help. Their own labs had to halt their activity, but they still had lab skills they could put to use.

“Here were all these highly qualified people available,” said neuroscientist Jamie Maguire, a Kenneth and JoAnn G. Wellner Professor. “There just needed to be some way to put them in the pipeline.

Calling themselves the Boston Biomedical Rapid Response Team, after a similar volunteer effort in New York City, they started reaching out to organizations that might need their skills. That’s how six of them began volunteering for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, at the State Public Health Laboratory in Jamaica Plain, helping prepare samples from suspected COVID-19 patients so they could be analyzed for signs of the virus.

In addition to Maguire, the volunteers are Marta Gaglia, assistant professor of molecular biology and microbiology; postdocs Trina Basu and Tate Tabtieng, GBS19; and Ph.D. students Lea Gaucherand, GBS22, and Maria Iuliano, GBS23.

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