An NYU flag hanging off a campus building.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many individuals, organizations, and communities stood up to face the challenges head on—including New York University. From medical and technical research to community service, the NYU community answered the call for help when the world needed it most. Here is a small sample of the big actions the University took in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.

A piece of personal protective equipment used during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A technician holding a petri dish.
Putting More Than $1 Million in Research Grants to Good Use

Scientists and researchers across NYU received roughly $1.2 million in National Science Foundation RAPID grants to pursue work specifically focused on combating COVID-19. For example, NYU community members at the Tandon School of Engineering, the Faculty of Arts and Science, and the Grossman School of Medicine are using the funds to study resilience in medical supply chain shortages, conduct agent-based modeling for testing and contact tracing, measure vulnerability to fake online news, and more.

Providing Housing to Frontline Medical Workers

NYU opened its Third North residence hall to medical workers treating COVID-19 patients at NYU Langone Health, providing them with comfortable housing within walking distance of the medical center. These frontline professionals had their own private rooms and bathrooms and were greeted at move-in with welcome messages from the children of NYU faculty.

One of the MakerBot 3-D printers used to make protective personal equipment during COVID-19.
Delivering 3-D–Printed Safety

Teams at the Tandon School of Engineering, the College of Dentistry, and NYU Langone Health are collaborating closely to 3-D print plastic components for reusable face shields, ventilators, and respirators. The group has distributed more than 1,600 reusable face shields to 12 hospitals across New York City.

Looking Toward a More Responsive Future

The NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology—an initiative that connects various University hubs to help create more productive synergies across areas of public interest technology—is diving deep into the current uses of technology for public service. The goal is to understand how technology is used now so it can continue to be improved upon in the future.

Discovering Predictable Patterns

At the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management, experts are utilizing data mapping to better understand the spread of diseases—including the COVID-19 virus—in densely populated cities. With this quantitative information, they will work to pinpoint a predictable and explainable pattern for the ways in which diseases spread.

A row of microscopes used to identify and design molecules to prevent and/or treat COVID-19.
Working Toward a Solution

Chemistry labs at NYU’s degree-granting campuses in New York City and Shanghai are hard at work identifying and designing molecules that could potentially help treat or prevent COVID-19. In New York City, researchers are developing compounds to inhibit virus entry and replication. In Shanghai they are searching for molecules that bind tightly to COVID-19’s spike protein to block it from attacking human cells.

Mobilizing Diagnoses

At the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, researchers are developing a smartphone platform that can diagnose respiratory illnesses. The project, called Breathe for Science, mimics the process of listening to the lungs with a stethoscope by using recordings of participants breathing into their cellphones.

The NYU Rory Meyers building.
Caring for the Community

More than 230 students and 20 faculty members at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing put their drive to serve the community into action by calling nearly 600 NYC Health + Hospitals patients who had been tested for the COVID-19 virus. They shared patients’ test results with them, counseled them on next steps, and offered them support and encouragement at every turn.

The NYU Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life entrance.
Supporting Neighbors in Need

NYU launched the Neighbor to Neighbor Volunteer Corps to help battle social isolation and strengthen community connections. Through the program, NYU community members offer support to their neighbors with telephone calls, to-go meal help, mental wellness resources, and more. More than 100 volunteers from across NYU provided their support, as did 20 student and faculty volunteers from the Silver School of Social Work and the Office of Global Spiritual Life.

Slowing the Spread of Disinformation

Researchers at the Tandon School of Engineering led a study on the spread of disinformation that shows attaching credibility alerts to news headlines can reduce an individual’s desire to share an article. The study found that credibility indicators from fact-checkers, news outlets, the public, and computer algorithms effectively dissuade participants from sharing stories deemed not true.

Expanding the Possibilities of Contactless Delivery

At NYU Abu Dhabi, Anthony Tzes, program head for electrical and computer engineering, is developing a road drone that can deliver a full grocery list of items to a person’s doorstep as they socially distance at home. The innovation—which can carry as much as 100 kilograms, or 220 pounds—will also deploy sensors to ensure the drone does not create hazards for others on the road.

Nathan Healy is a writer at NYU Marketing Communications in the Office of University Relations and Public Affairs, a position he’s held since October 2018. He enjoys sharing stories that go beyond achievement and success, digging deeper into a subject’s motivations, obstacles, and periods of growth. Prior to joining NYU, he worked as a high school teacher, an academic counselor, and a content marketer. He earned his BA in English Writing at the University of Pittsburgh and his MA in Professional Writing at Carnegie Mellon University.