COVID-19 (coronavirus) information
Stay Informed

While the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our daily lives, our Banana Slug community is using science to rise and meet the challenge. We are racing to understand how the coronavirus is causing illness and how to stop it. We are working to increase the supply of protective gear for health workers. We are on the medical front lines and driving policy. We are still teaching and mentoring. This is our impact. Here are our stories.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our daily lives, our Banana Slug community is using science to rise and meet the challenge. We are racing to understand how the coronavirus is causing illness and how to stop it. We are working to increase the supply of protective gear for health workers. We are on the medical front lines and driving policy. We are still teaching and supporting our students. This is our impact. Here are our stories*.

*Have a COVID-19 story to tell? We want to hear it!

Simayijiang Xirenayi

Simayijiang “Sherin” Xirenayi grew up in Xinjiang, a region in northwestern China, where her family is part of the Uyghur ethnic minority and Turkic Muslims. At UC Santa Cruz, she became interested in genetics and evolution.

Crossing and Zooming: A joyful 2021 commencement

Nabeela Ariqat

Message from Dean Paul Koch

Learn about our division’s latest response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis.

Students who have been thrown into personal or financial crises by the pandemic are an immediate concern. In response, the campus has launched the COVID-19 Slug Support Campaign, to build on our existing Slug Support Fund—a vital resource for students to help bridge financial gaps during periods of distress. Please give to the fund if you want to have an immediate impact on our most vulnerable students…
Read the full message

Evanjelin Mahmoodi

David Sanchez Godinez

Sanchez arrived at UC Santa Cruz with a passion for scientific exploration, but adjusting to college life was a challenge. A first-generation college student, he could not turn to his parents for advice about coping and thriving at a university.

“It was on me to apply myself and make use of my college education,” he said. “I think being thrown into independence is difficult, and I’m definitely lucky to have been surrounded by hard-working and caring people.”

Help us celebrate the Class of 2020 during graduate in place

Help us celebrate the UC Santa Cruz Class of 2020 as they embark upon their next journey! We’re collecting messages of congrats, love, and hope from students, alumni, and family now with the full site going live the first week of June—plus a few other surprises.

Stay informed

Jack Lee, from our Science Communication Program, is compiling real-time COVID-19 data in the California Bay Area.

Having trouble? View source.

Laboratory manager Sophia Sholtz sanitizes each lab bench, according to safety protocol, before setting up a new experiment (photo by Sophia Sholtz)

Pandemic Stories: Adapting physics labs in the time of COVID-19

Jason Nielsen, professor of physics, shares how our Department of Physics has adapted to instructing lab courses online while still providing a highly interactive student experience.

NRS reserves adapt to coronavirus shutdown

At first blush, the hillsides, shorelines, and meadows of reserves might seem extremely safe places to be during the outbreak of an airborne pathogen. But the limited facilities at reserves mean visitors typically share close quarters.

Original story from UC Natural Reserve System.

UC Santa Cruz lab increases COVID-19 testing for Santa Cruz County

In Santa Cruz County, they should be testing just over 400 people a day. Right now, on average, the county says it’s doing about 167 tests per day. But one newly created lab at UC Santa Cruz is hoping to help the county reach that goal.

Original story from KAZU.

UC Santa Cruz scientists create diagnostic lab

Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz have been working hard to set up a lab to test for coronavirus in the community and it has finally paid off.

Original story from KSBW.

Learn from UCSC Coronavirus Team on Remarkable People

My guests this week on Remarkable People are the esteemed UCSC Coronavirus Team. The UCSC Genomics Institute has been working around the clock to combat the coronavirus. I recently led a discussion into the pioneering research and results.

Original story from Guy Kawasaki.

Alumnus leads massive effort to ramp up COVID-19 testing

Joe DeRisi, award-winning “disease tracker,” converted unused lab space into one of America’s most prolific COVID-19 testing centers in eight days.

Original story from UCSC Newscenter.

Undergraduate studies ecology of fear at Fort Ord

Air Force Veteran and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology student Nicholas Bergeron navigates field research at UCSC Fort Ord Natural Reserve in the time of COVID 19.

Original story from UCSC Newscenter.

She predicted the Coronavirus. What does she foresee next?

Laurie Garrett, the prophet of this pandemic, expects years of death and “collective rage.”

Original story from The New York Times.

california poppies on UCSC campus, spring 2020

California poppies bloom on main campus, April 23, 2020 (photo by C. Lagattuta)

The Banana Slug science community continues to rise & respond to the pandemic with leadership

Spring message from the dean: How the Division of Physical & Biological Sciences is responding to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

UCSC receive okay to begin testing for COVID-19

Scientists on campus have been working on a diagnostic testing lab that will meet the needs of students, staff, and the community.
Original story from KSBW.

Pandemic Stories: Why I am alone in the desert catching lizards

Barry Sinervo, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology, shares how he’s juggling research, teaching, and the pandemic during these uncertain times.

High-throughput protocol for producing tetramer assay probes used to investigate COVID-19

The developers of a novel method to create immunological assay probes for screening T cells has leveraged their new protocol against COVID-19.

Original story from Drug Target Review.

New program advances global & community health

As countries across the globe fight the coronavirus pandemic, UC Santa Cruz is creating a new program that will prepare students and provide research to solve current and future global health problems.
Original story from UCSC Newscenter.

UC Santa Cruz scientists to provide rapid COVID-19 testing by end of month

While doctors and nurses treat COVID-19 patients on the front lines, behind the scenes scientists are working hard in their labs to come up with ways to battle the pandemic. A team of UC Santa Cruz scientists are targeting high capacity coronavirus diagnostic testing with 24-hour turnaround that will meet the needs of community in the County of Santa Cruz.
Original story from KSBW.

Raising COVID-19 funds for students in need

These unprecedented times are challenging for all of us—but for some, the situation is dire. This is why our campus has created the COVID-19 Slug Support Campaign. Together, our Banana Slug community can help support students who are experiencing a financial or personal crisis because of the coronavirus.
Original story from UCSC Newscenter.

UCSC researchers are taking on the coronavirus challenge on multiple fronts

From developing diagnostic tests to conducting surveys of infection prevalence, campus researchers are doing what they can in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original story from UCSC Newscenter.

Fighting on the front lines of COVID-19

Alumnus Jon Mark Hirshon, an emergency physician, faces isolation and personal risk while providing emergency care at a busy Baltimore hospital.
Original story from UCSC Newscenter.

Science instruction & research in the time of COVID-19

Read about our division’s science instruction & research response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in a letter to the division from our dean Paul Koch.

The long road home from Antarctica

“In late December, my son left for Antarctica. He’s a marine biologist who is doing a whale study in this vast and intimidating place. I didn’t worry… Until I heard that he might be trapped there due to COVID-19.”
Original story from Voices of Monterey Bay.

UCSC scientists round-up supplies for local doctors to combat COVID-19

University of Santa Cruz scientists are donating protective medical supplies to local hospitals facing shortages.
Original story from KSBW.

How to #keepteaching and #keeplearning during a pandemic

Jody Greene is eager—almost desperate—to help her colleagues who are facing the unprecedented challenge of shifting to remote instruction for the entire spring quarter.
Original story from UCSC Newscenter.

Slowing the Coronavirus’ spread in Santa Cruz County

With the first confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Santa Cruz County, residents are being asked to take steps to protect themselves and the community at large.
Original story from Goodtimes.

Pandemics expert: We need leadership, creative thinking, and government accountability as coronavirus spreads

Alumna Laurie Garrett urges communities to help the most vulnerable, proactively develop plans, and discredit conspiracy theories as they cope with the crisis.
Original story from UCSC Newscenter.

We want to hear your COVID-19 stories

If you are a Banana Slug (science alumni, student, or parent), please send us updates on how you are rising to the COVID-19 challenge in your communities.

For the latest UC Santa Cruz information on COVID-19 (coronavirus), visit