How has the coronavirus outbreak affected your life as a researcher? (Part 3)

At the time of writing, known Covid-19 stand at around 1.3 million known cases with deaths passing 75,000 over the world. Quarantines lasting for weeks have disrupted work and put many researchers from our Sparrho Community into an unusual position. How did the restrictions affect your fellow scientists? Read the third part of our series personal accounts.

coronavirus-crowd800People wearing masks and standing in front of the Coronavirus

Federica FogliettaFederica Foglietta, Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Torino, Italy.

(30/3/20) Since the lockdown has been imposed in my city almost one month ago in late February, all schools, universities and public places progressively started to shut down. The city is almost empty right now and also public transport, that is normally  full of people, started to offer a reduced service on buses and the underground.

Many professional meetings, conferences, workshops and congresses have been cancelled or postponed.

In my lab we are currently doing online meetings. As a biologist, most of my tasks are practical work that includes cell culture, bio-molecular and in vivo works that are almost impossible to do from home. During this shutdown period, me and my fellow researchers have decided to maximize the time at home by focusing on data analysis writing papers and grant applications. Luckily, my university has started using remote services for lessons and for thesis defenses, allowing students to be able to continue their studies.

Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences in Turin

In terms of my everyday life, people are only allowed to move from their place just for essential necessities, like groceries and going to the pharmacy or work. Moreover, people are only allowed to go outside using a special form released by the government that is declaring the exit purpose for any police checks.

Read more about Federica's research here.

Michael Eze 922x922Michael Eze, PhD student between Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia and University of Goettingen, Germany, researching microbial-enhanced rhizoremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons. 

(27/3/20) In the middle of this pandemic, my wife gave birth to a beautiful bouncing baby girl exactly three weeks today. So I have been so busy attending to them.

Meanwhile, in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, my university here in Germany has suspended academic and research activities until further notice. This has impacted on my lab work.
Table set-up consisting of plants which are growing under UV light However, I was able to build a mini-lab in my apartment and continue some skeletal works, while hoping that the situation will improve enough so that I can continue my research as usual.
On a positive note, though, the stay-at-home measures have enabled me to spend more time with my family (my dear wife, my cute four-year old son and my three-week beautiful baby girl). I couldn't have asked for a better company during these difficult times, and I love them so much.

Read more about Michael's research here.

Jamila Juzer Siamwalla Jamila Juzer Siamwalla is a textile researcher who seeks narratives on conflicted textiles and histories. Her research on railway motifs embroidered by women on Phulkari textiles in Colonial India—ventures to show the lost meanings of cloth

(30/3/20) Being a textile researcher, what I do is delving into places and outlooks, sometimes in the context of political conflict, and gaining insights related to textile histories and textile politics. I read, write, converse and create textile narratives.

The pandemic is a reminder of how precarious things are, and that humans are far from being in control of anything that we think of. 

I live in Borås, the textile city of Sweden and the country is practicing social distancing but compared to others has no drastic bans yet. So, my daily life has taken little deviation from as it was. But, life has now become a series of critical conscious decisions. 

Ribbon work Embroidery on dyed textileFinding less reasons to be outside and having scheduled visits to the market are just some. And the library—the heart of my research is now open for two hours only—to collect books that were reserved online. These times have taken away the joy of sifting the books on a shelf, and to be taken by wonder of seeing lines and words that matter.

I see isolation as a medium to research, and what am facing now is living in different meanings of isolation. Seeing the news, hearing experiences, of how people are challenged and then combating—is now the 'new, but hopeful living'. These thoughts have pushed me to draw, read and write more because what lies in the field, also beats in the ones confined to their homes.

Read more about Jamila's research here.

We are looking forward to hearing from more of our Sparrho researchers. In the meantime check out this pinboard with a collection of research papers published in 2020 since the 2019-nCov outbreak.


by Sparrho

Steve, the sparrow, represents contributions from the Sparrho Team and our expert researchers. We accredit external contributors where appropriate.