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COVID-19 Experts Directory

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Coronavirus photo by iStock_Maksim Tkachenko

Last updated June 23, 2020

Experts at UC San Diego are available to discuss the novel coronavirus, the COVID-19 illness and the societal impacts of the pandemic. If you don’t see the source you’re looking for here, we have more. Please be in touch with our public information officers.

Public Health and Infectious Diseases

David Bazzo, MD, Family Medicine and Public Health
Primary care and sports medicine; general health concerns and patient preventive behaviors.
Website | Media Contact

Christopher Longhurst, MD, UC San Diego Health
General health system preparedness and operations relevant to COVID-19.
Website | Media Contact

Doctor holding coronavirus vial - Photo by iStock_herraez

Victor Nizet, MD, Pediatrics and Pharmacy
Host-microbe systems; vaccine development; infectious disease research.
Website | Media Contact

David Pride, MD, Pathology and Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases; pathology of viruses; COVID-19 testing; drug and vaccine development.
Website | Media Contact

Robert “Chip” Schooley, MD, Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health
Infectious disease pathology and public health measures.
Website | Media Contact


Eric Adler, MD, Cardiology
Heart health in relation to COVID-19.
Website | Media Contact

Brigid Boland, MD, Gastroenterology
Digestive issues and symptoms with COVID-19.
Website | Media Contact

Medical worker washing hands - Photo by iStock_doble-d

Tia Hubbard, MD, Pediatrics
COVID-19 risks and prevention among women and infants.
Website | Media Contact

Atul Malhotra, MD, Sleep Medicine and Pulmonology
Respiratory illnesses and treatment.
Website | Media Contact

Jess Mandel, MD, Pulmonology
Respiratory diseases; ventilators; treating COVID-19 patients.
Website | Media Contact

Khai Nguyen, MD, Primary Care and Senior Medicine
COVID-19 effects on seniors; specializes in geriatrics and gerontology.
Website | Media Contact

Sandip Patel, MD, Medical Oncology
Coronavirus threats relevant to cancer patients with compromised immune systems.
Website | Media Contact


Eric Hekler, Family Medicine and Public Health
Community organizing and building collective community support; coordinating community response and research efforts; factors that allow people to be healthy, recover from an illness or cope with a chronic condition; psychology of the pandemic.
Website | Media Contact

Dilip Jeste, MD, Psychiatry and Neurosciences
Healthy aging; mental health issues, particularly relating to elderly population.
Website | Media Contact

Matthew Kritz, Intercollegiate Athletics
Athletic performance; high-performance amateur and professional athletes; care and prevention of athletic injuries; mental health and well-being; data analysis for performance-related issues, health and wellness; remote training for athletes in isolation.
Website | Media Contact


Dimitri Deheyn, Marine Biology
Effects of economic disruptions on ecosystems; what it would take for nature to “heal”; plastic and industrial pollution; San Diego-specific ecological effects.
Website | Media Contact

Hands holding globe - Photo by iStock_Boonyachoat

Jeremy Jackson, Oceanography
Effects of economic disruptions on ecosystems; what it would take for nature to “heal.”
Website | Media Contact

Ralph Keeling, Geosciences
Climate change impacts; carbon dioxide emissions decreases from economic slowdown.
Website | Media Contact

Kimberly Prather, Atmospheric Chemistry and Aerosols
Aaerosolization of viruses including SARS-CoV-2; airborne transport, sources and reactivity of aerosols; investigation of viruses that can be detected outdoors in coastal sewage and the air along the coast.
Website | Media Contact

Veerabhadran “Ram” Ramanathan, Atmospheric and Climate Sciences
Particulate pollution; how COVID-19 can affect spread of short-lived climate pollutants like methane and refrigerants, smog.
Website | Media Contact

David Victor, International Relations
Forecasting energy futures amid the coronavirus outbreak; how shocks like the virus may be expected to catalyze serious solutions to the global problem of climate change, but prospects appear bleak.
Website | Media Contact

Technology and Innovation

Omar Akbari, Cell and Developmental Biology
Development of a novel COVID-19 point-of-care detection system – rapid and cheap –using CRISPR technologies.
Website | Media Contact

Rommie Amaro, Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Development and application of computational methods in drug discovery; molecular biophysics; simulations of the coronavirus envelope; also H1N1 virus.
Website | Media Contact

Henrik Christensen, Computer Science
Robots as effective tools in combating the COVID-19 pandemic; robots for clinical care; robots for telemedicine; robots for decontamination; robots for delivery and handling of contaminated waste; robots for monitoring compliance with voluntary quarantines.
Website | Media Contact

Researcher in front of data wall - Photo by iStock_gorodenkoff

James Friend, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Designing, engineering and testing ventilator prototypes to address ventilator shortages.
Website | Media Contact

Liangfang Zhang, NanoEngineering
Nanomedicine and nanotechnology approaches to address COVID-19 pandemic.
Website | Media Contact

International Affairs

Tai Ming Cheung, U.S.-China Relations
China’s response to the virus; U.S-China relations; medical systems integration as a national security resource.
Website | Media Contact

Rafael Fernández de Castro, U.S.-Mexican Studies
Impacts on border communities; vulnerable migrant populations; and US-Mexico interdependence containing the virus.
Website | Media Contact

Stephan Haggard, Korea-Pacific Studies
South Korea, Taiwan and Japan’s response to the virus; foreign aid to North Korea’s containment efforts.
Website | Media Contact

Gordon McCord, Development Economics
Mexico’s unpreparedness for COVID-19; climate-change connections to the rise of infectious disease.
Website | Media Contact

Victor Shih, China and Pacific Relations
U.S-China relations; China’s response to the virus; economic impacts to both the United States and China.
Website | Media Contact

Economy and Jobs

Stock market and coronavirus - Photo by iStock_claffra

Jeffrey Clemens, Economics
Health economics; healthcare capacity in the United States; economic stimulus plan; unemployment; medical innovation.
Website | Media Contact

Elizabeth Lyons, Management
Telecommuting best practices; firm investment into telecommuting pre- and post-virus; the future of telecommuting.
Website | Media Contact

Josh Shapiro, UC San Diego Extension
Workforce development; economy; gig economy workers, healthcare; advanced manufacturing; STEM education; the role of philanthropy in economic development.
Website | Media Contact

Mary Walshok, UC San Diego Extension
Local economy; gig economy; continuing education; worker behavior; skilled and unskilled workers.
Website | Media Contact


Ed Abeyta, UC San Diego Extension
Adult education; K-12 education; post-retirement education for ages 55+; standardized test preparation (SAT/ACT).
Website | Media Contact

Morgan Appel, UC San Diego Extension
Behavioral psychology related to K-12 students and teachers; social and emotional aspects of teaching and learning; arts immersion and arts in education; parent and community education; cultivating resilience.
Website | Media Contact

Girl listening to teacher on laptop - Photo by iStock_Maria Symchych Navrotska

Amanda Datnow, Education Studies
K-12 education; educational reform; educational policy; teachers’ professional lives; issues of equity; leadership in schools and school districts responding to the pandemic.

Website | Media Contact

Mica Pollock, Education Studies
How schools are adapting to distance learning; issues of equity in K-12 schools; anti-racism efforts.

Website | Media Contact

Hugo Villar, UC San Diego Extension
Life sciences and professional development; online learning; drug discovery; continuing education for healthcare professionals; adult education and continuing education trends.
Website | Media Contact

Alison Wishard Guerra, Education Studies
K-12 education during the pandemic; how trauma and stress impact learning; building cognitive skills by strengthening social-emotional connections at home.
Website | Media Contact

Society and Social Impacts

On Amir, Marketing
Consumer behavior; judgement and decision-making; risk and uncertainty.
Website | Media Contact

Patrick Anderson, Communication and Ethnic Studies
Patient experiences of quarantine; medical humanities; literary and artistic responses to illness.
Website | Media Contact

Ayelet Gneezy, Behavioral Sciences and Marketing
Prosocial behavior; social preferences; charitable giving.
Website | Media Contact

Zoltan Hajnal, Political Science
COVID-19 impacts on elections, political parties and voter turnout; racial patterns in democracy and their connection to greater COVID-19 fatalities among African-American communities. Website | Media Contact

Masked people in a crowded city - Photo by iStock_Powerofflowers

Dan Hallin, Communication
Politicization of pandemics; historical perspectives on other epidemics/pandemics; media coverage and disinformation.
Website| Media Contact

Lilly Irani, Communication
Surveillance; privacy and data ethics; gig-worker organizing and rights.
Website | Media Contact

Bonnie Kaiser, Anthropology and Global Health
Taking into account culture and psychology when designing pandemic response; cross-cultural concepts of illness and mental health; explaining epidemiology to the public; messaging the crisis.
Website | Media Contact

Uma Karmarkar, Marketing
Consumer psychology and behavior, hoarding, panic buying.
Website | Media Contact

Isaac Martin, Urban Studies and Planning
Economic inequalities exposed by the pandemic; populism and progressivism; housing policies; public appetite for taxes to support the public good.
Website | Media Contact

Tom Wong, Political Science
COVID-19 border closures; impact of the pandemic response on asylum seekers and immigrants; impact on immigration policy.
Website | Media Contact

Discovery and Basic Research

Lab tech hands with test tube - Photo by iStock_Pornpak-Khunatorn

Matt Daugherty, Molecular Biology
Evolution of host-pathogen interactions; innate antiviral immunity; how SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses enter the human population and become pandemics.
Website | Media Contact

Stephen Hedrick, Molecular Biology
Past and future epidemics; the immunology behind vaccines.
Website | Media Contact

Maho Niwa Rosen, Molecular Biology
Molecular basis of human diseases; key biological features of SARS-CoV-2 cells.
Website | Media Contact

Alistair Russell, Molecular Biology
The biology of viruses; innate immunity to viral infections.
Website | Media Contact

Suresh Subramani, Molecular Biology
Biological roots of SARS-CoV-2 virus and host-pathogen interactions; spread of the COVID-19 disease.
Website | Media Contact


Richard Arneson, Philosophy
Politics and liberty; social and global justice; ethics of self-defense.
Website | Media Contact

Masked man thinking at window - Photo by iStock_Robin-Gentry

Saba Bazargan-Forward, Philosophy
Complicity; collective responsibility; coercion analysis and liability.

Website | Media Contact

Reuvan Brandt, Philosophy
Medical and biomedical ethics; moral theory; ethics and society.
Website | Media Contact

Dana Nelkin, Philosophy
The intersection of law and ethics, and the law of privacy; moral judgements
Website | Media Contact

Samuel Rickless, Philosophy
Right to privacy; legal interpretation; freedom and equality under the law.
Website | Media Contact

Manuel Vargas, Philosophy
Moral responsibility and psychology; free will; ethics and race.
Website | Media Contact

Monique Wonderly, Philosophy
Applied ethics; moral psychology and agency; human emotion and attachment.
Website | Media Contact

Images by; artists, from top: Maksim Tkachenko, herraez, doble-d, Boonyachoat, gorodenkoff, claffra, Maria Symchych Navrotska, Powerofflowers, Pornpak Khunatorn, and Robin Gentry.

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